And then there were 15. One by one, like the classic Agatha Christie murder mystery, the 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls are biting the dust even before a single primary or caucus vote takes place. The latest candidate to drop out was Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), the former attorney general of California who had been considered a frontrunner until her dreams of occupying the Oval Office were dashed by a representative from Hawaii. How did a top-tier contender fall from grace? To quote Christie in her novel and play And Then There Were None, “This is no time for refusing to look facts in the face.”
Can’t Get You Out of My Headline
Why was Harris originally thought of as force to be reckoned with? The Bobby soxers in the media.
In February, Harris went on a shopping trip while campaigning in South Carolina. Several reporters covering the event encouraged the senator to purchase a multicolored, sequined jacket she had tried on. She acquiesced and bought the garment. Members of the press sent out glowing tweets about it, and they later justified the casual interaction by stating that they had asked her questions throughout her tour of small business. But for skeptics of the journalism industry, this was not a good look.
A few months later, CNN’s Alisyn Camerota presented Harris with some hard-hitting questions: “What is your favorite musical genre?” “Do you have a favorite band or musician?” “What would be your favorite three songs?” To be fair to both Camerota and Harris, they seemed embarrassed by the segment.
Then, of course, there was the media’s lackluster coverage of sexual harassment transpiring under her nose when she was still the attorney general. Harris claimed that she was unaware of Division of Law Enforcement Director, Larry Wallace, allegedly harassing a female executive. In 2017, under Harris’ successor Xavier Becerra, the accuser resigned from her position, agreed not to seek employment in the California Department of Justice, and signed a non-disclosure agreement.
Harris’ alleged affair with former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown may be better suited for the gossip columns, but the media have proven their interest in porn stars and creepy porn lawyers. So, that they did not pounce on this story shows the priorities of the fourth estate. At a time when trust in the media is at a record low, these incidents delivered black eyes to Harris and the press.
Wearing Flip Flops
Politicians vacillating on issues is universally expected by now. They do what is politically expedient. Harris was no exception, particularly when it came to health care and immigration.
When she started her campaign, Harris was ebullient over Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) Medicare for All plan; she wanted to abolish private insurance. In April, Harris started backtracking and stated that she did not want to eliminate all private insurance, though she reiterated her support for Sanders’ plan. Then, during a June debate, the senator raised her hand when asked by the moderators who wanted to “abolish their private health insurance in favor of a government-run plan.”
In that same debate this past summer, she raised her hand in favor of decriminalizing unauthorized border crossings. However, appearing on The View, she told Meghan McCain that she was “not in favor of decriminalizing.” Shortly after, Harris noted that she would make illegally hopping over the U.S. border a “civil enforcement issue, but not a criminal enforcement issue.”
In an August tweet, Harris urged the president to “seriously consider reading the Constitution.” As Liberty Nation’s John Dempsey pointed out, she does not seem to respect the founding document. Not only did Harris refer to it as “that book you carry” in her famous exchange with Judge Brett Kavanaugh, but she is also in favor of expanding executive power to bypass the legislative process.
The Harris Doctrine
Sen. Harris has repeatedly grieved over the president’s foreign policy maneuvering. As evidenced during her debate performances, Harris has been perturbed over Trump meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, improving diplomatic relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, curtailing joint military operations in the Korean Peninsula, and withdrawing troops from combat zones. What does Harris want? It is unclear. She is upset Trump is engaging with foes. She is angry Trump is incrementally winding down America’s role as policeman of the world. She is outraged that Trump is dismissing advice from the very same people who said the invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya would be cakewalks.
To summarize her foreign policy position: Diplomatic engagement puts the world in danger.
Tidal Wave Tulsi Swallows Harris
And then there is the woman who single-handedly unraveled Harris’ bid for the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI).
In July, Gabbard listed Harris’ record as a prosecutor, and it was not pretty. Gabbard went down the list: Harris put 1,500 people in jail over marijuana violations while taking the drug herself, blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row, kept people in prison beyond their sentences to use as cheap labor, and fought to keep cash-bail in place.
Harris was obviously unprepared for the representative’s remarks, employing vague statements about “significantly reforming the criminal justice system” and “I am proud of my work.” In a post-debate interview, Harris showcased her arrogance:
“This is going to sound immodest, but I’m obviously a top-tier candidate, and so I did expect that I would be on the stage and take hits tonight because there are a lot of people that are trying to make the stage for the next debate. Especially when people are at zero or 1% or whatever she might be at, and so I did expect that I might take hits tonight.”
At last month’s MSNBC/NBC debate, the all-female moderators attempted to help Harris by having her respond to Gabbard’s comments about Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. Despite having nothing to do with the initial query, Harris applied Greta Thunberg’s “how dare you!” sentiment by asserting that Gabbard committed the cardinal sin of speaking with enemies, criticizing former President Barack Obama, and talking to Fox News, which she did herself twice after that debate.
The Prosecutor President
The 2019 Boston Red Sox looked on paper like they would be a threat to win the World Series for the second consecutive year. In reality, the ball club failed to even make it into the postseason. On paper, Kamala Harris checked off all the boxes to lead the Democratic Party in 2020: mixed race, female, and suffers from a severe case of Trump Derangement Syndrome. When it came to appealing to voters outside the confines of California, however, she failed at standing out from the crowd and peaked at 15%. The reasons for her demise vary, from poor campaign management to speaking for the sake of producing soundbites. The main thing, however, is that she was neither original nor authentic. Like most of her rivals, she did not add to the discussion, except for starting sentences with “let’s be clear.”
In the next 30 years, nobody is going to wake up one morning and say, “I wonder what Kamala Harris would think about this issue.”
Read more from Andrew Moran.