Kamala Harris should be a front-runner for the Democratic nomination for president. Instead, the 55-year-old California senator has ended her presidential campaign and we are left with the remains of a once-promising turned heartbreaking presidential campaign.
On paper Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign made sense. Harris is a popular senator from the country’s biggest state with a large, energized, and dedicated support base. Of all the Democrats running for president, Harris was as much the opposite to Donald Trump that existed in the primary race.
After all, Kamala Harris is representative of the group that Donald Trump has reserved his most grotesque and appalling attacks for: minority women.
She could have legitimately staked claim to being the most electable candidate. Her background as a prosecutor left her uniquely suited to lay out a case for a one-term Trump presidency.
The potential historic nature of her candidacy as a minority woman leading the Democratic Party into a general election battle could have unified all factions of the party. She could have also assembled a multi-racial coalition of voters not seen since Barack Obama’s candidacy.
Her entrance into the race elicited comparisons and nostalgia to Barack Obama’s candidacy. But nostalgia can only carry one so far.
Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign was done-in by the one thing that hard to fix: the candidate.
Multiple stories of persistent campaign tensions were published throughout her campaign. Recent reports from Washington Post and the New York Times we’re damning assessments in how Harris was running her campaign.
The tragedy of Kamala Harris’ campaign for president is that her promise as a nominee couldn’t outduel her self-inflicted wounds.
Kamala Harris did not run a good campaign for President. While she energized and inspired many Democrats, her own mistakes as well as persistent campaign issues were too much to overcome.
Harris stumbled trying to explain a variety of her positions. On healthcare, for example, she co-sponsored Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare-for-All” bill but backed away from the plan during her campaign. She rose to second place in polls after her attack on Joe Biden’s record on busing, only to falter while explaining her past busing position.
Additionally, her record as a prosecutor and California Attorney General came under intense, and at times unfair, scrutiny from the progressive left.
Harris had to introduce herself to voters who didn’t already know who she was. Introducing herself to voters was made difficult by failure to articulate her political identity and an inconsistent reasoning for running for president.
Kamala isn’t going anywhere. She is going to remain a significant player in the Democratic Party, and American politics, for a long time. She should also be at the top of everyone’s list for vice presidential running mate for the eventual nominee.
In the meantime, with Kamala out of the race, the Democratic Party must reckon with the fact that despite efforts to embrace diversity as a means to strengthen the party, the remaining front-runners for the nomination are all white.
Header Image: Quinn Dombrowski from Berkeley, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0].