Senator Kamala Devi Harris, who survived growing up in the segregated deep south of Berkeley and then Montreal, was a sure lock to be the next President of the United States.
And then, after raising $36 million from gullible idiots and greedy special interests, she dropped out without even facing a single primary. It was her single greatest act of courage since being bused across the Mason-Dixon line from Berkeley into Thousand Oaks. Sadly, she just wasn’t bused far enough.
There were many high points in the presidential campaign of the woman who would be Obama.
Her estranged father came out to condemn her for suggesting that his family was a bunch of pot
smokers. It’s not everyday a presidential candidate’s father states that her great-grandmothers are “turning in their grave” over her “identity politics” and that her Jamaican family wish to “dissociate ourselves from this travesty.” The travesty being the Kamala Harris presidential campaign.
It took a while, but Kamala Harris also disassociated herself from her travesty of a campaign.
By early November, Kamala began blaming a racist country for her poor showing. “Is America ready for that? Are they ready for a woman of color to be President of the United States?” she demanded.
The answer is yes. But not if she pronounces, “Salt-N-Pepa” as “Salt and Pepper”.
Despite the false claims of sexism and racism, she polled at 5% among men and 2% among women. Only 3% of white voters and 4% of black voters backed her. Nobody in America was ready for President Kamala. Men didn’t want her. Women really, really didn’t want her. White and black people didn’t.
The problem with Kamala Harris for the People was that the people didn’t want Kamala. Toward the end, Kamala was polling at 2% in the HarrisX poll (no relation) alongside winners like Julian Castro, Andrew Yang, and the guy who promises to tell the truth about the secret UFO base on the moon.
By then her campaign had broken out in spasms of vicious infighting between her sister Maya and campaign manager Juan Rodriguez who were only speaking to each through media leaks. Rodriguez had run Kamala’s Senate campaign and had the requisite skills to win elections in a corrupt one-party state. He was out of his depth competing in a national election and the dysfunctional campaign showed it.
But the real brains behind Kamala Harris for the People was, predictably, a member of the family.
Maya Harris had headed the ACLU in Northern California, then had a plum spot at the Ford Foundation, before becoming a senior advisor to the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016, and then as campaign chair for her sister. “Hillary really trusted her instincts,” John Podesta said of Maya. So did Kamala.
Too bad for her.
With her ACLU and Ford Foundation background, Maya had been billed as Kamala’s “progressive link”. It was more like the weakest link. While her campaign manager was out of his depth, her campaign chairwoman kept pushing her sister far leftward. And while that strategy worked in California where socialized medicine can pass without anyone having a clue how to pay for it: it didn’t work nationally.
Kamala Harris for the People, the campaign brand, played off Kamala’s background as a prosecutor. But under Maya, that part of her resume, the biggest part that doesn’t involve Willie Brown, got buried. Maya pushed Kamala into the same radical policy space as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren while trying to compete for Joe Biden’s black voters. But Kamala and Maya were too detached from the black community to realize that South Carolina black voters wanted a more conservative candidate.
Instead of winning over leftists and black voters, Kamala lost both.
Maya had been Hillary’s policy person. And that worked out badly. But Hillary was a control freak who kept a tight rein over everything. Kamala went out on debate stages without really understanding the radical programs that her sister had signed her up for. The flip-flopping over Medicare-for-All, a misleading name for a plan to destroy Medicare and take away everyone’s health insurance, did it.
Just as the same poison pill socialist plan torpedoed Elizabeth Warren’s brief time at the top.
Bernie’s plan to nationalize health care only works for him because he’s willing to live with the political consequences of raising taxes on the middle class and taking away everyone’s health plans. Neither Kamala nor Warren had the stomach to ride the socialist tiger without flip-flopping and obvious lies.
Unintentionally, Bernie Sanders destroyed both of their campaigns with his radical program.
The surge Kamala had gained by briefly playing the race card against Biden, vanished. Her campaign, always a house of cards, began coming apart. While her California pro mismanaged the national campaign, her sister had pushed her into the same political space as Bernie and Warren. Instead of being able to run as a moderate, she got steamrolled by the socialists she had stupidly embraced.
Kamala Harris for the People didn’t work structurally. The mismanaged staffing issues broke out into a civil war in the death match of the campaign with resignations, firings, budget cuts, and media leaks. It didn’t work on a policy level. Kamala didn’t have a message. It couldn’t even settle on a brand, trading slogans with the desperation of a gambler losing every game no matter how he plays the cards.
With no policy and no functional infrastructure, all that was left was a personality contest.
Kamala had been billed as the next Obama. Both their mothers were wealthy leftist radicals from privileged backgrounds who fastened onto black nationalism and married wealthy foreigners. They both had estranged black fathers and grew up outside the United States. Both had come through the dirty pipeline of urban politics while building inspirational brands. Both were newly minted senators.
But, despite the desperate efforts of her team of Clinton retreads, Kamala didn’t have any charisma. The more her media team tried to make her go viral, the more she came off as artificial and awkward.
The Clintonites didn’t make over Kamala into the next Obama. They made her over into Hillary Clinton.
Kamala tried to run on race, but she was a privileged girl from a wealthy family who slept her way into politics. Her social set wasn’t in Oakland, where she launched her campaign, but on Nob Hill. Her only real background was as a prosecutor, but in a pro-crime party and a radical campaign, she couldn’t talk about it. The more people listened to her, the more they realized she didn’t actually stand for anything.
What Kamala Harris for the People represented, besides a lack of proper spacing between words, was the incredible political potential of Kamala for the people who got on board with her campaign. That’s where that $36 million came from. Even as her poll numbers kept falling into the single digits, $11.6 million showed up in her war chest in the third quarter. Right before dropping out, Kamala cancelled yet another big money fundraiser with her top bundlers in New York for as much as $2,800 a ticket.
The money is there, but there’s no point when the talent isn’t showing up. The hedge funders throwing money at her were investing in a worthless stock whose value was inflated by false expectations. Kamala was going to be the next Obama because everyone said so. Especially the people hoping that it was so. But nobody actually asked what she stood for except getting elected to ever more important jobs.
And the answer, much like her campaign, turned out to be nothing.
A humiliating finish in Iowa or, worse New Hampshire, would have destroyed her potential in any future national election. And so Kamala Harris for the People shed its people, after wasting its campaign funds, to protect Kamala’s future ambitions.
The cowardly act of political calculation shows why Kamala will never be in the White House.
Presidents have to be willing to gamble everything. Kamala wasn’t Trump or Obama. She was Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. Just as in her Willie Brown days, she wanted a sure thing and an easy ride. It wasn’t about the ideas, about the people who worked for her, who donated, campaigned, and believed in her.
There was never a Kamala Harris for the People. There was only a Kamala Harris for Kamala.