Kamala Harris has suspended her candidacy for the Democratic race. The once-promising campaign failed to sustain momentum, solid polling and as a result, sufficient donations.
Harris started well into the Democratic race so much so that her first public speech in January 2019 drew more than 22.000 people. During the first Democratic TV debate in late June, she solidified her promising start by cornering favorite Joe Biden on the issues of race and busing. Harris was rightfully seen as one of the debate’s winners and had not only become well known on a now national stage but an overnight contender for the presidency.
Five months, three Democratic debates and only weeks till the Iowa caucus later, Harris suspended her bid. Insufficient fundraising, or as she stated in criticism of billionaires Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, not being able to self-fund her campaign, was the reason for exiting the race. However, insufficient funds are not the reason, but the result of her actions.
Harris failed to take advantage of the momentum from the TV debate in June. Tulsi Gabbard exposed and dismantled Harris in the second Debate by attacking her credibility. In the subsequent performances, Harris did not seem nearly as convincing nor was the average viewer cognizant of her political stance on relevant matters.
The latter is a result of her attempts to appeal to all factions within the Democratic party, from the far-left socialist to the moderates. However, this also led to continuous flip-flopping on Harris’s part, particularly on the dominating topic of this race: Medicare for all.
It took observers down memory lane and Hillary Clinton’s appearances in 2015. At the time, Clinton had also often left the impression that her positions would change with any poll result. At the democratic base, some voters above all sought authenticity, honesty and a clear vision. Due to her constant change of opinion, Harris was not able to deliver any of it. And with the lack of clarity, public enthusiasm began to dwindle.
Even Harris’ main target group, African Americans, never connected with her. Besides Medicare, affordable colleges and increased job opportunities are amongst the three most important topics for African Americans according to polls. Harris failed to address it. With the result that Joe Biden remained the favorite amongst Afro-American voters. With Harris’ departure, Biden will now likely further solidify this position.
Moreover, and due to the aforementioned factors, Harris did not manage to establish a euphoric, broad fanbase. Even in her native California, she would have been beaten. Nationally, Harris was polling at four percent prior to suspending her campaign.
However, Harris’s goodbye from the campaign trail could be short-lived. Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren have already stated Harris could be a potential running mate pick.
It makes sense on several levels. Even though her campaign failed, it is hard to negate her political zeal and charisma she has displayed. Particularly for Joe Biden, she would be a wise choice as she is a fresh face and adds a degree of diversity on the ticket, many Democratic voters are still hoping for, which would arguably guarantee Biden’s win amongst women and Afro-American voters. Unlike Biden, Harris has mastered the media circus and would deliver some stability to a Biden campaign, that, with little doubt, will face some adversary due to Biden’s continues rhetorical blunders.
Thus, regardless of her lackluster campaign, Harris remains a viable and promising option for the Vice Presidency.