The latest indication that the presidential campaign of Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Ca. is in big trouble was reported by CNN. Harris has closed three of her four campaign offices in New Hampshire, site of the first in the nation primary, and has laid off all of her field organizers in that state. The only people who will work for her in New Hampshire will be volunteers, tasked to canvass neighborhoods and hand out campaign literature.
Harris is moving her entire operation to Iowa, a state that holds a caucus to doll out its delegate votes about a week before New Hampshire. Her hope appears to be to make a good showing in the state to jump-start her ailing campaign.
Current polling suggests that Harris has a daunting task ahead of her. The Real Politics Poll Average shows that she has four percent in the national polls, three percent in Iowa, and four percent in New Hampshire. She ranks about fifth or sixth depending on which poll one looks at.
Kamala’s Harris’ fall from the presumptive favorite to win the Democratic nomination to someone whose campaign is arguably circling the drain has been a drama of Shakespearean dimensions.
Pundits noted that Harris checked several boxes. She is relatively young and telegenic, a minority, a woman, hails from the largest blue state in the union, California, and has a background in law enforcement.
The pin hit the balloon during the first Democratic presidential debate when Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, who is also young, female, and a minority, called out Harris on her record as California’s state attorney general, according to CNN.
“Senator Harris says she’s proud of her record as a prosecutor and that she’ll be a prosecutor president.
“But I’m deeply concerned about this record. There are too many examples to cite but she put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana.
“She blocked evidence — she blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until the courts forced her to do so. She kept people in prison beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor for the state of California.”
At first, Harris tried to dismiss Gabbard’s body blow, claiming that the congresswoman was beneath her. But her collapse in the polls and the drying up of her campaign contributions told the story of a candidacy that had been knocked off its perch and was headed into free fall.
Sen Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass is now the female candidate to bear. Warren, despite certain pretensions to being part native American that has since been debunked, is lily-white. She is also relatively old, though not as old as the two top tier male candidates, Biden and Sanders,
As The Week reports, Harris is ascribing her political woes to the idea that the voters are not ready for a president who is a woman of color. The magazine also says that this excuse is “bunk.”
“The real reason she’s falling is that the more voters learn about Harris’ decade-and-a-half record, first as a San Francisco prosecutor and then as the California attorney general, the more they recoil. And rightly so.”
Gabbard’s slam on Harris had resonance because it had the virtue of being true. She tended to drop the prosecutorial hammer on not just violent criminals, murderers, rapists, and so on. Harris was especially harsh on people who committed “quality of life” offenses.
“What kind of ‘quality of life’ crimes did she crackdown on? Panhandling, prostitution, graffiti, loitering, driving under the influence, and living in an unapproved homeless encampment. This issue set would have made former New York Mayor and now Trump confidante Rudy Giuliani proud. It is also one that targets people of color the most. “
The strategy might win approval from conservative voters. Giuliani achieved great results in lowering the overall crime rate in New York City with the same approach. But Harris’ methods cut no ice with progressive voters.
While Harris wanted to use law enforcement to solve social problems like school truancy, Democrats are seeing what she did as being unnecessarily cruel to minorities and other marginal communities.
Harris plans to make her last stand in Iowa, in hopes that she can emerge as a viable candidate. However, if she fails, she will likely have no path to the nomination going forward.