I figured Kamala Harris would have a shot at regaining some campaign heat as a star at the coming impeachment trial. And yes, barring Trump pulling a Nixon and resigning in disgrace, there will be a Senate trial. After that new 300-page Intelligence Committee Report, with all those new phone calls and none of the facts refuted, there is no doubt in my mind.
But Harris prosecuting Trump as a campaign boost is not to be.
The senator who seemed destined to be the next “hope” for people of color, has dropped out of the race.
Not enough cash for the billionaire’s game. Billionaires can self-fund campaigns and buy the White House, if they want. What billionaire could step in for Kamala?
But now that Harris has dropped out, this can be said: Kamala, you wish we hardly knew ye.
That’s because while some people were just meeting her for the first time and trying to figure her out, folks like me in California did know her. (See my June 28 post, “Will Kamala Harris be the first Asian American president?”)
It’s a contributing factor to her undoing.
I was concerned when as SF District Attorney, she chose not to go after white hooligans who were beating up on Asian Americans in San Francisco’s Sunset District. Minor, right? But in a city that was 30 percent Asian, she was part South Asian Indian and seen as one of us. An Asian American. Or so we thought.
Others this year saw her rise and were attracted by her progressive appeal.
But then California progressives remembered how they urged Harris to adopt criminal justice reforms and she either opposed them or stayed mum. In a New York Times op-ed, USF law professor Lara Bazelon wrote that Harris fought to uphold wrongful convictions secured by “official misconduct,” such as evidence tampering, false testimony and suppression of information by prosecutors.
That didn’t help.
Harris did recover with some well-timed revelations in the June debate, when she confronted joe Biden, who was under fire for past support of segregation. Harris said Biden wasn’t a racist, but then used the exchange to show her picture as a child of desegregation’s busing.
It was a great moment, and despite all the previous things I’ve said, I thought she would parlay that exchange, with her grand Oakland kickoff, to reach front-runner status.
She was, after all, a multiracial person of color, of both African American and Asian descent, from California, with an Obama patina.
Harris was diversity’s candidate.
She looked like America, right?
I was willing to give her a second look.
She was smart, charismatic, a feisty debater. Why not?
But she never gave us a real sense of what she stood for in this political iteration.
Not as progressive as Sanders and Warren, Harris was at least in the center, tilting left.
It’s not a look that gets the money, let alone the votes. Reports say she wasn’t even drawing black female support. And in Iowa, one of the whitest states in the union, it definitely wasn’t happening.
Rather than be embarrassed in state after state, including her own state primary in California, Harris decided to hold on to the power she had—that coveted U.S. Senate seat.
Harris is smart and would have been great taking on Trump in 2020. I just wish I had a better sense of what she was selling.
In the past, when I thought I knew what she was about, she disappointed me.
I thought she would deliver this time. Given the growing diversity of the country, she had the look, but she didn’t have the message.
She’s like Sen. Marco Rubio. Remember how he was touted as the future of the GOP in 2016? The Republicans even published a diversity plan. But after Trump’s unexpected rise, that all went in the dumpster.
Harris seemed to get in her own way. Maybe CNN commentator Van Jones was right when he suggested Harris was “held to a higher standard,” and that the “glass ceiling” was at play.
Given the general lack of adherence to truth in politics, was anything Harris did in her past a deal breaker? She didn’t do what I or many others expected her to do. Still, she didn’t try to bribe Ukraine.
And judging from presidential behavior at NATO this week, I’m sure Kamala could be presidential.
No doubt, Harris will fight again at a high level. Maybe even as someone’s No.2 in 2020 when the ticket is in need of color.
That’s the unfortunate thing about what her departure says for all the people of color in the race.
No.2 is available, but to be No. 1, it’s best to be rich, white and male, or a white female.
So Harris pulls out, as white candidate Pete Buttigieg, the Iowa front-runner with far less experience, continues to raise a ton of cash.
Doesn’t say much for diversity in presidential politics.