When she ran for the presidency in 2020, Kamala Harris was viewed by many party insiders as the next Barack Obama.
Young, fresh, and belonging to a popular demographic set, the San Francisco prosecutor-turned-senators’ rise to the top of the Democratic Party’s pile of presidential candidates appeared unstoppable…that is, until the actual voting began.
Facing a crowded field, Kamala Harris failed to break through.
That was despite having received support from powerful figures within the Democratic Party’s establishment, notably the former President Barack Obama and his wife, the former first lady, Michelle Obama.
A Campaign of Errors for Kamala Harris
In fact, Harris ultimately dropped out of the 2020 Democratic Party Presidential Primary before the race moved to her home state of California, a state she represented in the United States Senate, and most had assumed going into that year’s race she’d win handily.
A Harris campaign staffer told CNN in 2020 that Harris’ decision to leave the contentious 2020 primary race before the California primaries began was smart because it would have been worst if Harris “finished fifth” in her own state.
Her campaign imploded; accusations of mismanaged (limited) financial resources plagued her campaign. At one point, a staffer was quoted as saying that they had barely reserved $10,000 for online ads in the run-up to the critical Iowa Caucus. There were also widespread reports of vicious in-fighting among the Harris campaign team—never a good sign for a candidate who was initially viewed as the heir apparent.
Harris and Willie Brown
Even looking at her career in California politics, it really wasn’t that impressive.
Politics is all about pressing the flesh and keeping in constant contact with the movers and shakers in a community. As a young, up-and-coming lawyer in San Francisco, Kamala Harris took that saying to the extreme: having a relationship with the older, married but separated then-Speaker of the California State Assembly, Willie Brown.
These critical linkages made via Brown catapulted Harris to extraordinary career highs. To her credit, she took advantage of every opportunity and climbed quickly, ultimately becoming the District Attorney of San Francisco. While serving in that capacity, and later as the 32nd Attorney General of California, Harris earned ridicule from the Left-wing base of the Democratic Party for zealously prosecuting drug offenders (likely to rack up her conviction rate, in order to impress the law-and-order voters in San Francisco).
Leveraging Notoriety (and Lies)
Inevitably, Kamala Harris maneuvered herself to run for the United States Senate in 2016.
As senator, Harris became a fierce critic of then-Republican President Donald J. Trump—leading the charge against several of his key initiatives, notably, the besmirchment of Judge Brett Kavanaugh who was Trump’s nominee to replace Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy. While many Americans viewed her attacks on Kavanaugh as harsh, she got what she had wanted out of the visceral nomination proceedings: notoriety.
Then-Senator Kamala Harris leveraged that newfound notoriety to make her presidential bid.
It was insufficient to sustain her.
After dropping out of the race in 2020, Harris laid low and eventually supported Joe Biden as the nominee—the candidate she had mercilessly attacked as being hopelessly racist in her most notable performance during the 2020 Democratic Presidential debates. The collapse of her campaign so early during the 2020 election coupled with her vicious attacks on Biden led many outside observers to assume that her days in politics were numbered—at least as long as Joe Biden was soaking up the spotlight in the Democratic Party.
Harris’ connections, However, Saved Her
Biden had been on the proverbial ropes for the entirety of the Democratic Party’s primary in 2020. He barely made it out of the important Iowa Primary and he struggled in New Hampshire. Biden’s team decided to fixate on the all-important South Carolina Primary. Home to a large African-American population that was nominally led by the Civil Rights era icon, Senator James Clyburn, Clyburn threw his support (and, therefore, the essential African-American vote), behind Biden’s ailing campaign. Mr. Biden would nominate a female African-American as his vice-presidential candidate. Some have argued that Clyburn’s endorsement may have pushed Biden in that direction.
Biden’s team compiled a shortlist comprised of former Obama Administration National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI), and Senator Kamala Harris. Clyburn believed there was only one person on that list who could elevate Biden and take the Democratic Party into the next generation: Kamala Harris. Despite the nasty attacks during the campaign, Biden consented and made her his vice-presidential pick.
Harris Falters, Biden Sabotages?
Now that she’s become the vice-president, Kamala Harris has not performed any better than she did on the campaign trail in 2020.
Off-the-record reports have circulated for the entirety of the Biden Administration that there were varying competing factions vying for control over the administration in the face of a weak president. As Biden’s most obvious successor, Harris surrounded herself with advisers who could easily transition to the White House, if she ascended to the Oval Office. Recognizing that Harris’ people were likely already picking out the White House drapes, Biden entrusted Harris to resolve a series of problems—ranging from the border to Ukraine—any of which were rightly viewed by the Harris team as poison pill issues.
By handing Harris these tough problems to resolve, knowing full well that no one would be able to resolve them adequately (least of the vice-president of the party that doesn’t support sensible border control), Biden was ensuring that the shine around Harris would tarnish going into the 2024 presidential election cycle. Biden likely picked Harris because so many notables were wedded to the idea that she would inevitably become the first female president—from Obama to Clyburn, Biden needed to keep the Democratic Party’s elite on his side by naming her as his number two.
But Harris’ multiple failures both as a candidate and as vice-president has removed her as a viable alternative (at least in the near-term) to Biden. What’s more, Kamala Harris has become a meme herself on the internet. Unable to fully string together a sentence when publicly speaking and cackling uncomfortably all throughout her public speeches, Harris seems less presidential every day.
This is precisely what the Biden team was hoping for: diminish her to allow for Biden to run yet again—something that the Democratic Party elite never really wanted him to do (he was always viewed by them as a placeholder candidate for the next generation).
Kamala Harris was never Joe Biden’s preference. She now brings very little to the table.
Kamala Harris is not—and never will be—the future of the Democratic Party.
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Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who recently became a writer for 19FortyFive.com. Weichert is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as a contributing editor at American Greatness and the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (March 28), and Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (May 16). Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.