There has been a steady drumbeat of journalists and pundits who are questioning the efficacy and waning influence of Vice President Kamala Harris. There are many reasons for this negative coverage against Harris such as her speaking ability, ineptitude in media interviews, lack of a clear role in President Joe Biden’s administration, and incompetence associated with her general duties.
Are the Liberals Coming After Kamala Harris Too?
A recent New York Times article back in February Kamala Harris read like a “Fox News-style” hit piece rather than a missive written by the liberal Times.
Dave Seminara of the City Journal from the right-leaning Manhattan Institute likely has made the most controversial claims yet – that Harris was a diversity hire brought on by Biden’s and Democrat’s adherence to identity politics.
What New York Times Readers Are Saying
Seminara went through the comments section of the New York Times and analyzed what readers are saying about Harris and the results are likely troublesome for the vice president.
Now Being Criticized for Being a Diversity Hire
Readers can rate other comments and “like” them. Seminara found that the highest-rated comment declared that Harris is not up to the job and was only picked to “tick a box.” One reader said, “This is what happens when you choose and elect a candidate because of their identity, and not their competence.” Another one asked, “When will she and her media supporters realize she was an identity politics pick and nothing else?”
She Has the Resume to Be Vice President
The racial and sexist undertones of these comments are not fair to Harris. She had the resume and experience to be selected as vice president. She served as San Francisco district attorney, as attorney general of California, and as a U.S. Senator. She also ran for president. This shows that she wasn’t just a diversity hire, instead, she showed competence and proficiency in those elected positions.
She Paid Her Dues
Harris earned her place as vice president by paying her dues in California – a big state with much competition, which makes it difficult to attain elective office.
It is understandable that she was selected to appear on the ticket with Biden. Harris was a historic choice, becoming the first woman Indian-American and Jamaican-American to ever become vice president. She has many things going for her, and racial identity is only one part of her character and competence.
Harris Has Trouble In Office
Yes, Harris has endured a difficult tenure as vice president, but picking on her as only being selected because of her race and gender is unjust. She should be judged on her merit. Indeed, one can criticize Harris on the grounds of her actions, which have been underwhelming, but leave her race and gender out of the discussion.
Low Levels of Support in Opinion Polls
Reader comments criticizing her as a diversity hire is an unscientific science. It is better to look at her more scientific opinion polling. Harris scores poorly in approval surveys. Her approvals are often in the high 30s and low 40s, which is below average compared to other vice presidents in the past.
Some approval ratings for Harris are even lower. A NBC News poll from months back granted her a 35 percent rating, with just 15 percent of those surveyed viewing her very favorably and 37 percent very unfavorably. This poll numbers have barely moved.
Get Better at Communicating
Harris needs to improve her performance and avoid wordy, confusing, and tedious rhetoric. She is not good on the stump and often improvises away from the text of her speech or talking points. This habit can get her into trouble when she talks in what critics say are “word salads.”
Kamala Harris supporters, on the other hand, say the vice president is being attacked because of racism and sexism. That should be out of bounds too. Let’s just judge her based on her performance and leave the race and gender aspects out of the conversation, whether it comes from the right or the left.
Author Expertise and Experience:
Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.