News & Politics

Dianne Feinstein Puts the Brakes on Kamala Harris 2020 Speculation

Kamala Harris (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The Democrats’ almost non-existent bench for 2020 creates opportunities for instant stardom in a party that is still reeling from losing what it was sure was a gimme in 2016.

Some of the most breathless speculation has been about the junior senator from California, Kamala Harris:

Sen. Kamala Harris is using her newfound progressive stardom to raise money for her Democratic colleagues — and amplifying buzz about the California freshman as a prospect for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination in the process.

In the first six months of 2017, Harris has raised more than $600,000 for a dozen Senate colleagues — including $365,000 from small-dollar online contributions, her aides said.
The email list Harris has used to raise the bulk of that money is 10 times the size it was at this time last year, during her Senate campaign. She’s used that list to raise money for incumbents up for re-election in the 2018 cycle, including Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, Montana Sen. Jon Tester and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Harris is also planning a travel schedule in the fall to raise money for Democratic Senate incumbents as well as the challengers for seven Republican-held House seats in California that the party is targeting.
Some of Sen. Harris’s popularity may be due to the fact that the Democrats are just thrilled to see someone under the age of seventy show up anywhere. Any charm she possesses certainly eludes me. I didn’t see it when she was my attorney general, and she certainly hasn’t gotten better as my senator.
Harris may be riding a wave of popularity but Dianne Feinstein — the senior senator from California, and oldest member of the Senate — just issued a bit of a “get off my lawn” regarding her new colleague:

There are rumblings that freshman Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., may be a challenge to President Trump in 2020, but it appears some within her own party are not convinced.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the senior senator in Harris’ state, told The New York Times Thursday that Harris still needs to prove herself at her current job.

“She just got here,” Feinstein said, when asked about Harris’ future on a national stage. She continued, “What she should do is concentrate on being a good, and possibly a great, United States senator. The rest will either happen or not happen.

Job expectations? From one Democrat to another? What planet is this?

Feinstein’s experience allows her to understand that the last thing the Democrats need moving forward is throwing all of their eggs into an unproven basket just because they are desperate for fresh faces. One dirty little secret lost in all the media-created Trump noise is that, even though many think the Dems have an opportunity in 2018 and 2020, the party is in such disarray that they haven’t done much to seize on any momentum.

Then again, the last presidential success the Democrats had was with a brand new senator who really didn’t bother to do a lot of senator type stuff before throwing his hat in the ring. Perhaps that is their template now and Harris is just sticking to the plan.

2020 is an eternity from now on the calendar, but the media speculation could actually ramp up far sooner than it usually does simply because most members of it are fantasizing about some mythical figure arriving from the clouds to vanquish President Trump.