Is Kamala Harris Over Before She Got Going?

Kamala Harris (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Senator Kamala Harris was supposed to be the posterwomyn for progressive Democratic presidential primary voters: Intersectional, youngish, San Franciscan, reliably lefty on a whole host of issues, yet with a law-and-order record that might appeal to party moderates. Harris showed some of that prosecutor’s flair in the first round of Democratic debates in June, when she went hard after former Veep Joe Biden for his old stance on busing. That attack generated enough positive press to prove Harris truly belonged amongst the frontrunners.

Except that since then, there’s been a whole lot of not much — and the progressive left and the Mainstream Media (but I repeat myself) have taken notice.

Harris tried to create another Biden moment in last Wednesday’s debate, but the sparks never quite flew. Her demeanor and performance were so relaxed — verging on comatose — that I wondered during my drunkblog if she was on some heavy cold medication. Even her prepared closing statement was off, as I noticed at the time:

Harris is closing with her AG record, which Gabbard absolutely savaged her for earlier tonight. It’s like she forgot that ever happened, and judging by her NyQuil demeanor, maybe she has.

It was the wrong closing delivered to the wrong crowd.

I’m far from the only one to notice that Harris’s campaign is sagging. FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Cohn, who was once “optimistic about her chances,” now says the her “performance in last week’s debate gave me reason for pause.” He concludes that Harris is “increasingly at risk of becoming the Marco Rubio in a field of candidates who have more distinctive pitches to voters.”


If you can stomach Mediaite, which seems to fancy itself as the left’s barometer of cool, they have video of Michael Moore mocking Harris’s student debt plan by…

…well, why not just watch it yourself and see?

While that’s hardly reasoned discourse, Moore usually has a pretty good idea of which way the lefty breezes are blowing.

As does MSNBC, where on Saturday they asked, “How can Kamala Harris redeem herself to voters after her prosecutorial record?” The clip itself feels like a Greatest Hits collection of slams against the former Attorney General’s questionable record.

Tulsi Gabbard’s claim that Harris jailed 1,500 people for minor marijuana offenses stung so badly that Uproxx decided to look into it, and concluded that Gabbard’s number “doesn’t tell the whole story — not even close.”

Lisa Dunn continues:

A 2019 Washington Free Beacon investigation found that, from 2011 to 2016, she sent at least 1,560 people to prison for marijuana-related offenses. Due to overcrowding in California prisons, innumerable nonviolent offenders were instead sent to county jails and are not accounted for in the total number of incarcerated — which means that 1,560 is a low estimate of how many marijuana-related offenses Harris prosecuted.

None of that exactly squares with Harris’s boast about being a “progressive prosecutor.”

Joe Biden showed up better prepared for Harris last week, “accusing her of failing to desegregate schools in Los Angeles and San Francisco during her two-term stint as attorney general of California.” And of her time as SanFran DA, Biden claimed:

“She also was in a situation where she had a police department when she was there that, in fact, was abusing people’s rights.

“And the fact was that she in fact was told by her own people, her own staff, that she should do something about and disclose to defense attorneys like me that you, in fact, have been — the police officer did something that did not give you information that would exculpate your client.

“She didn’t do that. She never did it. And so, what happened? Along came a federal judge and said enough, enough, and he freed 1,000 of these people. If you doubt me, Google ‘1,000 prisoners freed Kamala Harris.’”

Politifact’s Bill McCarthy looked into that on Friday, and concluded that “Biden’s version of events captures the gist of what happened but misses the mark on a few details.”

When Joe Biden can beat you and only miss a few details, you know you’ve been beat.

It all got to be so much that the Bay Area Mercury News declared that Harris is “a loser” after facing (and presumably failing to stand up to) a “barrage of criticism” from her fellow Dems last week.

So is it all over for Harris? Hardly. She’s well-funded, has a natural base of core supporters, and probably won’t be doped up on NyQuil at the next debate. But for somebody who was thought to be a Tier One candidate, she’s failed to capitalize on her one big win, and was ill-prepared to defend herself from the inevitable blowback.

I don’t know if all that is bad enough to keep her from being a winner in the crowded Democrat field, but if it’s any indication of her executive skills, she’d make one loser of a president.