In early 2019, then-Sen. Kamala Harris secured her spot as the next vice presidential running mate by doing one thing: announcing her own 2020 presidential campaign. The Democratic Party had its sights set on beating President Donald Trump in 2020, no matter what. In the minds of left-leaning voters and politicians alike, the country had to be saved from four more years of Trump. There was no room for error. It also meant that Harris’s presidential campaign was essentially dead on arrival.
Her campaign lasted just shy of 11 total months and didn’t even live to see election year. In fact, Harris’s campaign was so overlooked that it fizzled out right around the time Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and former Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak each suspended theirs. Even feel-good spiritualist Marianne Williamson lasted longer. In the end, Harris blamed finances: “My campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue,” she wrote. “I’m not a billionaire. I can’t fund my own campaign. And as the campaign has gone on, it’s become harder and harder to raise the money we need to compete.”
By early March 2020, the presumptive Democratic nominee was former Vice President Joe Biden. At a debate in D.C., Biden declared he would “pick a woman to be vice president” if he won the nomination. His stated commitment to both gender and racial diversity was all but a tacit endorsement of his former opponent Harris. The senator filled the correct boxes in terms of biology and preferred resume, and many Democrats felt appeased by the inclusion of a younger, progressive counter, and possible successor, to Biden. The gamble worked, and Trump was gone.
A mere nine months have passed since Biden was sworn in as the 46th president. With Donald Trump out of office, things have changed. A case can be made that certain norms have returned. But not being Trump doesn’t make one a competent executive fit to lead our nation toward a better tomorrow. And Biden’s incompetence is evident in the transformations that have taken place both at home and abroad.
Yet just where is Vice President Kamala Harris in all this?
If anything is a ringing indictment of gender politics, it’s the unremarkable nature of Harris’s vice presidency. It seems the only hurdle she had to cross was becoming the first female to hold the office. This she achieved merely by existing: Harris was in the right place at the right time. The Democratic Party needed a win that could also count as an official cultural evolution. Biden would beat Trump, thanks largely to the latter’s self-sabotage, and history would finally be made with a female on the ticket. A party that saw the “inevitable” Hillary Clinton lose was looking for some relief and sense of accomplishment. Harris provided that at the outset. And not much more.
One year after announcing a female would be his running mate, President Biden assigned a large task to his chosen one. During a meeting in March to discuss the immigration crisis, Biden gave the problem to Harris, stating, “When she speaks, she speaks for me.”
Even going back to before the election, the Democrats’ strategy has been to treat Trump as the architect of the border crisis, and to paint any immigration mitigation efforts taken by the Trump administration as inhumane. Once the “party of compassion” retook the reins of power, they promised, a new day would dawn for America and those looking to start a new life here. Months later and no meaningful actions have been taken, the influx of migrants has increased, and conditions at the border and beyond have deteriorated, all during a pandemic. The president of the United States allocated a duty to his vice president, and things have only gotten worse. Harris’s best, and seemingly only, attempt at border policy so far came at a press conference in early June during a trip to Guatemala and Mexico: “I want to be clear to folks in this region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border,” she said. “Do not come, do not come.” In the intervening months, illegal border crossings have continued unabated.
The growing frustration at Harris for her lack of practical effort and interest is by no means just a focus of Republicans. Recent images from Del Rio, Texas, showed thousands of Haitian immigrants camped out under a bridge, eager to enter the U.S. Unchecked, the situation had escalated into a national security and humanitarian nightmare so bad that even the establishment media took notice. Stephanie Ruhle of MSNBC reacted by asking, “How about the message from our vice president? Where is she? She was supposed to be in charge of all of these migration issues.” NBC News’s Julia Ainsley echoed the question, acknowledging, “Well, we haven’t heard a lot from the vice president.”
When Harris finally did appear, it was only to spread a false media narrative that the border agents who were working on horseback to tame the massive crowds had attacked the immigrants with whips. Despite its demonstrable inaccuracy — the objects in question were horse reins, which were also not being used as whips — Harris encouraged an investigation into this charge and decried the treatment of the migrant crowds. The decisions that led to the gathering of illegal migrants at Del Rio and elsewhere? Of limited concern.
Rather than setting a high bar as the first female vice president, Harris is proving that a shallow obsession with gender does not translate to real-world effectiveness or success. History was made by her election, and for some voters, that alone was good enough. There is a painful lesson to be learned in placing gender above preparedness. To gain the White House, Biden needed Harris. But just as the presidency is a job too large for the elderly statesman, so, too, is the position of vice president a task too important for the likes of Harris. Whether or not she believed herself to be ready, she gladly took on the role, knowing the path to power required that acceptance. Now, less than a year into it, voters notice an odd combination: Harris is both overwhelmed and uninterested.
Chief among the vice president’s weaknesses is her inability to communicate effectively and judiciously. In recent days, Harris’s team has added two new experts, Lorraine Voles and Obama alumnus Adam Frankel, to help in this area. The pair have their work cut out for them. For example, when asked during a television interview in early June why she hadn’t visited the southern border, Harris told NBC’s Lester Holt, “I, and I haven’t been to Europe. And I mean, I don’t — I don’t understand the point that you’re making.” Harris, who is, it’s worth repeating, the Biden administration’s lead on the border issue, finally took her first trip to the border as vice president later that month.
During a question-and-answer session on a recent visit to George Mason University, a student mentioned the financial support given by the U.S. to Israel. The student characterized the aid as contributing to “an ethnic genocide and displacement of people.” In response, Harris stated, “This is about the fact that your voice, your perspective, your experience, your truth cannot be suppressed, and it must be heard.” The White House remained silent on the questionable exchange, forcing supporters to fall back on the excuse that the Biden-Harris administration has a wonderful pro-Israel record.
The most on-the-nose flub happened in early October when a new YouTube series with the vice president premiered, featuring Harris talking about space exploration with a group of young people. It turned out that they were child actors who had to audition for the role and were cast much as Harris herself was. The show was produced by a company called Sinking Ship Entertainment.
These messaging problems are nothing new. The country saw how ill-equipped Harris was on the 2020 campaign trail and during presidential debates. They represent more proof that selecting someone based on gender first and foremost is a disaster in the making. But the elephant in the room isn’t so much Harris’s performance as the second-in-command. Instead, it is the possibility that she may be tasked with taking over as president one day, should the need arise.
It takes no time at all to grow worried over President Biden’s decreasing mental and physical strength. It is apparent daily. Biden is the oldest president the country has ever had. In that case, it is imperative that his vice president be a capable, experienced, empathetic politician who would lead the country in all matters, foreign and domestic. But waiting in the wings is Kamala Harris, who can boast none of those things and instead owes the fact that she is a heartbeat away from the most powerful seat in the world to little more than biology. Disturbingly, this is actually applauded by members of the Democratic Party.
Kamala Harris’s 2020 presidential campaign began with much to-do yet fell quickly, foreshadowing her time as vice president. The two roles mirror each other in uncanny fashion. As both presidential contender and vice president, gender and race were highlighted first. Physical characteristics were meant to facilitate whatever followed. But they didn’t, and they haven’t. A December 2019 piece at CNN described how the Harris campaign “plummeted” as a result of “months of disjointed messaging, contentious infighting among top aides and severe money issues.”
Playing the role of presidential candidate is a great setup for the future, as Harris found out. But the chaos, both in front of and behind the camera, should have been enough to steer clear of Harris as a running mate. The chaos has followed Harris into the White House. Reports from July refer to “dysfunction and infighting” within her office. White House press secretary Jen Psaki wouldn’t comment on the reports, saying, “The vice president is an incredibly important partner to the president of the United States. She has a challenging job, a hard job, and she has a great, supportive team of people around her.” Not what you’d call a categorical denial.
Among Democrats, there seems to be a sense of comfort in the fact that Harris gained the vice presidency. But not long ago, a conspicuous lack of support and interest led to her presidential campaign’s demise. Her weaknesses as a politician haven't improved with a more senior position. The rumbles of chaos aren’t just rumors, and we are watching the results play out in real time on the world’s stage. If Kamala Harris was just another in a sea of hopefuls for 2024, these problems might be overlooked at present. But the vice president is barely treading water in her current role and, as a result, belongs nowhere near the Oval Office.
But at least that glass ceiling is cracked?
Kimberly Ross (@SouthernKeeks) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog and a columnist at Arc Digital.
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Original Author: Kimberly Ross
Original Location: Kamala Harris, disaster