Once one of the most promising Democratic candidates to grace the 2020 stage, Senator Kamala Harris and her campaign are barely hanging on by the skin of their teeth this week.
Harris, who gained a reputation as a racially-cognizant contender just months ago, began to find trouble as early as February of this year after an attempt to connect with youth and minorities backfired. The former prosecutor, who was on the ropes after a question regarding her hardline stance on non-violent drug offenders, told a report that she used to “smoke weed and listen to Tupac and Snoop Dogg” in college. Fact checkers quickly pointed out that neither artists had released any music during any year that Harris was educating herself, outing the Senator’s blatant pandering.
All of this during Black History Month, ironically.
Now, some 8+ months later, Harris is on the ropes with no hope in sight.
As the California senator crisscrosses the country trying to revive her sputtering presidential bid, aides at her fast-shrinking headquarters are deep into the finger-pointing stages. And much of the blame is being placed on campaign manager Juan Rodriguez.
After Rodriguez announced dozens of layoffs and re-deployments in late October to stem overspending, three more staffers at headquarters here were let go and another quit in recent days, aides told POLITICO. Officials said they’ve become increasingly frustrated at the campaign chief’s lack of clarity about what changes have been made to right the ship and his plans to turn the situation around. They hold Rodriguez responsible for questionable budget decisions, including continuing to bring on new hires shortly before the layoffs began.
Just how bad is it?
“It’s a campaign of id,” said one senior Harris official, laying much of the blame on Rodriguez, but also pointing to a leaderless structure at the top that’s been allowed to flail without accountability. “What feels right, what impulse you have right now, what emotion, what frustration,” the official added. The person described the current state of the campaign in blunt terms: “No discipline. No plan. No strategy.”
Democrats could find themselves unexpectedly glad that Harris is on her way out, given that the low confidence the party maintains in their field of candidates continues to spawn late entrants into the race.
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