by Becket Adams · December 3, 2019
Sen. Kamala Harris, on Tuesday, ended her 2020 Democratic primary candidacy, inspiring Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont to commemorate the death of her campaign with a note of gratitude.
“Thank you [Harris] for running a spirited and issue-oriented campaign,” Sanders’s team said in a tweet.
But that was exactly the problem with Harris’s disastrous run at the White House. It was anything but “issue-oriented.” The senator committed the cardinal sin of jumping into the Democratic primary without a clear idea of what she supported. And this problem only became clearer as the months dragged on.
The senator’s failure to work through her policy preferences prior to announcing her candidacy in January of this year was most evident in the following three examples:
3. Busing. Harris made a big splash at the first Democratic debate in late June when she attacked 2020 front-runner Joe Biden over her past opposition to the busing of students for the purpose of racial desegregation. Her campaign team even had shirts pre-ordered and ready to sell the minute Harris’s attacks on the former vice president landed.
Amazingly, after the debate, Harris revealed that she largely opposes mandatory school busing.
“I think of busing as being in the toolbox of what is available and what can be used for the goal of desegregating America’s schools,” she said in response to a question about whether she supports federal school busing.
Harris added, “I believe that any tool that is in the toolbox should be considered by a school district.”
This is the exact same position as Biden’s. That is the position she attacked during the primary debate. It is astonishing that she went into the debate with a big attack line, and then apparently did nothing to prepare for the inevitable follow-up questions.
In June, again during the first round of Democratic primary debates, Harris answered in the affirmative when the moderator asked for a show of hands for the candidates who believe “it should be a civil offense rather than a crime to cross the border without documentation.”
Harris’s response was clear enough that the Washington Post put her in the “yes” category for the question: “Would you seek the repeal of criminal penalties for people apprehended while crossing the border?”
But the senator backtracked on this position later during an appearance on the View, claiming she never supported decriminalizing illegal border crossings.
“That is not correct. I am not in favor of decriminalizing um, or not having consequences for, we have to keep, let me just be very clear,” she said.
The senator added, “We have to have a secure border, but I am in favor of saying we are not going to treat people who are undocumented and cross the border as criminals, that is correct. I would not make it a crime punishable by jail. It should be a civil enforcement issue but not a criminal enforcement issue.”
Let me be clear, indeed.
1. “Medicare for all” This is the big one — the one that likely hurt Harris the most with primary voters.
As my Washington Examiner Phil Klein argues, Harris “made a major blunder by trying early on to compete with Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren for the support of the far Left, most notably, on healthcare.”
“Her cynical shifts,” he adds, “went from endorsing the Sanders plan to eliminate private insurance, to emphasizing mythical ‘supplemental’ policies, and then to releasing a separate plan, managing to alienate everybody. Hardcore single-payer enthusiasts came to see her as unreliable, and yet traditional liberals saw her as too radical.”
As it turns out, voters appreciate it when a candidate has a platform and a message that amounts to more than just, “Vote for me because why not?”
Washington Examiner · by Becket Adams · December 3, 2019