Whatever happened to Candidate Harris?

MONDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2019

A peculiar report in the Times:
Whatever happened to Candidate Kamala Harris? One week ago today, a peculiar report on this basic question appeared in the New York Times.

What the heck happened to Candidate Harris? Why did she fail to catch on?

What went wrong with the Harris campaign? At one point, Lerer and Medina offer this highly unflattering overview:
LERER AND MEDINA (12/P/19): Supporters acknowledge that many of the problems faced by Ms. Harris’s presidential campaign were self-inflicted, having little to do with her race or gender. They list failings like strategic miscalculations that had her ignoring Iowa and New Hampshire for the first months of the race, a lack of leadership within her operation and an inability to articulate a consistent rationale for her candidacy. Her critics argue that those missteps suggested to voters that Ms. Harris was unprepared for the presidency, lending credence to arguments questioning her electability.
Oof! According to that assessment, Harris committed the strategic blunder of ignoring Iowa and New Hampshire for the first months of the race.

She had a lack of leadership within her operation. Also, she wasn't able to articulate a consistent rationale for her candidacy. And that's what her supporters say!

According to Harris' critics, these bungles "suggested to voters that Ms. Harris was unprepared for the presidency." Question:

If voters got that impression from that list of problems, could anyone say they were wrong?

In our view, Lerer and Medina were perhaps being overly kind. They failed to list some of the specific mistakes which may have cost Harris support.

That said, their capsule assessment is plenty harsh. How many White House candidates have been successful if they ignored the first caucus and primary states while failing to articulate a rationale for their campaign?

We can't tell you why Harris didn't catch on with Democratic voters. Since we're discussing tens of milliona of people, we'll guess there were several reasons.

On the simplest level, we'd simply say that, after an impressive kick-off rally, it just seemed, again and again, that Harris simply wasn't ready for a White House campaign.

She wasn't hugely well known coming in. Once there, she often seemed under-prepared.

For ourselves, we thought Harris' opening rally was extremely impressive. That said, we were appalled by few of her subsequent steps. That included her attack on Candidate Biden at the first debate—her attack on him for opposing a policy in the 1970s which, just to be honest, Harris herself doesn't seem to support in the present day.

We're bone weary of hopefuls like that. We'll guess that her decline started there, after reflexive bursts of praise for her bold, heartfelt, completely authentic and truth-telling attack.

For the record, we think Biden is a terrible candidate in a field of terrible candidates. That said, Lerer and Medina offered a highly unflattering summary of the Harris campaign in the paragraph we've quoted—and that's just what her supporters have said!.

According to Lerer and Medina, the Harris campaign was a mess. That brings us to the part of their report which struck us as a bit peculiar—but also as a highly instructive artifact of the times.

According to Lerer and Medina, Harris made the large mistake of ignoring New Hampshire and Iowa. There was a lack of leadership within her operation. Beyond that, the candidate was unable "to articulate a consistent rationale for her candidacy."

Especially for a relative newcomer, that sounded like a list of sins which would derail almost any White House campaign. But the paragraph we've posted above was just one small part of a full-length report, in which the Times reporters tried to determine whether the real reason for Harris' failure might lie somewhere else.

Anyone familiar with modern-day TimesThink will know where the reporters looked. Their report was an attempt to determine why Candidate Harris didn't make it. We'd also say it might help us see why the crackpot Candidate Trump has a good chance to win once again.

As we consider a possible Trump re-election, are we possibly dealing with "death by woke?" We'll examine that possibility all this week in our afternoon reports, in which we examine an endless series of valid concerns gone wild.

Tomorrow: A rare point of widespread agreement

23 comments:

  1. No one says this but - not only the barbs and attach on Biden. All that aside, I thought her debate performances were sub-par. She pandered to black women by occasionally using phrasing and inflection like those used by many black people but not by her. Her mannerisms were distracting. Her voice was extremely irritating. I'd say those same things about a male candidate if they were true. I despise it when candidates (not Harris) decide to break out their high school Spanish. It's perhaps the most annoying pandering there is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All those irritating mannerisms arise because you already have a visceral dislike of Harris, not vice versa. What you see as "pandering" is standard electioneering. People who speak Spanish like it when a candidate or public figure makes the effort to talk to them in that language. It is courteous to make the attempt. But you see it as something negative (because it was learned in high school?). I suspect that you don't like anyone speaking Spanish around you. Do you seriously imagine that black women don't know she is biracial? Do you think she didn't come by that "black phrasing and inflection" naturally? Or do you want to remind us that she is faking it when she talks white? Which is the real Kamala Harris? Maybe both versions are her and neither is put on, just like a bilingual-from-birth person is speaking his or her real language whenever they speak either language.

      I don't think you have seriously thought about your emotional reaction and may not realize that it comes from unfair reactions that have nothing whatsoever to do with whether she would have been a good president or not. we don't elect people based on their voice or impressiveness. We should be electing them based on their experience and competence.

      I hope she will gain from this year's experience and run again. I believe she has a lot to offer in public service.

      Delete
    2. I can speak Spanish myself, studied in Spain for a semester, used to live in Texas and worked at a Mexican restaurant for six months, am frequently mistaken for Hispanic and love the language. I just think it sound idiotic when pandering politicians whip out a few words or phrases in Spanish to try to appeal to someone (to someone who is watching the debate in English). It doesn't work for me and makes them sound, as they at least used to say in Spain "subnormal."

      I heard Kamala Harris speak and she only occasionally popped into the dialect of which I spoke so, no, I think it's fair to assume she was putting it on ("laying it on thick").

      I am a voter and at liberty to form whatever opinion I like about candidates. I liked Obama and voted for him. I didn't love Hillary but voted for her. I really like Elizabeth Warren but don't think she has a snowball's chance. It's my prerogative to find K Harris extremely annoying and I can't be the only one though no one ever offers that as a reason for her failed campaign. It's not race or gender for me. And it's your prerogative to find K Harris a very appealing candidate. Her appeal as a public speaker is lost on me.

      Delete
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  2. "Their report was an attempt to determine why Candidate Harris didn't make it."

    Who cares.

    "We'd also say it might help us see why the crackpot Candidate Trump has a good chance to win once again."

    Because he's not a liberal zombie, that's why. You shouldn't need a degree in rocket science to figure it out, dear Bob.

    "As we consider a possible Trump re-election, are we possibly dealing with "death by woke?""

    No, dear Bob. 'Woke' is idiotic alright, but it's all in economics. And the only reason they are playing their 'woke' games for idiots, is that that they've got nothing meaningful to offer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Because he's not a liberal zombie..."
      Agreed.
      You can rightly call Donald J. Trump a lot of things:
      -racist
      -grifter
      -America's largest tool of the Establishment
      -Standard-issue Reagan Republican
      -Russian asset

      all true, but Liberal zombie is not something you can rightly call Donald J. Trump.

      Delete
  3. Don't worry Democrats, you have an unsuccessful mayor from the 4th largest city in Indiana to save you.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Somerby calls Lehrer and Medina's analysis "highly unflattering". A better word is "honest," since the analysis comes from her own team.

    Harris is 55 and has only served as a Senator since 2017. That makes her one of the less experienced candidates running. Somerby describes her qualifications only in terms of sex and race and Susan above talks about her voice, as if that had anything to do with her qualifications. Somerby talks about the theatricality of her first rally, not the substance of what she said to prospective voters.

    Aside from attacking Biden, I doubt Somerby knows anything about what she has proposed and where she stands on issues. But he is willing to pile on. Harris quit the race because of lack of funding. It is the main reason any candidate withdraws short of scandal. It is notoriously difficult for female candidates to attract funding the way their male counterparts do. But Somerby thinks it is because she is somehow unimpressive and Susan doesn't like her voice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shut up dumb bitch.

      Delete
    2. Too much hostility and no place to put it, @4:33?

      Delete
  5. 'For the record, we think Biden is a terrible candidate in a field of terrible candidates'

    Naturally, since Bob's ideal candidate combines all the features of TDH's heroes -- DJT, Roy Moore, Devin Nunes, Jim Jordan, Ron Johnson. In short, Bob's ideal candidate is a Trumptard heart, body and soul.

    ReplyDelete
  6. “Anyone familiar with modern-day TimesThink will know where the reporters looked.”

    Aside from the reasons stated in the quoted section, the reporters were asking an additional question, essentially: Does being a black woman create special challenges not faced by other Democratic candidates?

    We are living in a country that elected Obama twice. But their question seems a fair one, given our history, and given the current post-Obama environment. Perhaps it is ultimately unanswerable, but Somerby doesn’t even think it is worth the attempt.

    ReplyDelete
  7. A lot of people say Biden is a bad candidate but honestly he is pretty qualified for the job, bachelors in history and poli sci, law degree, experience in county govt, 36 yrs in the senate, on the judiciary and foreign relations committees, narcotics control commission, 8 yrs as VP. Unfortunately none of that matters in today's world of politics.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yang is the only chance you idiots have but you're too stupid and myopic to see it.

      Delete
  8. I found K. Harris very capable but very unprepared, just not ready. She got better as she went along. I hope she continues to do good work in the Senate. We have a bring problem in that records now are mostly negatives - plenty to find something, anything to criticize and use to fabricate a narrative. We favor blank slates, ideally those with enough talent to BS their way to the finish line. Obama is now the model.

    ReplyDelete
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