OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Former Senator and now Vice President Kamala Harris isn’t having a good week.
Amid the surge in illegal immigrants at the U.S. southern border, and her continued struggle to control the situation, Harris now has to also contend with internal dysfunction within her own office – and some Democrat insiders say that Harris will not be welcomed as a campaign surrogate for Democrats seeking reelection in the upcoming 2022 midterms.
As detailed in Red State, Harris failed to place highly among other presidential hopefuls during the Democratic primaries ahead of Biden’s eventual nomination.
“Despite the fact that her first 2019 primary debate performance where she lobbed one staged attack after another at Joe Biden was wildly cheered by the media, it didn’t take long for her rising star to come crashing down to earth,” Red State’s Stacey Matthews writes.
Within weeks, Harris’ numbers plummeted, and then-Rep. Tulsi Gabbard delivered the “knockout punch” against Harris at the second primary debate, prompting Harris’ poll numbers to decline even further.
Indeed, polls that summer showed a majority of black and female voters had failed to warm up to her. By December 2019, Harris left the race before the first primary votes were even cast.
The next summer, Biden picked Harris as his vice-presidential nominee, ahead of other hopefuls including Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, both of whom were widely celebrated in the mainstream press.
Abrams, in particular, received support from activist circles for her “get out the vote” initiatives in Georgia and elsewhere.
As Red State stipulates, Biden picked Harris after months of being pressured to select a black, female Democrat to fill the role of his second-in-command.
Enter 2021, when Harris’ mediocrity has once again reared its ugly head, from her incapability to handle the border crisis to the numerous reports from within her own office from former and current staffers that a notoriously “divaesque” Harris is hard to work with and does not have her priorities in check.
As detailed in Politico, Harris’ office has been described as “not a healthy environment,” with “dysfunction inside the VP’s office.”
Politico reported in June:
In interviews, 22 current and former vice presidential aides, administration officials and associates of Harris and Biden described a tense and at times dour office atmosphere. Aides and allies said Flournoy, in an apparent effort to protect Harris, has instead created an insular environment where ideas are ignored or met with harsh dismissals and decisions are dragged out. Often, they said, she refuses to take responsibility for delicate issues and blames staffers for the negative results that ensue.
While much of the ire is aimed at Harris’ chief, two administration officials said the VP herself also bears responsibility for the way her office is run. “It all starts at the top,” said one of the administration officials, who like others requested anonymity to be able to speak candidly about a sensitive matter.
In the light of these revelations, Capitol Hill insiders say that Harris will not be welcomed as a campaign surrogate for Democrats in the upcoming 2022 midterms.
The Hill reports:
“As of right now, I think she has the potential of doing more harm than good for some of these candidates,” said one Democratic strategist. “My sense is she’ll probably raise a lot of money and maybe she’ll go to some specific districts, but they’ll have to be really strategic with her.”
“She doesn’t have the standing at this moment to go to a lot of these tighter districts,” the strategist added.
No one is coming out and saying she’s doing an amazing job, because the first question would be ‘On what?’” acknowledged one Harris ally. “She’s made a bunch of mistakes and she’s made herself a story for good and bad.”
“I don’t think someone like Mark Kelly would want her anywhere around him,” the Harris ally said.
Harris’ star is on the verge of burning out.
Despite the plum features, she’s gotten from fashion magazines and hype for being the first Black female veep, Harris lost her luster due to her own failure to achieve any results.
There’s only so long one can ride on the identity politics train before it derails.