Vice President Kamala Harris was her own worst enemy during her failed 2020 presidential campaign, and she continues to be as President Biden’s second-in-command.
After she scored what looked like a knockout punch to Biden’s campaign during the first Democratic presidential primary debate in June 2019, she enjoyed favorable press and a rise in polling numbers. But soon it became apparent that her rise in stature in the large field of candidates would only be temporary.
Her numbers started to sink. Just a few weeks after that standout debate performance, fellow presidential contender Tulsi Gabbard destroyed her in the next debate by pointing out some inconvenient facts about Harris’ time as California’s attorney general.
The combination of Gabbard’s attack, subsequent poor debate performances, and the fact that black voters did not appreciate that Harris insinuated Biden was a racist during that first debate — considering former President Barack Obama trusted him as his vice president for eight years — proved catastrophic for her campaign. She dropped out in December 2019 before the first primary votes were cast.
Though she’s been the recipient of a predictable amount of media fawning during her first six months as vice president, she’s also gotten a fair amount of bad press for which she has no one to blame but herself.
Biden made Harris his point person on the border crisis in March. Over time she began being viewed as more a rhetorical figurehead on the issue, refusing to visit the Texas/Mexico border as the crisis worsened. Instead, she traveled to other parts of the country, giving speeches and limiting media interviews.
She visited the “Northern Triangle” in Central America — Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador — purportedly to get to the “root causes” of the border crisis, but the trip proved disastrous when she grew visibly agitated with questions from the press about when she’d visit the border.
It wasn’t until former President Trump upstaged the Biden administration by announcing in mid-June that he would be taking a trip to the border that Harris made plans to visit. Even then, the city near the southern border she visited, El Paso, was not considered the epicenter of the border crisis, which led to the trip being viewed as a photo op and a way for the Biden administration to “save face” on the pressing issue.
In the midst of all this have been stories leaked to the press that include allegations from former and current staffers that a diva-esque Harris is extremely difficult to work with and has her priorities askew, dating back to her time as attorney general in California.
It’s gotten so bad that there are reports she will not be welcomed as a campaign surrogate for vulnerable Democrats going into the 2022 midterms.
The Hill reported last week that “Harris’ polling numbers are raising questions about how she might be used as Democrats seek to hold on to slim majorities in the House and Senate.” They quoted one Democratic strategist who suggested that “As of right now, I think she has the potential of doing more harm than good for some of these candidates” in tight races.
“No one is coming out and saying she’s doing an amazing job, because the first question would be ‘On what?’” the Hill quoted a Harris ally as saying.
If these views hold, and Biden decides to only be a one-term president, this could spell bad news for her going into the 2024 presidential primary race.
Time will tell, of course, as to how all of this ultimately plays out. But if she continues to be her own worst enemy, the presidential primaries could ultimately prove very embarrassing for her, especially considering vice presidents are usually considered immediate frontrunners for their party’s nomination.
As they say, stay tuned.
Media analyst Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.