Kamala Harris fades away. Her best shot: Running mate

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Senator Kamala Harris gives a thumbs down as she speaks during the 2020 Democratic U.S. presidential debate in Houston, Texas, U.S., September 12, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake

NEW YORK – For Sen. Kamala Harris, it’s like she fell off a precipice wide awake. One moment on top, enjoying, surveying the landscape of America, plotting and planning how she could change its ‘contours’ with grand reforms. The next moment, at the bottom of a chasm so deep that even Alex Honnold might fail to climb back.

For Harris, who when she got into the Democratic primaries seemed to have ticked off all the box of credentials to be the first female President of the United States of America, the fall from grace of supporters has been rapid. Her change in fortunes is as unforgiving as the fall season, when green leaves turn to dust almost overnight.

As early as July, Harris was the top Democratic contender in the upcoming March 5 primaries in her home state of California. She was beating Sens. Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren in Iowa polling. Today, she’s at a devastating low of 8 percent in California – a fall of 50%. RealClearPolitics has her polling at 3.3%, not even in the top tier of candidates in the national reckoning.

In New Hampshire, Harris, who in the summer was polling in the double digits, has now been almost obliterated, with a fleeting base of only 4.7%. Mayor Pete Buttigieg is polling higher. Even in Nevada and South Carolina, Harris has fallen to below 6%, reported the Washington Examiner. In South Carolina, in fact, she’s at 3%.

A separate poll in the summer, by UC Berkeley, had then found that 43 percent of Californians likely to participate in the state’s 2020 primary were considering Harris, compared to 45 percent for Sanders, 46 percent for Biden and 68 percent for Warren, reported the Sacramento Bee. Those numbers seem like a mirage now.

CNN reported this week that new California poll numbers come as Harris’ campaign is restructuring its leadership and attempting to streamline its decision-making. After stumbling through a fog of confusion about her position on the single-payer ‘Medicare for All’ proposal, she is moving her Senate chief of staff, Rohini Kosoglu, and senior adviser Laphonza Butler into top leadership positions within the campaign.

Washington Examiner columnist Tiana Lowe has already written Harris’ campaign epitaph. In a piece headlined ‘Kamala’s Kollapse’, Lowe wrote, ‘with her fundraising slowing and polls tanking, her 2020 hopes are done. The brightest stars burn the fastest. Just as quickly as her moment came, it’s over.’

Harris’ troubles are not over as yet. Even as she is on a downward spiral in her presidential campaign, criticism for even the role of Attorney General she takes great pride in, is taking a huge bashing.

A new book by Pulitzer Prize-nominated reporter Aaron Glantz challenges Harris’ claim that she was an unrelenting adversary of big banks and mortgage lenders, and a champion of consumers, arguing that Harris not only allowed Steve Mnuchin’s OneWest bank to get away with foreclosing on tens of thousands of state homeowners, but then tried to bury the evidence, reported Politico.

The book, titled “Homewreckers: How a Gang of Wall St. Kingpins, Hedge Fund Magnates, Crooked Banks and Vulture Capitalists Suckered Millions of Out of Their Homes and Demolished the American Dream,’’ was published this week by Custom House.

It posits that a group of Wall Street moguls including Trump Cabinet appointees Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross, as well as White House insiders like Steve Schwarzman and Tom Barrack, took advantage of “a rigged system” to transfer billions of dollars from individual homeowners into their own pockets during the Great Recession, the report said.

“The answer is all of these officials screwed up and dropped the ball — and hid it. The time period when all this homewrecking occurred was during the Obama presidency, and when AG’s like Kamala Harris were on the job,” Glantz said. “It happened on her watch. And she’s never been really forced to tell the other story — and wrestle with the truth of what happened…”

The Los Angeles Times also pointed out, that despite Harris’ unique heritage with Indian American and African American roots, California’s high rate of incarcerating people of color ‘goes a long way in explaining the trouble she has had selling her candidacy to black voters nationwide. In California and many other states, racial disparities in imprisonment have intensified resentments of what many see as deeply ingrained discrimination in America’s criminal justice system.’

The Times report added: ‘In the 2020 presidential race, the disproportionate imprisonment of African American men has become a major issue, and it’s posing an especially big challenge for Harris, California’s first black U.S. senator. She is counting on strong support from African Americans. But many black voters are wary of her 27 years as a prosecutor enforcing laws that sent African Americans to prison.’

Even as her campaign is in shambles, Harris continues to strive to raise her stock with working class voters. The Gazette reported that Harris has now proposed a cap on child care costs, of 7 percent of a family’s income, if elected president – one of several plans in her Children’s Agenda released this month – as well as promised six months of paid family leave, an end to juveniles being charged as adults and a social worker and nurse at every school.

In an interview to Mother Jones, Harris has also promised to prosecute fossil fuel companies, hold them accountable, for misleading the public about climate change.

Back in May, Harris had ruminated confidently that she could envision having Biden as her running mate in 2020.

Now, her best shot to stay in the limelight this election season and as a future White House prospect would be for Biden, or whomsoever gets the nod in the Democratic primaries, to take her under his or her wing as a running mate.

(Sujeet Rajan is Executive Editor, Parikh Worldwide Media. Email him: sujeet@newsindiatimes.com Follow him on Twitter @SujeetRajan1)

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