One of the most outrageous parts of the third Democratic debate was that Sen. Kamala Harris was asked only two questions during the time period in which our class watched the debate. At the time of the debate, Harris was at fourth place in the polls. It is absurd that she was only asked two questions! Instead of being asked several questions directly, she had to rely heavily on rebuttals, which she did. Even Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who was last in the polls of the candidates at the debate, was asked more questions than Harris.
A possible reason for Harris’ lack of questions is that she has seen sliding poll numbers for months. According to realclearpolitics.com, as of Oct. 10, Harris was polling at 4.5% and sat behind Mayor Pete Buttigieg who is currently polling at 5%. Harris was polling at her highest in early July at 15.2% and even surpassed Sen. Bernie Sanders for a brief period. While there isn’t one specific issue that points to why she has dropped, her performance in the July debate can be looked at as a possible reason for the decline.
The surge in her numbers in late June and early July can be traced back to her performance in the June 2019 Democratic debate. The website Vox voted Harris as one of the winners of the second debate night in June. The main reason for this was her questioning of former Vice President Joe Biden about working with two senators who built their reputations on segregation in the United States. Her fearlessness to go directly at the leading candidate in the primary showed that she might have what it takes to win the nomination.
Since then however, Harris has been lacking that same fiery aggression she had in the first debate. In the July debate, instead of landing a jab as she did against Biden in the first debate, she took a jab from Rep. Tulsi Gabbard about her controversial record on criminal justice issues. It’s almost as if in the first debate the expectations for her weren’t very high, so when she did something that sparked people’s interest it was surprising and helped her in the polls. Whereas in the second debate, she had higher expectations, which she failed to meet.
While it is hard to determine exactly why Harris was asked only two questions, I think it’s because the public has simply lost interest in her. While she is still polling higher than many of the candidates, I think a lot of people are realizing that the race for the nomination is really between three people (maybe two now depending on how Sanders recovers from his surgery). Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders will win the Democratic nomination for president and everyone else is simply interviewing for a position in one of their cabinets. As for Harris, she is slowly losing her grasp on a race that once looked oh so promising.
— Max McAuliff