The demise of Kamala Harris

By Michael P. Riccards

Another of the many Democrats for president has bit the ugly dust. 

Senator Kamala Harris of California has said she just cannot raise enough money to continue her quest. What she should say is that people don’t give money to those people who are without any real reason except ambition to run for public service. 

Harris is an attractive, personable candidate who has been attorney general from our largest state. But it did not matter. Except for one debate where she made clueless Joe Biden look befuddled, she just could not strike the right tone. She insisted that she would run as a black woman dealing with the needs of black women. But in fact she never understood her self-proclaimed constituency. In fact, most black women voters are Democrats and are loyal to the very Biden she randomly attacked. 

She insisted that she represented the very best of Affirmative Action. She did not tell the public that she was not African American but the daughter of Indian and Jamaican parents. Affirmative Action is really not meant for individuals like her. It is for the true descendants of slaves; in a sense, it is a form of payback for the sins of slavery and Jim Crow. She just was an accidental beneficiary.

In fact, she forgot that one half of the voting population in this country is male, and she totally ignored their needs.  She figured that she could talk the women’s talk and ignore men, but that is stupid racist politics. The campaign chair of her hapless campaign was her sister, and her closest advisers were people who cut their teeth in California politics and its bizarre world of extremist politics.

She never could hit on a theme like making America great. She never spoke to the middle class, and she simply upped the ante by outbidding the ambitious spending plans of the socialist wing of the party. She claimed that she was a temperate attorney general, but in fact she was a tough attorney general in part because her money and votes came from the white rich of San Francisco and Los Angeles. That is a different mindset from the new progressive attorney generals who come across as new and thoughtful.

Still, where is the foreign policy of these Democrats? Where do they stand on Russia and China or the dismantling of NATO? Where does she stand on the Ukraine, except to acknowledge that Trump is using any undesirable he can find in Eastern Europe to help him get re-elected?

There are other women in the race. One is too far left for the centralist party; one claims she got her early money from old boyfriend, and one is a very strange woman who looks like a Russian agent. The fact is that the most accomplished public figure who is a woman is Hillary Clinton. She would have surely made a better president than the incumbent; she was more qualified than her husband, and she was probably the most experienced candidate since Dwight Eisenhower.

Clinton, even if you hate her, stood for something, understood the perils of the Chinese Communists and the Putin Russians and had a clear understanding of Medicare for all or for some of us.  But her defeat was so demoralizing that she has fallen out of favor in a party that needs to stop the Trumpite Revolution.  So we are left with second and third stringers, not just among women, but among the males — too old , too dull, too inexperienced and too naïve. 

In 1789, the United States had three million people, and we produced Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison and a host of fine characters. Now we have 320 million, and we are governed by dullards. Somehow we need a new infusion of immigrant blood to set us right.

Michael P. Riccards is president of the American Public Policy Institute and the author of 30 books including his two-volume history of the presidency, The Ferocious Engine of Democracy, and the recently published “Woodrow Wilson as Commander-in-Chief.”

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