A new poll from CNN finds that Kamala Harris is supported by only 5 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. That’s down 12 points from less than two months ago. I knew Kamala Harris would lose ground after the last debate, but I didn’t expect anything nearly this dramatic.
Biden is well on top according CNN’s poll. He comes in at 29 percent. I’m sure he’d like to be 10 points higher, where CNN’s polling had him back in April. However, his support in the latest poll equals the combined total of Bernie Sanders (15 percent) and Elizabeth Warren (14 percent).
Female candidates perform poorly in this latest survey. Combined, they are backed by only 22 percent of respondents. Men are backed by 60 percent. African-American candidates have the support of 7 percent.
Harris struck me as a good option for Democrats hoping to defeat Trump with someone other than Joe Biden, whose new-found “progressivism” may be subject to doubt. Harris is “progressive” without being so hardcore as to scare voters the way Sanders and Warren might. She’s also more attractive than either of these two, and seemed capable, after the first debate, of going toe-to-toe with President Trump.
But the second debate exposed her less than progressive record as a prosecutor. On health care, she seemed to walk too fine a line between socialism and Obamacare. And her problems defending herself from Tulsi Gabbard’s attack raised questions about how she would handle on onslaught from Trump.
Her main problems, though, stem from her time as a prosecutor. I think they are symptomatic of problems that Democrats will have running for president if they were actually in charge of something governmental.
There was a time when running something governmental, as opposed to being a legislator, appeared to be an advantage in a presidential run. State Houses were a fertile ground for successful presidential candidates.
But that was before the Democratic Party turned sharply to the left. Now, the things one must do as an elected state official, such as prosecuting criminals, are likely to upset the left.
I’m not denying that Harris was at times an overzealous prosecutor. But she would probably be in trouble even if she had limited herself to the proper amount of zealousness.
With Harris stuck at 5 percent, along with Pete Buttigieg who governs a city, the three poll leaders are Senators or former Senators. I don’t count Biden’s vice presidential days as running anything. Nor should Sanders’s time as mayor of Burlington, Vermont 30 years ago count for much. (As for Hillary Clinton, the most recent Democratic nominee, her Senate time caused fewer woes than her time running the State Department).
Senators have to vote on potentially divisive issues. These days, though, the voting is almost entirely symbolic and strictly along party lines. It’s not that difficult for Democratic members of Congress to stay on the good side of the base, and hasn’t been since the Iraq war vote more than 16 years ago.
This might change if a Democrat like Warren becomes president and pushes a radical agenda, as she would do. But for now, I think having been in Congress, rather than having run anything governmental, is an advantage in presidential politics, especially for Democrats.