Kamala Harris's Identity Ticket
Now that first-term Senator Kamala Harris has formally announced for the presidency in 2020, she has to be considered the odds-on favorite to win the Democrat nomination. This stems not from anything in Harris’s relatively slight résumé, other than her “identity” and a hard-left stand on most issues. Harris checks almost all the critical boxes. Barring a particularly toxic skeleton in the closet or a major campaign error, she will likely end up President Trump’s opponent in 2020.
Harris identifies as both an African-American (her father is Jamaican) and Indian-American (her mother hails from the subcontinent.) Being half Native American and gay would be a bit better, but among the current crop of possible Democrat candidates, none identify better as far as Democrats are concerned.
A couple decades ago, making a solid prediction on nothing more than identity would have be laughable, but not anymore. Identity is clearly the first consideration in the Democrat nominating process, something made abundantly clear by the positions and problems of the announced candidates that preceded Harris, those considering a run, and those that might stay out because of it -- yes, I’m speaking of you, Joe Biden.
A few months ago, Elizabeth Warren publicized the disappointing (for her) results of a DNA test which she hoped would prove her Native American bona fides. I assumed that she publicized the result (which showed she probably had fewer Native American genes than the average American) to clear the decks for a presidential run. That is, she was smart enough to understand her prior claims to Native American ancestry would be a problem, and this was a way to get the issue out of the way. To make the matter “old news” in the Clintonian tradition of ignoring past foibles.
I was wrong. Warren has done no such thing, and if anything, has doubled down on her ludicrous claim to Native American ancestry. Among Democrats, it is better to identify, however ridiculously, as a minority, than not. As just another elderly, privileged white woman, Warren clearly sees no chance of winning the Democrat nomination, and she’s right.
For this reason nobody actually thinks that Kristen Gillibrand has even a microscopic chance of gaining the nomination. This article from the liberal FiveThirtyEight website purports to say how she could win in the headline, and then demonstrates it’s virtually impossible. The fairly universal assumption is that she is angling for attention, a cabinet position, or VP at the very best.
Similarly, Harris’ timing is no accident. It comes just as the Tulsi Gabbard campaign appears to floundering, virtually stillborn.
Gabbard presented Harris’ main identity contender, a woman of Samoan-American background whose mother, though evidently Midwestern white woman, is a practicing Hindu, a religion Gabbard claims to have taken up. As a polytheisitic Samoan-American woman raised in very liberal Hawaii (what other famous American hails from there, I wonder?) Gabbard posed a real threat to Harris. While much has been made as well of Gabbard’s limited military experience, which might have helped in a general election, Democrats don’t care. They overwhelmingly voted for cute-ditzy liberal Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema, over fighter-pilot conservative Martha McSally. No, Gabbard’s identity was Harris’s problem.
But who would have figured that Gabbard grew up in a “socially conservative” household where she admits she was “…raised to believe that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.” That was her excuse for not being “woke” on gay rights any earlier than 2004 when she opined that the Democrat agenda should not be hamstrung by a “…small group of homosexual extremists.” Barack Obama didn’t get woke on that issue until sometime later himself (2012), but the problem with being woke, is that there is always someone more awake than you, and Democrats don’t want a president no more woke on gay issues than the last one.
Gabbard’s campaign is hemorrhaging blood on the water, and Harris’ well-timed announcement will turn it to chum. Gosh Tulsi, we hardly knew ya.
It’s hard to see any other Democrat matching Harris’ identity bona fides. Plus, nobody’s going to get to her left and she’s combative, which is seen as necessary to take on Trump.
Now it’s possible that some old gray-haired Democrats with names like Pelosi, Schumer, and Biden might reasonably worry whether middle America is ready for Hurricane Harris. They clearly see the 2020 election against the hated Trump as Democrats’ to lose, and Harris is unlikely to win back the formerly Democrat working-class constituencies Trump won in 2016. Not so much because of her identity -- though that still will present a problem for some -- but because she is a radical California leftist, who will work to demolish whatever economic recovery we’ve had under the current President, and try to “left coast” the rest of the nation, on everything from guns to LGBTQIAPK.
The nomination is hers to lose, and Republicans should not dismiss her or think Trump will find her an easy foil.
Don’t know what LGBTQIAPK means? You may need to by 2021.