Former prosecutor and California attorney general Kamala Harris has dropped out of the presidential race. The senator made her decision on December 3rd, 2019, after months of low polling numbers and a massive loss of momentum. The major problem with these low numbers was that Harris lost tons of donors. By Thanksgiving, Harris had drained most of her campaign funding, making it almost impossible to even place ads in Iowa, which hosts the first primary of the year. Not being able to even place a couple of ads in Iowa ultimately led Harris to conclude that her lack of financial resources would not allow her to finish her presidential campaign.
When Harris first launched her campaign back in January of 2019, she was a promising candidate. Harris was able to garner tons of publicity as the second African American woman to ever serve in the Senate. Her polls soared in June when she attacked former Vice President Joe Biden at the June Democratic Debates. She criticized Biden for his age-old anti-busing policy and his inability to respond became a highlight of the night. On July 1st, right after the debate, a CNN poll showed that Harris’s numbers went from 8% up to 17%, almost overtaking Joe Biden. However, after a string of mediocre debates, the most recent CNN poll reported that Harris was not even above 3%.
To my supporters, it is with deep regret—but also with deep gratitude—that I am suspending my campaign today.
But I want to be clear with you: I will keep fighting every day for what this campaign has been about. Justice for the People. All the people.https://t.co/92Hk7DHHbR
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) December 3, 2019
So how did Harris fall?
In the second democratic debate, Harris’s prosecutor and attorney general record got the better of her. Both Gabbard and Biden fired shots back at her about her prosecution record, and Harris was barely able to respond. Gabbard accused Harris of blocking evidence to free an innocent man, and holding tons of marijuana users while laughing when asked if she had ever done marijuana. Although both of these claims had some flaws, they did paint the general picture of Harris’s past with accuracy. Harris refused to pass a bill that would require her office to independently investigate police shootings, which was a major bill progressives were trying to pass. She also wouldn’t endorse forcing police to wear body cameras at all times.
Sending my best wishes to @KamalaHarris, her family & supporters who have campaigned so hard. While we disagree on some issues, we agree on others & I respect her sincere desire to serve the American people. I look forward to working together on the challenges we face as a nation
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) December 3, 2019
At a time when police violence was a common topic everywhere, her unwillingness to act already hurt her ability to appeal to African American voters. Harris, a candidate who prized her African American heritage, was unwilling to pass a bill that was trying to help African Americans stay safe. African Americans are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than their white counterparts. Her inability to act on police brutality would also explain her dwindling support among African American voters.
But Harris’s prosecutor record doesn’t end there, and her unpopularity only grows deeper. The democratic party has moved into trying to create a fairer, less racially biased prison system. However, Harris, who claimed that she was a progressive prosecutor, was nowhere near fair. When George Gage was charged with sexually assaulting his daughter in 1996, Harris, then a prosecutor, actually did block evidence, including reports that Gage’s daughter lied repeatedly to law enforcement. Although lower authorities repeatedly tried to free Gage, Harris was unwilling to back down on the case she won. Gage is still serving time in prison.
Before Kamala Harris was a Senator, she kept an innocent man in prison.
One petition regarding her abuse of power received over 130,000 signatures.
How many of you knew about this case?
— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) December 4, 2019
More examples of Harris’s willingness to block evidence can be found in Daniel Larson’s case and Johnny Baca’s conviction. In both cases, the men had severe evidence that they were both innocent, but Harris wasn’t willing to release either from prison. It took hard work from the media and public outcry to force Harris to change her mind.
And then there’s the issue Tulsi Gabbard was talking about during the debates: Kevin Cooper. His trial was severely biased and impacted by his race (African American). Harris was unwilling to let him even try DNA testing. As leading attorney general, instead of helping seek justice, Harris did nothing but brush justice to the corner. Cooper was allowed to DNA test and is awaiting results, still on death row.
Then, to make matters even worse, the increasingly pro-marijuana party was faced with Harris, a candidate who was very firm with marijuana. Gabbard’s claim that Harris laughed about legalizing marijuana is true. Even though she now supports marijuana, when Harris was attorney general, over 1,500 marijuana users were sentenced harshly in prison.
Her contradictory behavior didn’t end there. Harris chose to run on a criminal justice reform system, which involved ending the death penalty and easing incarceration. Her plan doesn’t line up with her behavior as attorney general, where she supported keeping people on the death penalty and was notorious for longer sentences. Harris wouldn’t even approve a bill that allowed for shorter time sentences on misdemeanor crimes.
High rates of incarceration are typically biased towards African Americans, and the legal system has been tainted by race. Harris, who needed a strong African American support base, had many turning away and pointing at her prosecution record as a main reason. Vice President Joe Biden picked up most of the votes from African American voters after Obama’s extremely successful presidential period.
Ultimately, Harris’s campaign was just too confusing. Her roundabout views and contradictory past led voters to think they couldn’t trust her, and her record on criminal justice didn’t line up with the image she tried to create on her campaign.
Don’t worry, Mr. President. I’ll see you at your trial. https://t.co/iiS17NY4Ry
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) December 3, 2019
But Harris’s drastic exit from the field was still unexpected, judging that she was only one of seven candidates who had (as of December 3rd) qualified to the democratic debates in December. While she is dropping out, Harris is planning to return back to her Senate seat in time for the impeachment trials, so she’ll still be in the political picture.
Featured Image via Kamala Harris