There are still many months and many miles of campaign trail to go before the midterms, but much like the Republicans in 2010, it’s not too soon for the Democrats to begin ginning up their base for the presidential primary to come. Assuming that Donald Trump doesn’t find some way to boost his popularity up out of negative territory, the Democrats feel that he should be easy pickings. (Much as they thought in 2016.) Today, The Hill looks at one of the least surprising names we expect to see in that contest and one who is making little effort to hide her nascent POTUS ambitions. That would be California Senator Kamala Harris.
Sen. Kamala Harris is increasingly positioning herself for a what is expected to be a crowded Democratic primary for the White House in 2020.
The former California attorney general, who is just at the beginning of her second year in the Senate, is taking positions that could endear herself with the Democratic base while allowing her to stand out from a group of Democrats who might seek the progressive mantle.
Harris voted against a Senate immigration bill backed by centrists from both parties earlier this month, waiting until the last minute to break with other liberals such as Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who both backed the measure.
“While this bill would put Dreamers on a pathway toward citizenship, the appropriation of $25 billion for a border wall is a waste of taxpayer money,” she said. “A wall will not secure our border and I remain concerned those billions of dollars may also be used to implement this Administration’s anti-immigrant agenda — one that targets California and its residents.”
The signs are all there. Harris is practically tripping over herself to rush to a television camera every time there’s an opportunity to criticize President Trump and doing so in the loudest, most extreme way possible. And when it comes to the current gun control debate, when she’s not going after Trump she’s describing the NRA as the essence of all evil in the world. You may recall when she quickly got on MSNBC after the Florida shooting to say, “We cannot tolerate a society and live in a country with any level of pride when our babies are being slaughtered.” (Insert here your brief reminder that Harris is fiercely pro-abortion.)
Harris is making use of a natural advantage she has which may serve her well with much of the base now but could spell serious trouble later on. The younger and louder elements of the party don’t want the same old, middle ground politics of the Democratic Party of their parents. They want some far, far left red meat served up in blistering hot takes. Repeal the Second Amendment, open borders… all that socialist goodness. Coming from California, Harris is in no danger of ticking off her own voters acting this way.
But what many of these new, younger liberals seem to fail to realize is that hers is an act which plays well in California, New York City and a couple of other cities… but not so well everywhere else. If you run screaming too far to the left you won’t even be able to carry your primary voters in a lot of flyover country or in the south. And even if you do manage to squeak out a primary win with a platform like that, you’re going to run into a brick wall in the general election. That’s probably exactly the sort of candidate that Donald Trump dreams of running against. (Whereas a Joe Biden candidacy likely keeps him awake at night, though he’d never admit it.)
The other factor to consider is that Harris brings with her the same “closet” problem that Barack Obama had and it showed up constantly after he was elected. She may talk a good game, but when it comes to executive or even legislative experience, she’s pretty much an empty suit. She worked in the law enforcement end of things (an admirable and important job) for most of her career before even running for Attorney General (still not an executive or legislative role) eight years ago. She’s only been in the Senate for one year and two months. Her governing experience is almost nil, though her legislative experience isn’t all that much greater.
Do the Democrats really want to try to elect another candidate who can give a good speech but brings nothing much to the table in terms of proven experience? If so, best of luck to them.