Amateur Hour: Kamala Disappears in SC?

AP Photo/Abbie Parr

Just how has Joe Biden’s first command decision for his presidency worked out? Biden selected Kamala Harris as his running mate almost four years ago to pay off progressives disenchanted with Biden’s old-time machine politics, and also to appeal to black and women voters who had demanded a younger and more “diverse” ticket. Harris supposedly delivered on all counts, plus showed Biden’s commitment to the future of the party and its promises for diversity.


An endless diet of word salads later, Harris barely shows up as a blip in the campaign. She’s so outside the loop, in fact, that Harris gets a single mention in yesterday’s deep dive by NBC News into Biden’s sinking fortunes among black voters.  James Clyburn is trying to revive Biden’s fortunes ahead of the official Democrat primary this weekend, but black voters are slipping away:

Now, polling shows that young Black voters are peeling away from Biden in numbers that worry Democratic officials. Clyburn, for his part, sounds indignant. …

Of young Black voters who’ve grown disenchanted with Biden, Clyburn said: “I want them to stand in front of me and tell me they will support that [Trump’s record] over Joe Biden’s record.”

NBC News polling in 2023 found that Black voters overall favored Biden over Trump by 73% to 17%. But when it came to voters under the age of 34, the margin shrank. Among that slice of the Black electorate, Biden’s support fell to 60%; Trump’s rose to 28%. In 2020, Biden won 87% of Black voters, including 89% of Black voters under 29 and 78% of those 30 to 44.

Clyburn is an important ally for Biden, especially in South Carolina, so NBC’s focus on the congressman is understandable. But what is Kamala Harris doing to win the younger voters of color in South Carolina, the constituency she was chosen to deliver? NBC News gives her a single mention, lumping her in with Democrats “fanning out” to stoke support. What did Harris do? Er


Democrats are fanning out in hopes of swaying young hearts and minds. Vice President Kamala Harris turned up at a University of South Carolina women’s basketball team practice earlier this month and exchanged high-fives with the players.

Kamala Harris’ singular contribution to the South Carolina campaign effort was to … high-five a few college basketball players? At a practice?

Yeah, that’ll rally thousands of young voters!

Four years later, it’s clear to everyone that Biden made a horrible mistake in selecting Harris as his running mate — and now they’re stuck with her. I’ve referred to this as The Kamala Conundrum, but Charlie Spiering has another word for it: predictable. In his new book Amateur Hour: Kamala Harris in the White House, Charlie details her rise in California politics in the “failing up” model, her exposure as a lightweight in the Senate, and her disastrous 2019 presidential primary campaign in which she blew a nomination that the party had all but gift-wrapped for her.

Charlie and I discuss Amateur Hour and the Kamala Conundrum in my latest Ed Morrissey Show podcast:

A few highlights from the unedited AI-supplied transcript:

  • “You look in any comment section of any Kamala article and there’s lots of really crude jokes about Willie Brown. Well, taking taking an investigative look at it, what is what is the truth of their relationship and how did he help her to achieve this skyrocketing, uncanny ability to skyrocket up into the into California politics?”
  • “Certainly in her fight against Kavanaugh, she was swinging wildly and really losing her temper a lot behind the scenes. But at the same time, she was kind of auditioning because she had clearly wanted this to be her moment in the spotlight. But a lot of it fell flat. And what was funniest is that going back and looking at those Senate hearings, the Kamala moments, at one time she tries to shoehorn the whole narrative of “that little girl was me” into the Kavanaugh hearings.
  • “I was surprised to find how many Democrats in D.C. Really don’t like her or don’t care for her. And they’re certainly not going to stick out their neck and defend her. They really can’t really criticize her though, because the way the Democratic Party is now, you criticize a woman of color for anything and you’re automatically a sexist and a racist. So there’s a huge behind the scenes, just everyone’s trying not to talk about it, but it’s so glaringly there.”

Be sure to watch it all, and pick up a copy of Amateur Hour. And remind everyone that a vote for Biden is really a vote for the Kamala Presidency.

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