Why are politicians so obsessed with authenticity?

Last and no doubt least is Kamala Harris. The Harris campaign presented her as the contrast candidate. Simply place an articulate, professional black woman next to the apparently rambling Trump and all would be crystal mornings and ripe afternoons once again in America.

In what scriptwriters call a ‘light-hearted moment’ Harris revealed that she used to smoke marijuana when she was at Howard University in the 1980s. These fat zoots were apparently lit in between Harris’s double-major in political science and economics, her stint on the liberal-arts student council, her star turn on the debate team, her mentor programs for local youth and her passionate anti-apartheid activism…

Harris also claimed to have had time to get down to Snoop Dogg and Tupac during her college years. Neither Snoop nor Tupac released a diss track, let alone an album, until after she graduated.

Biden, Warren and Sanders all comfortably lead Harris among black voters. The politician’s quest for authenticity is an attempt to court voters, but more often than not, it courts minor disaster. Authenticity — like any desire for distinguishment — is easily denounced, and even more easily mocked.