‘Voters care about the person and whether they’re three-dimensional and likable’
Liz Mair is a Republican strategist who has worked on campaigns by John McCain, Scott Walker, Roy Blunt, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina and Rick Perry.
People just hate politicians who read as inauthentic — and Kamala Harris has been steadily exuding that more and more since the first Democratic presidential debate. She needs to figure out who she really is by doing an audit of her closest friends and family and the advisers who got her to the Senate — not the ones who have been working with her as VP. That means a lot more people who knew her well in California, like Ace Smith, and not people who have gotten to know her in the nation’s capital. Some of this can happen right now with staff departures and reshuffles already in the works; it’s actually the perfect time.
Then, she needs to lean in to whoever or whatever that Kamala is — warts and all. It may be that people won’t like that version of her, either. But at least they’ll trust that they’re seeing the real her. As it is, she has developed a reputation for shifting with political winds too much — rejecting her background as a tough prosecutor, for example, which with concerns about rising crime might actually help her.
That audit should focus on non-political qualities and abilities, too. People think it’s sexist to say she might do better by guesting on a cooking show and making jerk chicken, but male politicians have gotten a lot of mileage out of cooking and food-related things, too.