Democrats worry Kamala Harris won't cut it as the future of the party (including Sen. Warren)

AP Photo/Abbie Parr

There aren’t many things that Democrats and Republicans agree about these days but one of the few on which there seems to be general accord is that Kamala Harris is not a credible presidential candidate. Today the Washington Post published a story for which they spoke to more than a dozen Democrats who are worried about VP Harris’ role in the party’s future. The piece opens with an on-the-record comment from former Cobb County Democratic leader Jacquelyn Bettadapur:


Many Democrats, Bettadapur said, “don’t know enough about what she’s doing” — and, she added, “it doesn’t help that she’s not [that] adept as a communicator.”

Such concerns about Harris’s political strength were repeated often by more than a dozen Democratic leaders in key states interviewed for this story, some speaking on the condition of anonymity to convey candid thoughts. Harris’s tenure has been underwhelming, they said, marked by struggles as a communicator and at times near-invisibility, leaving many rank-and-file Democrats unpersuaded that she has the force, charisma and skill to mount a winning presidential campaign…

“Every fiber in my body wants her to be president; everything I’ve ever fought for is for someone like her to be president,” said one South Carolina Democratic strategist who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of damaging professional relationships. “I think she’s a good person with a good heart who can lead the country. But I don’t know that the people who have to make that happen feel that way right now. I don’t know that she has what it takes to get over the hump in our present environment.”…

Broader doubts about Harris, Democrats say, largely fall into two categories. Some party members fear that Americans are simply not willing to elect a woman of color as president, especially given the racism and sexism they see emerging in recent years. Others worry that Harris herself lacks the political skills to win a national race.

We had a black president for 8 years. Clearly there are plenty of Americans willing to elect a black candidate. What we haven’t had is a woman president and some will point to Hillary’s loss in 2016 as proof the country isn’t ready.


Maybe there’s some truth to that but it also seems to me that Hillary was a particularly disliked figure on the right with a long history in national public life going back to 1992. It was relatively easy to drive up her negatives. And obviously the email scandal seemed to confirm her nature as a secretive and dishonest person. And having Slick Willie as potentially the country’s first “First Gentleman” was pretty awkward. Hillary was a tougher sell than Democrats like to admit.

Kamala Harris isn’t a tough sell, she’s a non-starter. Nothing she’s done in the past two years would make anyone think she’s ready to be president. On the contrary, she’s done lots of things that make the case she’s out of her depth. It’s a oft-repeated gag online that Kamala Harris always sounds like the kid who is giving a book report on a book she didn’t read.

Contrary to what I think is pretty self-evident (she’s not qualified in any sense) the Post story contains some Democratic wishcasting along the lines of if only she were more visible she’d be more popular. I’m pretty sure that’s the opposite of the truth. She’s not out there because every effort she’s made has been a major or minor failure. Her staff and the White House seem to have wisely concluded the best way to help her is to keep her from making any news at all.

And on top of the competence problem, there’s the staff turnover problem. There have been so many departures from her office just since she became VP that it’s hard to remember them all. Here’s a partial list I created last year.


There have been more departures since then. And these folks aren’t leaving because the genuinely want to spend more time with their families. We’ve had several stories in the past two years suggesting Harris’ office is a “toxic” workplace. One December 2021 story from the Post reported:

Staffers who worked for Harris before she was vice president said one consistent problem was that Harris would refuse to wade into briefing materials prepared by staff members, then berate employees when she appeared unprepared.

“It’s clear that you’re not working with somebody who is willing to do the prep and the work,” one former staffer said. “With Kamala you have to put up with a constant amount of soul-destroying criticism and also her own lack of confidence. So you’re constantly sort of propping up a bully and it’s not really clear why.”

Another Cobb County Democratic leader told the Post, “There are some people in our party who are saying, ‘We already have hurdles. Let’s not create more.’” That’s the reality. Kamala Harris is her own worst enemy and when they look at her objectively, Democrats know it.


One of the Democrats who clearly sees it is Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Last week she was asked about Kamala Harris remaining VP if Biden runs again in 2024. As you can see, she refused to say that Biden should stick with her. Ouch! Just ouch.

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