As California politics junkies, we’ve watched as presidential primary polling has fluctuated and recently, Sen. Kamala Harris looks like she’s taken a bit of a dive in the polls.
Mostly, that seems to be attributable to Sen. Elizabeth Warren getting ahead of the pack in calling for President Trump’s impeachment– arguably the best-ever example of adopting a policy position just to curry favor with the base.
But if you’re a right-leaning reporter at DC’s National Journal (check out said reporter’s Twitter feed), it’s evidence of Harris pandering to the base, even though she’s appeared far, far less tempted to do that than has Warren.
Questionable takes are… questionable.
Over to National Journal:
If there was a primary for the most self-destructive presidential candidate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California would be the front-runner of the 2020 field. Instead of leveraging her profile as a pragmatic prosecutor who has distinguished herself in the Senate as a tough litigator of top Trump officials, she’s run a campaign that has embraced seemingly every half-baked idea from the party’s left wing.
Supporting Medicare-for-all legislation that would all but eliminate private health insurance? Check. Decriminalize sex work? On it.Reparations for the descendants of slaves? Let’s study it. Criticize Rep. Ilhan Omar for invoking anti-Semitic tropes that even the Democratic party leadership condemned? Hard pass. Voting rights for the Boston bomber? Let’s talk about it, at least before backtracking the next day.
Her latest policy proposal would penalize businesses that fail to demonstrate gender pay equity, but without contextualizing salary data for merit and experience. “Companies would also be required to report the share of women who are among the company’s top earners, the total pay and total compensation gap that exists between men and women, regardless of job titles, experience and performance,” according to the Associated Press.
The plan combines the heavy hand of government with a mission that’s near-impossible to implement effectively. Harris is trying to compete with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren by arbitrarily and aggressively attacking business, instead of focusing on the more appealing messages of fairness and economic security.
This is curious. If all of the “deep dive into deeply progressive policy” stuff is supposed to be fatal to a candidacy, why have Warren and Harris effectively switched places?
In practice, it’s probably less about supposed policy-pandering being “bad” for Harris and more because Warren’s trumpeting about impeachment has earned her a lot of fresh, free media– and as any good political consultant will tell you, that’s the metric that best correlates with winning a campaign.
Yes, Kamala has been flailing a little bit. But we’re betting that when debate season kicks off, that’s going to change rapidly. You know who usually performs well in debates? Former prosecutors. What’s Harris? A former prosecutor. Stay tuned.