February 7, 2019

60-40 NATION:

Kamala Harris, Frontrunner: She's got money, a good staff, and lots of TV time. She's also not bad at Twitter. (LIZ MAIR  FEBRUARY 7, 2019, The Bulwark)

Harris is also garnering the kinds of attacks already that suggest her opponents--within her party and outside of it--see her as a major threat. Most specifically, she has already become the target of new "birther" attacks. After the Obama and Ted Cruz birther experiences of 2008 and 2016, respectively, that feels like a solid indicator that opponents feel the need to discredit her straight out of the gate.

But the nature of the attacks also helps point back to her personal background, as the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants. To be clear, I don't believe the famed "black-brown coalition" that Obama assembled and which helped propel him to two presidential wins voted for him because of his mixed-race heritage or skin color. But I do believe his status as a younger, charismatic, non-white guy may have helped him get an extra look from minority voters, who then liked what they saw. A lot.

Harris can  replicate this, and in 2020, it may matter more than ever. African-American women have arguably been a deciding factor in swinging races in Alabama (where 98 percent of them voted for Sen. Doug Jones), Virginia (where 91 percent voted for Gov. Ralph Northam) and New Jersey (where 94 percent voted for Gov. Phil Murphy), all according to exit polls.

Harris' campaign slogan, "For the People" both strikes a populist tone (appropriate, given the current mood of the most die-hard Democratic voters) and taps into her record as a prosecutor, a job that naturally associates itself with toughness.

That, in turn, seems to be a personal quality that a lot of women, including African-American women, both empathize with and prioritize--but also one that voters disenchanted with Trump  (and God knows that's African-American women, of whom about 90 percent disapprove)--are likely to want in a Democratic nominee.

Yes, critics--particularly concern-trolling #MAGA-types--will say the Democratic Party shouldn't, and isn't going to bite on an Obama-redux: a Senate newbie, of mixed-race heritage and a darker skin tone, from a very liberal state.

But the fact is, Obama won the presidency twice, created a blueprint that can potentially be followed again, and Democrats want the White House back bad enough they may not want to get super-creative in forging a pathway to it.

Her politics guarantee hysteria from the Left and her ethnicity and gender from the Right.  It's the perfect place to be.

Posted by at February 7, 2019 6:31 PM