The Philistine

They Aimed to Make History. They Got Kamala Harris

Exactly why anyone would want Kamala Harris is something of a mystery. She didn’t marry until she was just shy of her fiftieth birthday. It is, of course, barbarically sexist to comment on a successful woman’s romantic life (just ask Gladys), but in Harris’s case it’s relevant. She got her start in politics at the tender age of twenty-nine when her romantic partner at the time, the sixty-year-old speaker of the California state legislature, appointed her to a high-pay, low-work sinecure on the California Medical Assistance Commission. Nothing to see here; move along. Down with the Patriarchy.

After more than a decade in (appointed) government employment, Harris ran for and won the elected post of San Francisco District Attorney in 2004. Yes, America elects its local prosecutors (as well as its sheriffs, accountants and dog-catchers). In her first two years in office, Harris suspended the use of the death penalty for murder, created a special hate crimes unit, and offered convicted drug dealers the option to study for a degree instead of going to prison. When violent crime spiked, she switched to throwing offenders in jail—and throwing away the key.

Salvatore Babones appears in every Quadrant.
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Harris’s new “tough on crime” persona alienated progressives, but propelled her to state-level office. In 2010, she was elected California’s Attorney General with the endorsement of the state’s two long-time senators (Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer) and her local very-long-time congresswoman (one Nancy Pelosi). With such powerful party stalwarts underwriting her campaign, Harris was able to win a whopping 33.6 per cent of the vote in the Democratic Party primary. Her six male opponents split the remaining two-thirds, leaving Harris in command of the field. Score: Harris 1, Patriarchy 0.

In the ensuing general election, the perennially successful Democratic candidate for everything, Jerry Brown, handily won the governor’s race with a 51–44 victory over the perennially unsuccessful Republican candidate for everything, Meg Whitman. Lower down the ticket, Harris snuck through with a plurality of 46.1 per cent, just pipping her (male) Republican opponent’s 45.3 per cent of the vote. Score: Harris 2, Patriarchy 0.

Now, in American elections, particularly at the state level, most people just pull a big lever that is labelled either “D” or “R”, without paying much attention to the actual names listed under each. In that 2010 California state election, the Democratic Party candidate for governor won by a margin of 1.3 million votes. The Democratic Party candidate for lieutenant governor won by 1.1 million. For secretary of state, by 1.4 million; for state controller, by 1.8 million; for state treasurer, by 2 million; for insurance commissioner, by 1.2 million. Harris won her election by a mere 74,453 votes. For anyone to even notice a down-ticket candidate like Harris was remarkable. That people disliked her enough to specifically vote against her in the midst of a Democratic Party landslide is truly astonishing.

In any well-functioning political party, that election squeaker would have been the end of Kamala Harris’s aspirations for higher office. Like the similarly-loathed Meg Whitman, she might have been made ambassador to Kenya. But Harris was destined (earmarked?) for bigger things. When Barbara Boxer retired from the Senate in 2016, Harris ran for her seat, receiving the endorsements of … Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Jerry Brown, Gavin Newsom, Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Emily’s List and the California Democratic Party itself (yes, in America the parties can officially endorse candidates for their own nominations). The only prominent Democrat who didn’t endorse her was Hillary Clinton. Eight years earlier, Harris had endorsed Obama for the nomination, and we all know who holds a grudge. It isn’t the Patriarchy.

With such high-calibre support, it’s no wonder that Harris won the primary election with a resounding plurality of 37.9 per cent of the vote. To be fair, the California primary system is complicated, and many of those who voted against Harris were actually Republicans. But “The Philistine” is a humour column, and it is under no obligation to be fair. Harris was hated all the way to Washington.

Simply put: no one likes Kamala Harris. No one even feels bad for not liking her. Her boss doesn’t like her; her aides don’t like her; even her Irish terrier doesn’t like her. Harris featured it (no one knows the sex) in a single 2018 Facebook post for National Puppy Day, calling the one-year-old her “office dog”, which implies that she never actually took it home. Now presumably five years old (and hopefully still alive), the dog was never seen or heard from again.

This unpopular but well-connected puppy-hater from San Francisco is the candidate whom the Democratic Party has anointed to “make history” as the first female President of the United States. Yes, President. Not only will Harris make history as the first female President; she will make double-history as the first female President of Colour.

When the Democratic Party establishment united behind candidate Joe Biden in 2020, it wasn’t because they liked him, or thought that he would make a good president. It was to keep the insurgent but surging Bernie Sanders off the ticket and out of the White House. As the Philistines like to say, si cambia il maestro di cappella, ma la musica è sempre quella. Sanders had swept the first three primaries, and his only serious opponents were the “my two dads” McKinsey consultant Pete Buttigieg and a person named Amy Klobuchar. Scared to death that a socialist version of Donald Trump might sweep to power and drain their own particular corner of the swamp, the party elders (and in this case, that term is meant to be taken literally) cut a deal. They agreed to back Biden—but only if he would set up Harris as his successor.

By this point, Harris had already dropped out of the race. But she had been the only African-American woman in it, and there was no way the Democratic Party was going to run two white men at the top of the ticket in 2020. If Biden wanted the nomination, he would have to share it with a woman. But which woman? A Democratic Party grandee named Jim Clyburn saw his chance to answer that question, and he took it.

The next primary on the calendar was in South Carolina, and Clyburn had represented South Carolina in Congress since 1993. The octogenarian African-American was one of the few remaining veterans of the 1960s civil rights movement, and was the African-American kingmaker in a state where African-Americans accounted for more than 60 per cent of the Democratic vote. Clyburn had repeatedly pledged not to endorse a candidate before the South Carolina primaries were decided, but Biden needed help, and Clyburn was in a position to exact a price for that help. His price was Kamala Harris.

With Clyburn’s timely endorsement, Biden swept South Carolina, and one week later the rest of the South. Clyburn duly cashed his chits. He went on national television to urge Biden to select an African-American woman as his running mate, because “African-American women needed to be rewarded for their loyalty”. He might just as well have added “and because if you don’t, you’ll pay for it”. Of course, Biden chose Harris, and he’s been paying for it ever since.

That’s how the Democratic Party got a presidential candidate that few people wanted, paired with a vice-presidential candidate that nobody liked. Biden was simply the “candidate who could beat Trump”; there was no alternative. All of the other contenders—“Red” Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren, Michael “Mini Mike” Bloomberg, Pete “Millennial Mayor” Buttigieg and Amy “Who?” Klobuchar—were fundamentally unelectable. The party faithful wanted a young, female (preferably non-binary) Person of Colour to wave their rainbow flag, but what the party establishment wanted most of all was to beat Donald Trump. The compromise solution was to keep Biden out of sight for a few years, then let him “make history” by resigning. That was the only way to give America the virtue signal it desperately needed but stubbornly refused to elect.

Sixty per cent of Americans think that Joe Biden is unfit to be president, and the other sixty per cent feel the same way about Donald Trump. But all 120 per cent loathe Kamala Harris. No matter; she’ll make double-history all the same. The 2024 election cycle will begin in earnest next March, and Kamala Harris will be running from the Oval Office. It’s no wonder that the Democrats are desperate to see Trump put safely behind bars before the race begins. Trump couldn’t beat an empty podium in today’s America, but he’ll trounce Kamala Harris. Score: Trump 2, Establishment 0.

13 thoughts on “They Aimed to Make History. They Got Kamala Harris

  • Biggles says:

    I understand so little of American politics, (does anyone?), that I am clearly unqualified to comment, but it seems to me that Biden will not see out the rest of his term; the Republicans are talking impeachment and his health is poor. That would give Harris the top job. The only way out of that situation would be to remove Harris by the traditional American method so the Speaker would become President. Am I wrong?

    • lbloveday says:

      If Biden goes, Harris becomes President and Harris chooses her Vice President.
      The most recent example was in August 1974, when Nixon resigned, and Ford was sworn in as his successor, leaving the vice-presidential office vacant. Ford appointed former New York governor Nelson Rockefeller as his vice-president, and he was approved by Congress.
      Thus if Harris goes, the person she appointed VP will become President, assuming Harris lasts the short time necessary for the VP to be confirmed.
      What if Biden goes and Harris appoints HClinton as VP then Harris then does a Jeffrey Epstein? Bingo! Clinton is President.

  • Peter OBrien says:

    Apart from the truly frightening prospect that she might assume the reins sometime in the next two years, Kamala is the best thing about the Biden administration, providing a constant stream of amusing cameos.

  • ianl says:

    Thank you for the entertaining humour, Salvatore B.

    There is a delightful touch of English dryness to your humour. I’ve often wondered how the English became the best in the world at that and concluded it was likely because they have so much to practise on.

    Similarly with you and American politics, I think. Kamala is a perfect example.

  • Sirocco says:

    Perhaps if the 2024 primaries begin in earnest in March next year, and as that is more than half way through Biden’s term so it would not impact on Harris seeking two terms of her own, then that might be the appropriate time for Biden to “make history”?

  • Peter Marriott says:

    Thanks Salvatore. You’ve got an entertaining style of writing keeping things moving at a jolly clip all the time.
    In my eyes Trump could certainly beat an empty podium, particularly with those patriotic voters who really do want a ‘can do’ man in the white house to stand up to the communists of this world.
    As for Harris, based on what I’d read previously about her she shouldn’t have been able to get within a bulls roar of any position of authority….. ever, and the fact that she has tells me that there are plenty of people in the US today foolish enough to vote against the best interests of their country even though they still want to live there.
    Do they really hate it to the extent that they’ll vote for people who don’t care what happens to it, or us for that matter as the US stands tall as our great ally and protector in this part of the world. I can’t know of course, but I still think the majority of Americans love their country enough to vote to put him back in the White House to finish the good job he was doing in his first term. In fact I think they did this at the last election but definite fraud changed things….hopefully that will not happen again.

    • gareththomassport says:

      One is left with either wholesale corruption of the voting process in blue states, or mass stupidity and self- loathing as the possible causes of recent voting outcomes.
      I don’t know which is most frightening.

  • BalancedObservation says:

    Surely her dog likes her.

    We better hope Joe stays vertical till 2024.

  • Sindri says:

    To adapt Bill Hayden, Kamala’s dog would be a shoo-in for the Republicans if she was the Democratic nominee.

  • ArthurB says:

    At present, I think that it doesn’t matter too much who is President, Republicans and Democrats might appear to disagree, and have different policies, but all they do is collude to bring about the destruction of a once-great nation.

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    Thanks Salvatore for the score-keeping rundown on the rise and rise of Kamala Harris. I learned things about her rise from your account that I didn’t know, and it was fun learning them. It explains a lot. She is such a lightweight that I cannot see her as a serious 2024 contender (but I thought that about Biden too).
    I’d like to think Trump could win regardless of who the Democrats put up for the 2024 contest. But the spurious media-created baggage he brings might still pull him down, and the Lord help America then.
    However, it’s hard to deny Trump another run. There could even be a backlash from Trump supporters if his run is denied, and a split Republican vote if Trump went Independent. All is uncertain, but in my heart I think that De Santis might do better, with Trump as backstage adviser. Against that is the huge rally that would certainly surround Trump if he was chosen again as the Republican nominee. I’m hoping the next year might provide better clarity for homspun analysts such as we are here in Australia.

  • 27hugo27 says:

    This would be funny if it weren’t so serious. BTW, whatever happened to Bo, Obama’s prop-a-dog? Can’t imagine big Mike being a dog lover.

    • Max Rawnsley says:

      Peter Schweizer has belled the cat on Harris and other Democrat luminaries, Biden,Warren, Booker and others. Her very early relationship with BO is detailed and includes a remark that would get a conservative cancelled. Her path via elected office, failing to prosecute alleged paedophile despite strong police evidence is worth a read.’Profiles in Corruption’

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