(Tom Toles/The Washington Post)

This is Round 23, and I’m Molly Roberts, taking up Christine Emba’s millennial mantle to bring generational justice to our rankings. You’re welcome, Pete Buttigieg.

The Commentary

Who in the world is Kamala Harris?

She’s a California senator, of course. She’s a former prosecutor. She’s a mother (kids, meet Momala). And, most important for our purposes, she’s a top-tier candidate, with poll after poll solidifying her claim.

But who Harris really is, on the level of values and deeply held beliefs and all the other stubborn things that make a person a person, is much harder to pin down. On an end to private insurance, she has flipped and flopped and flipped again. She slammed Joe Biden for his stance on school busing in the ’70s, but then, asked about her own position, she flipped and flopped some more before ending up somewhere awfully near her disgraced rival. Harris even seems to have trouble deciding how she feels about her prosecutor years: liability, or boon for someone who has pledged herself to taking down the country’s predator in chief?

Then again, unabashedly being who you are might be overrated. Just look at “big f-ing deal” Biden, who recently laid himself bare in an impromptu interview when he declared his strategy is to “beat them, without changing the system.” This was only slightly more flattering than his nostalgic reminiscences of working with segregationists.

Sticking to deeply held beliefs can backfire, too. Elizabeth Warren promised not to host high-dollar fundraisers during the primaries — and she hasn’t. But she’s earning some flak for headlining a big-ticket Democratic National Committee event to support the eventual nominee. Never hold yourself to a lofty standard, or others will raise it to infinity.

Mostly, Harris can take comfort in this: It’s much better for people not to know who you really are than not know who you are at all. America bid a halfhearted goodbye this week to someone named Eric Swalwell, and just like that, there was one fewer straight white guy in the game … for a full 21 hours. Hello to Tom Steyer, and congrats to the Democrats on increasing the diversity of the field by one billionaire. Just fodder for another food fight for Momala to shut down in the next debate.

— Molly Roberts

The Ranking

Ranking not showing? Click here.

Position Challenger Change Over Last Ranking
1. Joe Biden UP 2
2. Kamala D. Harris DOWN 1
3. Elizabeth Warren DOWN 1
4. Bernie Sanders
5. Pete Buttigieg
6. Cory Booker
7. Amy Klobuchar UP 1
8. Beto O’Rourke UP 2
9. Julián Castro UP 2
10. Michael Bennet DOWN 1
11. Tim Ryan UP 1
13. (TIE) Stacey Abrams RETURNS TO RANKING
13. (TIE) Tulsi Gabbard ADDS TO RANKING

Falls off ranking: John Delaney, Bill de Blasio, Kirsten Gillibrand, Marianne Williamson

Also receiving votes: Steve Bullock, Delaney, Williamson, Andrew Yang

No votes, but let’s comment anyway: Tom Steyer, Eric Swalwell

Last week’s ranking: Round 22 | Look who’s back on top

Don’t forget to click on the yellow highlighted text above to expand the Ranking Committee’s annotations. Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments. We’ll see you for the next ranking. Until then, know thyself. You might be the only person who does.


Read more on 2020:

Jennifer Rubin: Joe Biden’s big foreign policy speech

Greg Sargent: Trump’s base is not enough, and his own advisers know it

David Byler: Politicians often overlook Asian American voters. They shouldn’t, especially in 2020.

Ed Rogers: Tom Steyer’s desperate quest for attention