Greetings, all! Catherine Rampell here for Round 43. This holiday season, we Post Pundits are feasting on our least favorite dessert: humble pie.
Let’s say that, back at the start of 2019, you predicted Sen. Kamala D. Harris would prove a less durable candidate than Tulsi Gabbard, Andrew Yang or Marianne Williamson. If so, congrats. You’re smarter than we are.
In the first five installments of the Post Pundit 2020 Power Ranking, Harris topped our charts. In Round Six, she slipped to second place, where she remained for a few weeks before beginning her long, painful slide down the list. Last week, we collectively ranked her in sixth place, and this week, she’s off the rankings entirely, because, well, she ended her campaign.
Which of course means Harris is out while other candidates — so many other candidates, only two of whom are campaign-self-funding billionaires — somehow remain in the race.
In our defense, plenty of other pundits (who shall remain nameless and hyperlink-less) got it wrong, too. Early on, Harris looked like a formidable contender. A biracial lawmaker from a big, diverse, solid-blue state, she distinguished herself last fall during Brett M. Kavanaugh’s contentious Supreme Court confirmation hearings.
She then got some zingers in during the early primary debates. But she struggled to convert those viral moments into real momentum and never really found a resonant message or a consistent policy platform. In fact, the few times she found herself driving a news cycle, those cycles were often about an apparent policy reversal. Branded a “cop” by some and a mere flip-flopper by others, she eventually ran out of the money needed to keep her campaign chugging.
Harris may yet find herself an attractive running mate for the eventual nominee (even Joe Biden, her target in one of those breakout debate moments, suggested he’d consider her for veep). But in the meantime, her candidacy’s demise raises some troubling questions for Democrats, particularly about whom they consider electable.
The party began the primary race with a historically diverse field, only to see candidates of color (such as Harris and Cory Booker) sink in the polls, or in some cases (as with Julián Castro), never really rise. As of this writing, not a single nonwhite candidate has qualified for the December debate.
Or at least, not a single nonwhite candidate who’s still in the race — Harris had made the cutoff before she terminated her campaign.
— Catherine Rampell
Don’t forget to click on the chart’s yellow highlighted text to see the rest of the Ranking Committee’s annotations.
|Position||Challenger||Change Over Last Ranking|
|1.||Joe Biden||UP 2|
|2.||Elizabeth Warren||DOWN 1|
|3.||Pete Buttigieg||DOWN 1|
|6.||Cory Booker||UP 1|
|7.||Michael Bloomberg||UP 1|
|9.||Deval Patrick||RETURNS TO RANKING|
|10.||Hillary Clinton||GUEST APPEARANCE, SURELY|
Falls off ranking: Kamala D. Harris, Tulsi Gabbard
Last week’s ranking: Round 42 | It’s a new ballgame, with Buttigieg right out front
From the Annotations
He endorsed George W. Bush in 2004. I’m not sure how he explains that one if he ever really enters the spotlight.
David Byler, on Michael Bloomberg
It’s hard to write this week because I am seething about not having gone to Vegas last year and bet that Gabbard would last longer in the 2020 race than Harris did.
Charles Lane, on Kamala D. Harris
Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments. We’ll see you for the next ranking. Until then, if you made the Kamala call we didn’t, we’d suggest you hit the slots.
Read more on 2020: