The popular enthusiasm for Kamala Harris isn’t quite as timid as it is for Joe Biden—and one may inquire what on earth could be—but it is almost certainly even more dishonest. Harris embarrassed herself as a presidential candidate, squandering the assiduous support she enjoyed in the corporate press (including an article in Politico that effectively declared her the Democratic Party nominee two years in advance) as well as more than forty million dollars in sponsorship money. The former allowed her to escape scrutiny for her autocratic record as the Californian Attorney General despite Lara Bazelon’s best efforts to expose it; the latter evaporated when Tulsi Gabbard relayed part of this bloodstained history to a broader audience and Harris could not even attempt to answer for it. Officially, she shuttered her campaign in December of last year, but it had been a dilapidated heap for several months since, and she was wise to junk the machinery before it failed to collect a single delegate. Her protracted fall from grace is all the more impressive if we accept her self-description, spoken at the start of her downswing, as a “top-tier candidate”.
None of this reads as the description of a viable vice-presidential nominee, but in the current year, when the will of the people is wholly foreign to the democratic process as well as the government to which it gives rise, perhaps it is appropriate for Harris to stand beside Biden, another byproduct of institutional power, and lead the Democratic Party’s presidential ballot. The Party has just eight weeks more to persuade the electorate, the same electorate that abandoned Harris one year ago, to accept her as the second-best possible shepherd of this weary American flock. When we frame the task in these terms, it actually appears to be pretty straightforward, even feasible. Accordingly, the Party is doing everything in its power—of which it possesses plenty—to complicate this effort. To this end, it has selected the most simplistic of all possible endeavors: to make Kamala Harris even more unlikable than she naturally is.
Harris took several meaningful steps in that direction on Sunday, September 6th, when she chatted at some length with Dana Bash of CNN. Admittedly, I don’t watch CNN as often as I should, as I tend to believe I see enough neoliberal propaganda on Twitter; however, this interview will inspire me to pay more attention to that network in the future, as it presents an uncommonly unobscured view of the world as experienced by the bourgeoisie. Consider Bash, whose ex-husband served as the Chief of Staff not only of the CIA but also of the Department of Defense, walking the ghostly lawns of Howard University and having a cheerful conversation with Harris, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Although they are walking outdoors, completely alone in an environment that has been vacated due to the coronavirus, still they are wearing face masks and maintaining a conspicuous distance. The abundance of messaging, instruction, and fearmongering in the opening frame alone could inspire one to make a dangerous drinking game.