We’ve had a handful of candidates drop out of the presidential primary so far, but about the only one anybody expected anything from was former Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke. For a time, he was the darling of the Democratic Party based on his strong challenge against incumbent Ted Cruz. After that bid failed, many urged the Texan to aim a little higher.
Yet his campaign never caught traction and he dropped from the race.
One person many expected to see make a splash, though, was California Senator Kamala Harris. And, to be fair, for a while, she was making a splash. she was in a dead heat with Bernie Sanders at the number two position in the primaries, a position well without striking distance of the nomination.
That was then. This is how she’s making a splash now.
Kamala Harris dropped her presidential campaign on Tuesday after months of failing to lift her candidacy from the bottom of the field — a premature ending for a California senator once heralded as a top-tier contender for the nomination.
Harris told aides of her intentions in an all-staff call. A person familiar with the call said she sounded distraught. While Harris had qualified for the December debate in her home state, she was running dangerously low on cash — lacking the resources to air TV ads in Iowa — and her staff was gripped by long-running internal turmoil.
Still, the news came as a shock to some of her biggest supporters. Just as Harris was announcing the news internally, a super PAC had cleared more than $1 million in TV ads in Iowa to boost her struggling campaign. The ad, which argued she was the best-equipped candidate to take on Trump, was canceled.
Harris is yet another in the line of presidential candidates who tried to make a stand on gun control, only for it not to garner the support they thought it would. In particular, Harris vowed to sign executive orders to create legislation if Congress failed to act to her satisfaction. While she likely thought that would win the day, it failed to resonate with the electorate.
Part of the issue with Harris stems from her role as California Attorney General. As the Democrats are very touchy about issues relating to marijuana prosecution and prosecution in general, a former AG wasn’t likely to garner a great deal of support. This became clear when Harris took a serious hit after Rep. Tulsi Gabbard pummeled her on the topic.
Ironically, though, that very issue may have helped her in the general election as many Americans aren’t fans of the illicit drug trade and aren’t partial to avoiding prosecution for offenders, even of laws they may disagree with.
Regardless, now Harris is out of the race. She won’t be the last, though, not by a longshot.
Now the speculation begins as to who will be next to drop out. The race is populated by a number of no-name candidates such as Andrew Yang and Marianne Williamson, but there are also candidates like Gabbard and Sen. Cory Booker who are failing to make inroads. Booker, in particular, has dropped hard over the course of the race, though he never really challenged the frontrunners like former Vice President Joe Biden or Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Will he be the next to fall?
Regardless, fewer candidates means support can begin to galvanize behind a single candidate, which also means President Trump can begin campaigning against his likely opponent while that opponent still has to win his own race.
It should be interesting to watch.