Kamala Harris 2020

News, Analysis and Opinion from POLITICO

  1. 2020 elections

    New York power set comes off the sidelines to back Biden

    Top Democratic donors in New York are lining up behind Biden after weighing their options through 2019.

    Joe Biden is locking down support from powerful New York donors who have spent the past year flirting with multiple candidates, setting him up for a major cash boost just as 2020 voting begins.

    Biden’s campaign — sometimes with help from the candidate himself — has spent the last few weeks reaching out to big donors who have collectively raised tens of millions for past presidential campaigns and are not yet attached to 2020 rivals. The Biden camp, which suffered serious money problems in the fall, came to them with a message: The time is now to join up and back Biden to beat President Donald Trump, after the former vice president lasted the whole year as the Democratic polling frontrunner, despite frequent predictions that his campaign was about to collapse.

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  2. 2020

    The 2019 Presidential Campaign Dropouts, Ranked

    Who lost it best?

    The 2020 Democratic primary field was stuffed with long-shot candidates convinced that a presidential campaign can only improve a politician’s reputation. Even if you don’t become president, a presidential campaign can help score a cable TV contract, a Cabinet post or even the vice presidency. So it’s all upside and no downside, right?


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  3. 2020 elections

    Democrats in dissension over all-white 2020 frontrunners

    “It’s hard to answer the question of, how did you go from Barack Obama to Donald Trump?”

    When Kamala Harris dropped out two weeks ago, it hit Cory Booker hard.

    She may have been his rival in the race for the Democratic nomination, but her exit represented something bigger. If Harris — a friend of Booker’s and the only black woman in the race, who began her campaign with such promise — couldn’t make it to Iowa, what did it mean for him, a black man still in the fight but unable to qualify for the Democratic debate?

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  4. 2020 elections

    Bloomberg confronts California's curse of the rich

    The state has a long history of rejecting ultra-rich self-funders. Bloomberg is the latest out to prove himself the exception.

    LOS ANGELES — While the rest of the presidential field ping-ponged between early voting states last week, Mike Bloomberg was hobnobbing with political luminaries in his own personal Iowa: the state of California.

    Bloomberg has been carpet bombing this Super Tuesday state with an unprecedented blitz of introductory TV ads, homing in on its glut of delegates and its unique mechanics that allow independents to cast a ballot in the Democratic primary. With home-state Sen. Kamala Harris now out of the race, the former New York mayor and billionaire self-funder is tapping a wellspring of surprise goodwill among young leaders and old-school politicos. He’s plotting a massive build-out of hires that an aide told POLITICO would be “one of the largest campaign operations that the state has ever seen.”

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  5. 2020 elections

    Bloomberg’s bottomless wallet funds hiring frenzy

    His campaign HQ alone employs more than 200 people.


    Mike Bloomberg is making up for lost time — just two weeks after his late entry into the Democratic presidential primary, the former New York City mayor has hired more than 300 people so far to work on his campaign.

    The self-funded multibillionaire recently tapped nearly 100 staffers to fan out across 15 states as he pursues his unorthodox strategy of skipping the four early voting states and zeroing in on Super Tuesday on March 3.

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  6. 2020 elections

    Biden claims he has the most diverse staff — but won’t back it up

    Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders all say their staffs are about 40 percent people of color.

    Former Vice President Joe Biden claims to have “the most diverse staff of anybody running” but his campaign won't prove it.

    Biden made the sweeping assertion in an interview with NPR this week while campaigning in Iowa. But when presented with staff diversity figures from other campaigns, Biden's campaign declined to release its own numbers.

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  7. 2020 elections

    Harris planned major campaign shake-up just before she quit

    The California senator was poised to fire her campaign manager, among other moves.

    Before Kamala Harris abruptly ended her presidential candidacy this week, the California senator and her top aides were planning to announce a final major staff shakeup, including replacing her campaign manager, sources with direct knowledge told POLITICO.

    Campaign advisers and donors close to Harris said she signed off on a plan to name trusted adviser Laphonza Butler to the top post. Many inside and around the campaign believed she could have bridged combatant factions after much of the staff lost trust in campaign manager Juan Rodriguez, who oversaw finances and presided over widespread layoffs.

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  8. 2020 elections

    Buttigieg camp courts black support in Congress

    The move comes amid criticism of Buttigieg’s record and a reset of his black outreach in South Carolina.

    Pete Buttigieg’s push for African American support, amid weeks of bad headlines about his struggles with black voters, has hit the halls of Congress with a new appeal to members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

    Rep. Don Beyer — one of three members of Congress, all white, who have endorsed Buttigieg — is leading the push, distributing a letter to black House colleagues this week asking them to examine Buttigieg’s “Douglass Plan,” a set of policy proposals focused on black Americans.

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  9. nerdcast

    Digging into Kamala's downfall and the demographics of 2020

    The Nerdcast talks to POLITICO national political reporter Christopher Cadelago about what went wrong in Kamala Harris' bid for president.

    The Nerdcast talks to POLITICO national political reporter Christopher Cadelago about what went wrong in Kamala Harris' bid for president.

    Plus, national political reporter Laura Barrón-López and reporting fellow Maya King talk to Scott about the demographics on the campaign trail -- why Cory Booker and Kamala Harris have struggled to make inroads with black voters, Pete Buttigieg's failure to connect with Latino and black voters and what the path to victory through South Carolina and Nevada looks like.

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  10. 2020 elections

    Vultures pick over remains of Harris campaign

    ‘This is an opportunity…especially in South Carolina,’ said one Democratic operative.

    Kamala Harris is having a bigger impact on the presidential primary in the two days since she dropped out than in her last three months as a candidate.

    After her departure, Sen. Cory Booker and Julián Castro immediately seized on Harris’ withdrawal to lament the dearth of non-white candidates in the field — a potential late opening for their own faltering campaigns. Elizabeth Warren is also seeking an edge from Harris’ exit: In paid ads, the Massachusetts senator contrasted Harris’ experience — and that of female candidates generally — with the billionaire men still running.

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  11. 2020 elections

    The most consequential moment of the 2020 primary

    A Kamala Harris town hall meeting in August 2017 is reverberating in the Democratic presidential race to this day.

    Kamala Harris was hosting a town hall in her hometown of Oakland, Calif., two years ago when she made an announcement that set off a mad scramble in the U.S. Senate.

    “Here, I’ll break some news,” Harris told hundreds of people packed into the sanctuary at Beebe Memorial Church on Aug. 30. “I intend to co-sponsor the ‘Medicaid for All’ bill because it’s just the right thing to do,” she said, flubbing the name of the proposal.

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  12. 2020 elections

    Why black voters never flocked to Kamala Harris

    A medley of concerns blocked Harris and Cory Booker from breaking in big with black voters, who have been an enduring bulwark for Joe Biden.

    Buried inside a midsummer report for Pete Buttigieg’s campaign outlining his own strengths and weaknesses, a few lines crystallized one of the most important developments of the 2020 presidential race: black voters’ relative lack of interest in the black candidates.

    “They see potential in her,” Buttigieg’s pollster wrote about Kamala Harris, after interviewing groups of black voters — “but do worry that America won’t elect a black woman.” And for many, Harris’ June debate criticism of Joe Biden on racial issues did not feel sincere.

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  13. 2020 elections

    Biden says he’ll consider Harris as his running mate

    The former vice president commended the California senator one day after she dropped out of the Democratic presidential race.


    AMES, Iowa — A day after Kamala Harris dropped out of the presidential race, Joe Biden said on Wednesday he would consider the California senator as a running mate and said he had no “hard feelings” against his now-former opponent.

    “Senator Harris has the capacity to be anything she wants to be,” Biden told reporters here in Ames. “I talked to her yesterday. She’s solid. She can be the president one day herself. She can be the vice president. She can go on to be a Supreme Court justice.”

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  14. 2020 elections

    California up for grabs as Harris exits race

    California holds outsize importance in the race, featuring the nation’s political ATM and a mother lode of Super Tuesday primary delegates.

    SAN FRANCISCO — Kamala Harris could never personally lock down California as a presidential contender. But the senator’s supporters are warning that her former rivals would be foolish to underestimate Harris’ clout in her home state.

    “Where do Californians who supported Kamala go now? First, they go into mourning. And then, they go into watching how people are reacting — because the rest of the field just got a big boost,’’ says Christine Pelosi, the daughter of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the chair of the California Democratic Party Women’s Caucus, which cheered Harris’ entry into the 2020 race. “If they’re gleeful about it, that will be a real turnoff.”

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  15. 2020 Elections

    The spectacular collapse of Kamala Harris

    The candidate with so much promise couldn't find her footing until it was much too late.


    Kamala Harris’ pummeling of Joe Biden in the first Democratic debate was a career highlight-reel moment that no candidate has matched in the campaign.

    Those five minutes, like the Senate committee hearings where Harris stared down bumbling Trump officials, captured the promise of the let-it-rip ex-prosecutor who'd launched her run five months before in front of 22,000 supporters with moving rhetoric and great expectations.

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  16. 2020 elections

    Biden struts as his rivals bite the dust

    The former VP is talking like the nomination is his to lose.

    MASON CITY, Iowa — Joe Biden’s feeling awfully confident these days.

    The former vice president thinks he doesn't need Barack Obama to win the primary. He seemed to mock the ideas that there's enthusiasm for Elizabeth Warren or that Pete Buttigieg came up with his own plans. And he professed to be untroubled by the possibility of Mike Bloomberg dropping $1 billion to beat him out for the nomination.

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  17. 2020 elections

    'One of the hardest decisions of my life': Kamala Harris ends once-promising campaign

    The California senator took a deep look at the campaign’s resources over the holiday and decided she did not have a path to the nomination.

    Kamala Harris is ending her presidential campaign after months of failing to lift her candidacy from the bottom of the field — a premature departure 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 on Tuesday, and a person familiar with the conversation said she sounded distraught. While Harris had qualified for the December debate in her home state later this month, 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.

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  18. 2020 elections

    Pro-Kamala Harris super PAC preps Iowa TV blitz

    Harris' campaign has not been on the air in Iowa in three months.

    A super PAC formed by Kamala Harris allies has started reserving TV airtime across Iowa, offering a potential boost for the California senator's presidential campaign.

    The group, People Standing Strong, lists Harris donor Quinn Delaney as its treasurer and previously listed Stephen J. Kaufman, Harris' Los Angeles-based longtime political attorney. Delaney and her husband, Wayne Jordan, own Jordan Real Estate Investments, and she is also founder and board chair of the Akonadi Foundation, along with longtime Harris confidant Lateefah Simon.

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  19. 2020 elections

    Buttigieg blows up his strategy to win black voters

    The Democratic mayor held small roundtables and sit-downs in South Carolina, after recent criticism of his lack of black support.

    ALLENDALE, S.C. — When Pete Buttigieg goes to Iowa or New Hampshire, he’s a Democratic presidential frontrunner who packs campaign venues. But when Buttigieg goes to South Carolina, he’s far from the top — and his campaign is shaking up its strategy to reflect his single-digit polling there. 

    Having failed to gain traction with African American voters so far this campaign, Buttigieg’s campaign is taking a different approach to his three-day swing through South Carolina: Keep it small. The South Bend, Ind., mayor opted for largely invitation-only roundtables and private sit-downs with African American leaders in the state, where the Democratic electorate is majority-black.

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  20. Technology

    Why the fight against disinformation, sham accounts and trolls won’t be any easier in 2020

    Silicon Valley's efforts to keep bad actors from manipulating next year's election face threats that have evolved since 2016.

    The big tech companies have announced aggressive steps to keep trolls, bots and online fakery from marring another presidential election — from Facebook’s removal of billions of fake accounts to Twitter’s spurning of all political ads.

    But it’s a never-ending game of whack-a-mole that’s only getting harder as we barrel toward the 2020 election. Disinformation peddlers are deploying new, more subversive techniques and American operatives have adopted some of the deceptive tactics Russians tapped in 2016. Now, tech companies face thorny and sometimes subjective choices about how to combat them — at times drawing flak from both Democrats and Republicans as a result.

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