Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Underpinning Kamala Harris' Popularity Wave


Turns out I am part of the wave Kamala Harris is surfing towards the lead of Democratic Party presidential hopefuls. 

Right before dinner Monday evening I did something I normally resist: I answered a land line telephone call from a number I didn’t recognize because the screen indicated the caller emanated from New Haven where Gilda and I lived 42 years ago. 

An elderly gentleman—I could tell he was elderly by his slow, raspy voice, his cheerful colloquial demeanor and the way technology challenged him—said he was calling from the Quinnipiac University national poll. 

Having employed consumer researchers for my magazine for more than 30 years, I am a sucker for surveys if they don’t interfere with what I am doing. He caught me at a good time. 

I haven’t chosen a preferred candidate, though I have opined that Joe Biden should be given a chance to strut his stuff to determine if he is 2020 qualified and not stuck in a 20th century time warp. Sadly, last week’s initial debate revealed him to be slow-footed in word and thought. Donald Trump must have been salivating at the prospect of squaring off against him.

On the other hand, Harris followed up on her sharp questioning of Trump Supreme Court nominees with a piercing attack on Biden. For those who later complained that she bushwacked Biden with a well planned foray, I say it showed she would be adept at confronting and countering Trump during a debate (assuming the chicken-in-chief agrees to participate—mark my words, he will at first reject any debates and then, in what he, in his own mind, will consider a majestic concession, will agree to debate three times). I want a candidate who prepares, does homework. Biden’s people had prepped him, but he failed to rise to the occasion. 

So I gave Kamala Harris a vote of confidence, though not an unqualified endorsement as I yet don’t know enough about her.

“A new national Quinnipiac University poll, released Tuesday, July 2, shows Biden, who once led the field by around 20 points, now clinging to a two-point lead over California Sen. Kamala Harris, 22 percent to 20 percent,” The Daily Voice reported. (For you political nerds, follow the link to Quinnipiac's release: https://poll.qu.edu/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=2631)

Now, one debate does not a president, or a party nominee, make, or break. But the winds of change are blowing hard, fueled by Trump’s take-no-prisoners stands on immigration and the detention of asylum seekers, census citizenship questions, tariff wars, relations with allies and Russia/North Korea/Iran, climate change and a host of other issues.  

Biden’s early strength came from the Afro-American community and senior citizens. It is dissipating. Biden is a “Yeah, I’m comfortable with him” vote. Harris, on the other hand, will ignite passion among black and hispanic voters, and among old-time liberals. Unless he shows more vigor during subsequent debates Biden would be no match against Trump. Harris has shown herself to be a sharp inquisitor and someone who could hold her own against a man.  

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