Kamala Harris entered the presidential race with impressive credentials — a popular black woman with an inspiring story who hailed from a large Democratic state and drew accolades for her fiery questioning of President Donald Trump’s nominees.
Yet despite a shot of adrenaline after confronting front-runner Joe Biden in the first debate, she has failed to catch fire with Democratic voters who are torn between a nostalgic fondness for Biden and a revolutionary desire for Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.
Harris’s attempt to replicate her feat in the second debate backfired among Democrats who say she went too negative on Biden. The Californian also suffers from a perception that she lacks a deep ideological well to guide her policy ideas, in contrast to her three main rivals who are better-defined. And her past as a prosecutor has earned her supporters and detractors.
Harris and Senator Cory Booker “really went after Vice President Biden — it rebounded to their detriment that they went after Biden so much. Because it also looked like they were not just going after Biden, but they were going after the Obama legacy,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, which is neutral in the primaries.