Panicking Democrats Enlist Damage Control Experts to Salvage Kamala Harris’ Image

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Democrats have a huge problem, and her name is Vice President Kamala Harris. It seems that at least some among the left-wing intelligentsia are recognizing it. Apparently, a group of high-profile female Democrats held a dinner designed to discuss how to rehabilitate Harris’ image after six months of bad press and displays of incompetence.

Axios reported that these women met to hash out a strategy to defend the vice president and to help her get back into the American public’s good graces. Kiki McLean, a Democratic public affairs expert and former adviser to Bill and Hillary Clinton, hosted the dinner. According to the report:

Her guests included Harris confidant Minyon Moore; two former DNC officials, Donna Brazile and Leah Daughtry; Biden adviser and leader of his outside group, Stephanie Cutter; former Hillary Clinton spokeswomen and Democratic strategists Adrienne Elrod and Karen Finney; and former Obama White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri.

The women discussed ways to help Harris get better press from the outside rather than working directly with her office. A person familiar with the gathering told Axios that “the point of it was how can this group be supportive from the outside.” The individual added:

It was less about how do you sort out the infrastructure [of Harris’ operation], and it was more how can this group contribute to make sure that not only is her team making the most of this moment — as the first woman of color in the White House — but how can we help from the outside?

Among the topics being discussed was speculation as to how this group of operatives could use Harris’ record as a prosecutor and U.S. Senator to counter criticisms against her unfortunate performance as vice president. Another source told Axios that this little confab also concluded that much of the negative attitude against Harris included “sexist overtones” and the women talked about how they could “make sure the press knows this.”

The source said:

Many of us lived through the Clinton campaign, and want to help curb some of the gendered dynamics in press coverage that impacted HRC,” this source said. “It was like: ‘We’ve seen this before.’ It’s subtle. But when things aren’t going well for a male politician, we ask very different questions, and they’re not held to account the way a woman leader is.

Unfortunately, I think the American public has some bad news for these folks. The reality is that no amount of damage control experts will turn Harris into someone that most Americans are willing to stomach. Last week a RealClearPolitics poll put Harris’ favorability at 45 percent.


But if these supposed damage control experts are intent on believing that the impetus behind the criticism and low favorability is about sexism or other types of bigotry, perhaps the Democrats would do better to bring in another gaggle of operatives to help the vice president. The bottom line is that Americans aren’t too keen on Harris because of her ineptitude, not her sex, gender, or race.

Perhaps Democrats would be better served by being honest about the fact that Harris’ non-handling of the border crisis despite being appointed as border czar might have something to do with it. Maybe the fact that she refused to travel anywhere near the border over 90 days after being appointed could be contributing to the problem. Is it also possible that her cackling responses to questions about this matter might be a bit off-putting?

Of course, the reports about the toxic work environment Harris has cultivated in her office didn’t help either. With so many coming out to castigate her for overseeing a workplace that is less than desirable, it was impossible for Democrats and their close friends and allies in the activist media to spin it hard enough to lessen the impact. If the Democrats fail to get Harris back on track, it could have ramifications for their prospects in the upcoming midterm and presidential elections. Unfortunately for them, this seems to be an impossible task.


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