Sen. Kamala Harris decided today to end her bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination and become the first African American woman to capture the Oval Office. According to a report from The New York Times, the California legislator dropped out of the contest due to continued decline in poll numbers and failure to regain significant traction with the electorate, including African American voters.
With the beginning of primary season two months away, Harris sent her supporters an email that explained that she did not have enough backing to remain competitive against presidential frontrunners. “My campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue,” she wrote in the mail. The Times further reported that her decision came “after upheaval among staff and disarray among her allies.”
Roughly a month ago, Harris announced that she was placing all her political chips on the Feb. 3 Iowa Caucus as her campaign slashed staff and radically restructured operations to maximize outreach throughout the state. A campaign memo had stated that in order “to effectively compete with the top campaigns and make the necessary investments in the critical final 100 days to the caucus, we need to reduce expenditures elsewhere and realign resources. From the beginning of this campaign, Kamala Harris and this team set out with one goal—to win the nomination and defeat Donald Trump in 2020.” And during the Nov. 20 Democratic, she repeatedly promoted her strategy of “building an Obama coalition of voters” as a means of energizing the party’s base and attracting new voters.
Harris, the only African American female presidential contender in this election cycle and the second African American woman elected to the U.S. Senate, has now bowed out, making the slate of remaining Democratic candidates much less diverse, which will become noticeably evident during the Dec. 20 debate in Los Angeles.
When Harris launched her campaign amid thousands on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Oakland, California, BLACK ENTERPRISE‘s Caroline Clarke, Chief Brand Officer of Women of Power, was there “to witness a historic moment…47 years after Shirley Chisolm became the first black woman to do so.”
As Clarke wrote, she sought to answer “Donald Trump’s coded and deeply divisive ‘make America great again’ messaging with a resounding ‘That’s not our America,’ Harris pulled no punches in establishing her desire to ‘reclaim the American dream and restore America’s moral leadership on this planet.’ ”
“The doubters will say, it can’t be done,” Harris had said, before quoting Robert Kennedy: “But America’s story has always been written by people who see what can be, unburdened by what has been.”
Harris, however, was unable to recapture the momentum she had gained during the early months of her campaign and after the first Democratic debate in June when she effectively demolished Vice President Joe Biden. From that point forward, her approach and platform seemingly failed to catch fire with Democratic voters. As a result, her campaign never recovered. taking a nosedive in both campaign contributions and poll standings.