Did Tulsi Gabbard Sink Kamala Harris’ Campaign, or Did Kamala Harris Sink It?

Photo: Saul Loeb, AFP Via Getty Images

In a somewhat surprising move, despite sagging polling numbers, Senator Kamala Harris has officially withdrawn from the presidential race.

While polls clearly showed Harris didn’t have much of a path forward, it was widely assumed she would continue her campaign at least through the December debate. However, with Harris struggling to connect with voters and earn a base of support as well as raise the money needed to keep her campaign afloat – she opted to drop out ahead of the December debate instead of simply risk not qualifying for it.

“I’m not a billionaire. I can’t fund my own campaign. And as the campaign has gone on, it’s become harder to raise the money we need to compete,” she said in her announcement on Medium.

The other side of the coin is the fact that Harris continuously struggled to clearly define her positions on issues pertaining to domestic and foreign policy. Harris was dealt a deeply troubling blow based on her record as a prosecutor from Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard during the second night of the second debates on July 31.

“There are too many examples to cite but she put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana,” Gabbard said during that debate.

Harris was polling at 15% at the beginning of July, but she was unable to sustain that momentum. After uneven debate performances and the criticism received at the hands of Gabbard, Harris’ polling numbers dropped 77% from July to December 2. Advisers to Harris believe that moment during that debate is what really accelerated Harris’ decline in the polls, and now withdraw from the race.

Additionally, approximately 50 current or former campaign staff members for Harris spoke with The Times anonymously and pointed the finger directly at Harris for her swift decline. That’s in addition to former State Operations Director Kelly Mehlenbacher highlighting in her resignation letter that, “This is my third presidential campaign and I have never seen an organization treat its staff so poorly.”

Harris has vowed to keep on fighting to defeat President Trump, albeit in a different capacity than what she initially intended.