Why Kamala Dropped Out.
It ultimately came down to money, but there is another likely factor that’s not being talked about.
As the democratic primary quickly approaches the Iowa caucus in February, the seemingly endless field of over two dozen candidates has slowly but surely narrowed down to fifteen. But as we get closer to the first votes being cast, even candidates in a relatively solid position compared to the rest of the field have been forced to consider their positions in the race, and make a difficult decision.
Recently, California’s Senator Kamala Harris became the first of the better-polling candidates to make the decision to end their Presidential campaign.
As many may have suspected given the flailing of the campaign in recent weeks and as was cited in her Medium post announcing the campaign’s end, everything ultimately came down to money. Not wanting to endure the embarrassment of announcing the abysmal fundraising numbers while knowing it would not be enough to take her campaign much further, Kamala’s decision was probably a wise one. All that being said, there is almost certainly another factor contributing to the end of her campaign that will largely go unspoken in the discourse on outlets like CNN or the New York Times.
It’s almost certain that at least one or two big money democratic donors made a phone call, and told her that it was coming time for her to end it. Most likely because they felt she was taking votes away from another centrist candidate whom they feel it’s time to begin rallying around. Given the sudden surge in polling in early voting states and the media’s outright refusal to criticize him, I would bet money that the candidate they’re preparing to rally around is Pete Buttigieg. I don’t find it at all far fetched that donors may have had a conversation with Kamala and her staffers about the numbers, and the direction that meant they would be heading in. In a political party where donors rule so much, I’m sure they played a role in her decision.
At one point, it looked as though Kamala had an excellent chance at being the establishment candidate. After the body blow she delivered to Joe Biden in the first debate when she called him out for his stance on bussing and his work with segregationists, there’s no denying that she was responsible delivering the moment in which the donors first wondered whether Joe Biden was actually up for it. Since then the questions surrounding the former Vice President haven’t wavered, but the fleeting surge surrounding Kamala’s campaign certainly did.
As the weeks and months after the first debate went on, it became clear that both Kamala and Mayor Pete were vying for the centrist candidate position in anticipation of Joe Biden’s fall. But between the two of them, Mayor Pete has clearly come out on top over the past couple of months.
Both started out running with the tried and true tactics of a successful centrist candidate, oftentimes pretending to be leftist when in the public eye in order to persuade primary voters while at the same time assuring donors behind the scenes that they don’t actually mean a word of it. Unfortunately for Kamala though, her decision to publicly waffle on Medicare For All so soon in the race seemed to have cost her the surge of support that she so briefly enjoyed. Mayor Pete has been no less disingenuous, but he held firm with his “Medicare for All who want it”, and didn’t have as much to lose in that regard.
At the end of the day given recent polling, it was only a matter of time before donors made the determination that Pete is their candidate and encouraged Kamala to end her campaign. That being said, I am surprised that it happened before the Iowa caucus. While I did not like Kamala as a candidate, she was certainly an interesting presence on the debate stage.
Since the first debate I’ve been standing with the prediction that it would come down to Bernie Sanders and a centrist who wasn’t Joe Biden. Originally, I thought Kamala could be that candidate. Now, with Warren’s support slowly slipping in recent weeks along with Kamala’s exit, it looks as though there’s a good chance this race could indeed be between Sanders and Buttigieg. Perhaps the donors are now predicting the same. That being said Joe Biden is still going surprisingly strong, and South Carolina could indeed be his firewall. It will be fascinating to see how the events of the coming months affect the campaigns of our front runners.