Elections

Why Is Kamala Harris Invisible?

Is she refusing to go out because she already knows Biden is toast and wants to be associated with him as little as possible?

Something peculiar is going on with the Biden-Harris ticket. By now, we are all used to the idea of Joe Biden hiding in his crypt, coming up for air every few days for a brief-but-eye-popping Zoom “interview” with this or that friendly “journalist.” With all the questions known in advance, and with short, simple answers pre-written by his staff and displayed in front of him, Biden usually manages to get through the first one or two minutes of the “interview” more or less in one piece. And then, before you know it, the “interview” is over, and his caretaker can wipe the drool off his chin and resume her feeding and caring of him. That Biden is the best nominee that Democrats could find is a mind-boggling concept.

But what about Kamala Harris? Biden can use his advanced age and coronavirus as excuses for hiding in his crypt—but Harris is 55, and appears to be in good health. She belongs to no high-risk group of which we know. There is no apparent reason why the junior senator from California cannot actually go out and campaign. But for some inexplicable reason, Harris’ efforts seem little different from Joe Biden’s crypt strategy.

Officially, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris became the Democratic ticket on August 20. The Democratic National Convention was a rather uninspired display of two primary themes—Trump is bad (very bad, really bad, just awful, unimaginably horrible, and completely dreadful), and Biden is a nice old grandpa (unlike the big bad Trump). Not very imaginative, but, you’ve got to work with what you’ve got, and what the Democrats have got is Joe Biden. No wonder it was Trump who got a post-convention bump after the Democrats’ convention.

Mostly Invisible in Swing States

But unlike the doddering, shambling Biden, Kamala Harris is supposed to be the dynamic half of this dynamic duo. Harris is not suffering from Alzheimer’s, is not known to be on drugs (there are legitimate questions about Biden), and doesn’t need an IV drip (unlike Biden, it seems). One would think that the minute the convention was over, she’d be on a private jet, doing a campaign swing through a swing state or two. 

Sure, nobody expects big crowds these days, what with the social distancing and all, but any visit to Michigan, or Wisconsin, or Florida would be notable locally. One can expect a day or two (or three) of positive coverage in the local press after each such visit. A few hundred votes here and there just might make the difference in November—anyone who doesn’t believe it should recall the 2000 election, and how close the Florida vote count was. 

The rabidly pro-Democratic media will airbrush the tiny crowds out of any photos and videos, using close ups to focus on Harris herself, and speaking glowingly of Harris. We saw this a year ago with Biden—one had to spend hours crawling over the Internet, searching through story after story, hoping to find the one photo from a Biden campaign event that actually showed the tiny crowds, rather than the Biden close-ups.

So where is Harris? Did she go anywhere? Did she campaign in those all-important swing states? 

Harris in fact made a campaign stop in Wisconsin on Monday afternoon. If you blinked, you missed it. Otherwise—nope. A review of news stories for the past two weeks shows no such thing—at least, I’ve found nothing. Harris’ Twitter feed shows the usual Orange-Man-Bad blather, retweets of Biden’s Orange-Man-Bad blather, perfunctory calls for Democrats to vote, standard Democratic talking points about police brutality, systemic racism and COVID-19—but nothing about a visit to any swing state. 

Harris really needs to hire some fresh writers for her Twitter account—maybe I am a cynic, but after perusing several weeks’ worth of her tweets, 80 percent of it seems like the same four or five tweets, regurgitated over and over with minor semantic variations.

Nor does the official Biden-Harris campaign calendar mention much of an actual campaign. There is various fluff there about TV ads—but little evidence of real campaigning. The calendar itself seems pretty sparse, given that this campaign is about the soul of our nation—one would think such a campaign would mean that the candidate to be Biden’s veep (and, given his cognitive incapacity, a likely president-in-fact, should Biden somehow get elected) would get out there occasionally. But, no.

A Very Different Race

On August 27, the last day of the Republican National Convention and the day Trump gave the big acceptance speech, Kamala Harris gave her own counterprogramming talk in Washington, D.C., a few hours earlier. Strictly speaking, it was Biden’s job to do such counterprogramming. During the Democrats’ convention, Trump campaigned all over the country in person. Trump visited Pennsylvania, Arizona, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota—and that’s just between August 17 and August 20. But, alas, Biden could not rouse himself out of his senescent stupor to do much counterprogramming, so it fell to Harris to say something, anything

It is a mystery what Kamala Harris is actually doing with her free time. The Senate is in recess until after Labor Day, so she has no official duties to which to attend. Both President Trump and Vice President Pence have a full campaign schedule—despite having official duties, in addition to the campaign. 

Trump’s schedule can be easily checked—he was in Pennsylvania on September 3, in North Carolina on September 2, in Kenosha, Wisconsin on September 1, in Louisiana and Texas on August 29, in New Hampshire on August 28—and that’s just since the Republican National Convention ended on August 27. If Trump can find the time to hold campaign rallies and travel on official business (e.g., Hurricane Laura) while also running the executive branch, then why can’t Harris do a bit of campaigning, when she apparently has nothing else to do? 

On August 31, perhaps sensing that the race is very different from what it was two months ago, Biden emerged from his crypt, and went to Pittsburgh to give a lackluster speech about the destruction of Kenosha by Antifa/BLM looters and arsonists. The speech took place in an empty gym. Outside, a tiny handful of supporters gathered. It’s unclear why Biden even went anywhere to give this speech—since he spoke to an empty room, why not just do it from his crypt, like his other “speeches”? Did Biden think he was in Kenosha, when in fact he was in Pittsburgh? It wouldn’t be the first time (or the last time) Biden had no idea where he was. So it’s a mystery, but the real mystery is, where was Harris?

Evidently realizing that the Pittsburgh speech fell flat, and the narrative is turning against him, the campaign sent Biden to Kenosha on September 3, where he spoke to an almost empty church. The Biden campaign claimed that Biden didn’t want to create “a circus” in Kenosha, asking us to believe that thousands of exultant Kenosha Bidenites really wanted to come out and see their hero, but the Biden campaign decided to pass on that photo and video imagery. 

Sure. Right.

So where was Harris? Recently, the Democratic Media Complex breathlessly reported that Florida is definitely in play, and Biden-Harris will fight for every vote there. Fair enough—so what is Harris actually doing? 

On August 30, she gave a nine-minute interview to a Miami TV station. Did Harris go to Miami? Nope, she did it remotely, from her lair in D.C. I am not sure why this was big news. Florida has multiple media markets—Miami, Orlando, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Fort Myers, the Florida panhandle. If she can’t be bothered to visit Florida in person, she should be doing these interviews in every one of these markets, not just a single nine-minute hit in Miami. It’s not as if she is pressed for time.

From perusing Harris’ Twitter feed and other stories, there are about half-a-dozen such “events” in the past two and a half weeks—basically, a few Zoom calls. There is lots of fundraising—which is fine, all campaigns need to raise money. But it all seems to be via Zoom. The only live campaign event I was able to unearth is an upcoming visit to Milwaukee on September 7. That’s 18 days after the Democratic convention ended on August 20. Compare this to Vice President Mike Pence’s schedule—multiple campaign appearances in numerous swing states since the RNC ended.

What Are They Afraid Of?

So what explains Harris’ near-invisibility? She is not lazy. She put in the hours a year ago until her own presidential bid crashed and burned in the fall. Harris is not a gaffe factory—unlike Biden, they can let her out of the basement without too much worry about what she’ll say. I am certain there is a complex game of 5D chess going on here, and we just can’t see it, much less figure it out. 

Is she refusing to go out because she already knows Biden is toast and wants to be associated with him as little as possible? Does she think that staying barely visible now helps her more with her 2024 run? Has the Biden campaign changed its mind about Harris aiding the ticket, now that the polls are in, and it is clear that Harris is helpful with big-money donors, but no help at all with the voters? Are they worried nobody will show up to see Harris at her events? Is the Biden-Harris campaign so far behind the curve that they still believe the basement strategy is the way to go?

None of these explanations seem to make enough sense to explain Harris’ invisibility. And yet the mystery remains, staring us in the face.