There’s a reason that the rats have been steadily fleeing the S.S. Kamala. She’s not a seaworthy scow and she’s taking on water.
Presidential candidates are expected to be able to carry their own state. (That matters more when the state isn’t Delaware.) Kamala wouldn’t even manage that.
Californians have little appetite for a rematch of the 2020 presidential race, according to a new UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies poll, with strong majorities of the state’s voters hoping neither President Biden nor former President Trump runs again in two years.
The poll, co-sponsored by The Times, found that roughly 6 in 10 respondents are against Biden trying for a second term in 2024 — a striking reluctance in a solidly Democratic state that he won handily. Another Trump campaign would be even less popular, with more than 70% in opposition.
Vice President Kamala Harris, widely considered Biden’s chosen successor to lead the party, also struggles to find traction in California, her home state, lagging behind Gov. Gavin Newsom and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont as voters’ choice for president if Biden does not run.
The Kamala campaign is looking less likely, but a Newsom one more so.
Assuming Biden announces that after a lot of thought, he wants to spend more time with his family, Kamala is in theory next in line, but has no traction. Newsom is already running a stealth campaign.
And there’s an entirely plausible depressing scenario where he wins. I don’t think it’s going to happen, but it’s no longer impossible.
The Dem bench is poor. Newsom’s only real competitors are Buttigieg and Kamala. And a VP who can barely get a fifth support in her own state is a turkey. But Newsom also strikes me as another in a line of governors who are highly touted and build political organizations, but never get out of the starting gate.
We haven’t had a governor in the White House since Bush II. But we also haven’t even had a governor as a nominee since Mitt Romney. The best argument for governors is that they have executive experience and some idea of how to run things. And there’s certainly plenty of evidence of that lacking. But they also don’t seem to have what it takes to compete in today’s national politics either. Newsom has decided to tackle that by building his brand as an attack dog, but it’s not working.
He does however have the San Fran money pipeline and a big political organization. In a field this thin, it might be enough. But I don’t think it will be.
If I had to bet, I would say that this will either be the election that people expect, or an election that no one expects.