Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) suggested on Monday that the ability for Americans to elect her as president of the United States may ultimately be hindered by her race and her gender.
“I have also started to perhaps be more candid talking about what I describe — and what I believe to be, the elephant in the room about my campaign,” Harris said while speaking with “Axios on HBO.”
After questioned about what exactly she was referring to, Harris replied, “Electability.”
“Essentially, is America ready for a woman, and a woman of color, to be president of the United States,” she continued.
The California senator further explained that while America was ready to elect an African-American man as commander in chief when they twice elected former President Barack Obama, he too had to have a conversation about his so-called electability prior to his candidacy.
“This conversation happened for him,” Harris said, referring to Obama. “There is a lack of ability or a difficulty in imagining that someone who we have never seen can do a job that has been done 45 times by someone who was not that person.”
The Democratic presidential hopeful recalled a time when she was stomping for Obama’s presidential campaign in Iowa. On the night prior to the caucuses, his campaign reportedly asked her to visit a senior citizen residential home to get out the vote. Harris contended that an elderly African-American woman answered the door and told her “they not gonna let him win” and that she had experienced too much “injustice” and “indignity” to “expose herself to yet another disappointment.”
Harris’ campaign has not only been struggling to gain traction, it has been noticeably slipping in the polls. After months of stagnant fundraising and steadily declining poll numbers, she slid from the frontrunner in her home state of California to not even placing as one of the top three candidates that Californians prefer.
A poll of likely primary voters commissioned by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) in October found that former vice president Joe Biden and Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are leading the rest of the primary field by a wide margin in the Golden State.
Around the same time, Emerson released a separate poll that placed Harris in fifth place, slipping even farther behind entrepreneur Andrew Yang and receiving only 6% of the vote.
Harris’ campaign stated that they would be expanding operations in California and it subsequently opened a campaign office in Oakland, California. However, it is not clear if the additional resources have impacted her performance.
“As our operation expands, our plan is to work with our supporters to ensure that Californians up and down the state know Kamala’s plans to tackle the issues that keep them up at night,” Maya Humes, Harris’ campaign communications director, said earlier in October.
As of publication, Harris sits at 5.3% support among Democratic primary voters nationwide, according to the RealClearPolitics national polling average. She has not hit double digits in the polls since August 2019.