The Kamala Harris campaign that Democrats were doting on only a few months ago now appears to be in crisis mode, according to reports.
Harris is floundering in the polls at around 3% amid huge staff layoffs and calls from the staff still left in Harris’ campaign for the resignation of her campaign manager, Juan Rodriguez.
Take a look at news of her campaign’s “meltdown” on Twitter:
A few weeks ago, Harris blamed campaign struggles on racism and sexism:
Politico tells a different story:
Kamala Harris’ campaign is careening toward a crackup.
As the California senator crisscrosses the country trying to revive her sputtering presidential bid, aides at her fast-shrinking headquarters are deep into the finger-pointing stages. And much of the blame is being placed on campaign manager Juan Rodriguez.
After Rodriguez announced dozens of layoffs and re-deployments in late October to stem overspending, three more staffers at headquarters here were let go and another quit in recent days, aides told POLITICO. Officials said they’ve become increasingly frustrated at the campaign chief’s lack of clarity about what changes have been made to right the ship and his plans to turn the situation around. They hold Rodriguez responsible for questionable budget decisions, including continuing to bring on new hires shortly before the layoffs began.
Amid the turmoil, some aides have gone directly to campaign chair Maya Harris, the candidate’s sister, and argued that Rodriguez needs to be replaced if Harris has any hope of a turnaround, according to two officials.
“It’s a campaign of id,” said one senior Harris official, laying much of the blame on Rodriguez, but also pointing to a leaderless structure at the top that’s been allowed to flail without accountability. “What feels right, what impulse you have right now, what emotion, what frustration,” the official added. The person described the current state of the campaign in blunt terms: “No discipline. No plan. No strategy.” This account is based on interviews with more than a dozen current and former staffers as well as others close to the campaign, including donors. The sources were granted anonymity to speak freely about the turmoil within the organization and protect them from repercussions.
The internal strife is the latest discouraging development for Harris’ once-encouraging candidacy. She has slid into low single digits and is now banking on a top-tier performance in Iowa to pull her back into contention. Inside the campaign, which had already experienced staff shakeups before the layoffs, rank and file aides are fed up with the weak leadership and uncertainty around internal communication, planning and executing on a clear vision. They say the constant shifting has eroded trust in the upper ranks.
While staff ire centers on Rodriguez, his defenders argue he has stood loyally by the candidate despite being relegated to a role akin to deputy campaign manager to Maya Harris. They say he’s had to get Maya Harris’ buy-in even on routine decisions, which were often slow to materialize, further undermining staff’s confidence in him as a supervisor.
“From the outset of this race, he has had all the responsibility with none of the authority. He’s been managing this race with at least one, if not two, hands tied behind his back,” a senior campaign official and longtime Harris hand said of the Rodriguez-Maya Harris dynamic. Rodriguez’s decision to keep mum amid criticism from staff is evidence of his devotion to the candidate, his defenders said.
“He would never talk shit about [Maya]. He would never undermine her. He’s just not that guy,” the senior official said.
Aides describe a bleak environment in which workers have started to openly question the judgment of managers after seeing colleagues marched out the door. During a recent meeting, aides pressed Rodriguez and Maya Harris for answers about campaign strategy. At one point during the more than two-hour discussion, Maya Harris herself turned to Rodriguez and challenged him in front of about 20 staffers, and several more listening in by phone. Rodriguez seemed unprepared for the exchange, according to people present. They walked out with little consensus about how to prioritize upcoming events and strategy around advertising.
One recently departed aide tried to sum up the mess: At the staff level, the person said, “everybody has had to consolidate. Everybody has had to make cuts. And people are pissed. They see a void. They want to push someone out. And I understand that. But the root cause of all of this is that no one was empowered really to make the decisions and make them fast and make them decisively.”
Fox News also said:
Sen. Kamala Harris, whose campaign cut staff in a dramatic restructuring last month, is now polling at just 3 percent, tying her with Michael Bloomberg for fifth place among the Democratic Party’s presidential nominees -- according to a poll released Friday -- even though Bloomberg hasn't even formally announced his 2020 candidacy.
And now Harris may be facing another problem: A second report Friday described internal strife at Harris’ Baltimore campaign headquarters, with several aides calling for campaign manager Juan Rodriguez’s resignation following his late October decision to lay off field staffers in several states and dedicate Harris' already dwindling campaign war chest to a seven-figure TV ad campaign before the February Iowa caucus.
Harris and Bloomberg were deadlocked in a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted Nov. 12-14. Though not yet a declared candidate, Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor and billionaire business and media mogul, launched a massive $100 million digital ad campaign Friday targeting President Trump.
In the poll, both Harris and Bloomberg fell behind Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., who polled at 6 percent, and Sen Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who polled at 13 percent. Former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders led the Demicratic field tied at 19 percent support.