After her take-down of Biden, Indian-American Kamala Harris leaps to No 2 slot
The first-time senator from California, whose father is black and mother Indian, had confronted Biden on his history of opposition to busing as a racial desegregation tool in the 1970s and 80s and his recent remarks portraying himself as a unifier who could even work with leading segregationists of the time.Updated: Jul 03, 2019 20:08 IST
Indian American Kamala Harris has leaped to second place in new polls riding a surge from her epic take-down of frontrunner and former vice-president Joe Biden in the first Democratic presidential debate last month. In one of these polls, she is just 2 points behind Biden, which is a virtual tie.
The first-time senator from California, whose father is black and mother Indian, had confronted Biden on his history of opposition to busing as a racial desegregation tool in the 1970s and 80s and his recent remarks portraying himself as a unifier who could even work with leading segregationists of the time.
“I do not believe you are a racist,” Harris had said launching the battle of the night on June 27, aired live into millions of home at prime time, but “it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations on the segregation of race and you worked with them to oppose busing”.
“There was a little girl in California who was a part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bused to school every day,” she had continued. “And that little girl was me.” Her campaign tweeted a picture of her from the time shortly after.
As the frontrunner with a double-digit lead in polls over the rest of the 24 Democrats vying for the 2020 presidential nomination, Biden had come into the debate wearing a large target on his back, and was prepared to be attacked on this issue. In a scripted reply, he defended himself, and punched back.
But Harris had won that battle, and the debate.
Harris had entered the race as a frontrunner posting the highest first 24-hour collection of donations of the race till then. But, was soon overtaken by Bernie Sanders, and occasionally by others such as former Congressman Beto O’Rourke and Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay man to seek the presidential ticket, and Senator Elizabeth Warren, who leads the table with policies and plans.
The June 27 debate night changed it for her completely. In polls that followed immediately, Harris first claimed the No 3 slot, wresting it from Warren and then No 2, displacing Sanders, who had come to own that position, having held it steadily for months, by a wide margin behind Biden though.
In a Quinnipiac poll released on Tuesday, Harris trailed Biden 20%-22%, the difference of 2 points is negligible in the world of pollsters, who give themselves a 2% or 3% margin of error. In a CNN poll out also on Tuesday, Harris is No 2 again, but at 17%, 5 points behind Biden’s 22%.
In the average of upwards of 20 polls tracked and aggregated by RealClearPolitics, Harris is in the third position, with Sanders still holding the No 2 slot, only by 1.4 points.