Johnson: Harris dropping out causes retrospection


Caitlin Yamada/ Iowa State Daily

Columnist Zachary Johnson argues Sen. Kamala Harris dropping out of the presidential race will lead to remaining candidates seeking the support Harris had to enter the next debate. Johnson believes Harris lacked the ability to hold onto support due to voters choosing candidates they see more fit to beat President Trump.

Zachary Johnson

Sen. Kamala Harris dropping out of the presidential race could mean a very interesting round of upcoming polls.

With Harris’ recent decision to suspend her campaign, it is clear that her five-six percent piece of the pie will be highly sought after with candidates making bids for the debate stage.

While it is evident that Harris never had the support of black voters that she probably expected/needed, it is expected that with Biden’s clear dominance in this category, the other candidates will be seeking the six-seven percent (depending on the poll) that she had in this category.

The narrative to me is that the only thing stopping Mayor Pete Buttigieg or Sen. Elizabeth Warren from being in a place where they could actually win decisively is their lack of support from African Americans. 

Looking at data on the second choice of particular candidates is dodgy at times, as a straight up second choice is not always indicative of where those voters actually go.

Though, to me, black voters in early primary states like South Carolina that were supporting Harris will, in all likelihood, simply move to Biden given the safeness that his candidacy provides.

Among Democrats, about half are of the belief that electability, or the likelihood of beating Trump, is the most important aspect of their decision, and it is no wonder then that Biden is doing so well among black voters.

Not only is he the former vice president of the first black president, but he has also been well-known in the political realm for decades.

Harris couldn’t hold on when her support from what should have been her strongest group was diminished by the tendency for black voters to vote in a more strategic way.

These voters go for Joe Biden as they see him as the best and most effective candidate to win the only victory that is on the minds of the American people, which is to defeat Donald Trump.

This fixation on the electability attributes of each candidate is a characteristic of this race that Harris just couldn’t succeed in.

Her attempts to appeal to the Obama coalition were misguided given the especially strategic tinge that this cycle has exhibited.

The political calculus is not about policy but the perceived likelihood to win and how others feel about candidates.