When Kamala Harris announced her presidential candidacy in January 2019, she was met with glowing profiles, grassroots excitement, and ready donors. Rolling Stone praised “her intensity and intelligence,” and NPR declared that “Harris says she was bent toward a career fighting for civil rights almost since birth.” The Washington Post gushed about the firsts—”the first woman, the first African American woman, the first Indian American and the first Asian American”—she would bring to the presidency. In the first 24 hours after Harris’ announcement, her campaign reportedly raised $1.5 million. Vanity Fair asked, “Is Kamala Harris the New 2020 Frontrunner?” MSNBC host Rachel Maddow was even more direct. “Honestly,” she said, “I think there is a good chance that you are going to win the nomination.”
Eleven months later, Harris left the race. Her campaign had been plagued by inconsistent and vague policy positions, disarray and disagreement among her campaign staff, and a tough-on-crime past come back to haunt her.