Ben Smith Is the Kamala Harris Campaign Dead?

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Sen. Kamala Harris speaks during the Presidential Gun Sense Forum in Des Moines, Iowa, August 10, 2019. (Scott Morgan/Reuters)

Democratic debate rules might help her get a second look from voters, but she still lacks a compelling argument for her candidacy.

Things are looking bleak for the Kamala Harris campaign. On Wednesday,Politicoreported that “Harris is dramatically restructuring her campaign by redeploying staffers to Iowa and laying off dozens of aides at her Baltimore headquarters, . . . as she struggles to resuscitate her beleaguered presidential bid.”

Harris announced she was “moving” to Iowa back in September, but the California senator is now in a dead heat for fifth place in the state, according to theRealClearPoliticsaverage of polls. At 2.7 percent, she’s tied with Tom Steyer, Amy Klobuchar, and Andrew Yang, and just a hair ahead of Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who is sitting at 2.3 percent.

After Gabbard attacked Harris’s record on criminal justice at the July Democratic debate, Harris shot back in an interview: “This is going to sound immodest, but I’m obviously a top-tier candidate, and so I did expect that I would be on the stage and take hits tonight, because there are a lot of people that are trying to make the stage for the next debate. . . . Especially when some people are at 0 or 1 percent, whatever she [Gabbard] might be at.”

It would be easy to snicker that pride comes before the fall, leave Harris’s campaign for dead, and move on. But her bid may yet have a little life left in it. The Democratic debate rules could actually provide her an opportunity to get a second look from Democratic voters, as Geoffrey Skelley points out atFiveThirtyEight:

To make the stage in December, candidates must attract 4 percent support in four national or early-stat

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