Come Back, Kamala

Joe Mathews
Connecting California Columnist and Editor, Zócalo Public Square, Fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (UC Press, 2010)

Senator Harris, it’s time to come home. 

And by that, I don’t mean to open a presidential campaign office, as you recently did.

I say that not because you’re falling in the national polls, or failing to gain traction in the early caucus and primary states.

I don’t even say that because you’re losing altitude in your home state of California, having fallen to fourth in the presidential primary in the latest poll.

It’s because California needs you more than the country does right now.

You’ve not offered a coherent or distinctive enough program to separate yourself from other contenders. You haven’t made the case that you’re the strongest candidate to take out Trump next year.

So why aren’t you 100 percent focused on the fight against Trump right now?

The administration is engaged in open warfare against the state—threatening our ability to make environmental policy, threatening our highway funds, threatening our law enforcement funds. Which means we need two full-time U.S. senators in Washington helping us fight back. Yes, you’re doing some of that, and yes, senators in the minority are limited. But it doesn’t make much sense to be spending a bunch of time in Iowa—when you’re sitting fourth in the race.

It makes even less sense when much of what you’ve said seems pretty well aligned with Elizabeth Warren, who has been an ally of yours. And politically, why risk suffering a humiliating defeat in California when you could step back for a very good reason—to protect California, which is the job you were elected to do less than three years ago?

Come back, Kamala. Your state needs your undivided attention.

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