I’m pretty bad at picking Presidential candidates. Historically speaking, despite following politics pretty damn closely, I’ve let my heart overrule my head and supported candidates who didn’t end up doing so well. (John Edwards, Martin O’Malley, I’m looking at you).
But I really, really thought I was backing a winner early this year when Senator Kamala Harris of California announced she was running for President. I had been following her career for a few years, and thought her mix of prosecutor experience, intelligence, and ability to clearly and forcefully discuss America’s problems would lead to her being a great nominee and then a great President.
I was, uh, a little off on my prediction there.
Tuesday afternoon, after months of lagging fundraising, terrible poll numbers, and a disorganized campaign that the candidate herself did little to help, Harris announced she was ending her run for the nomination.
Despite a terrific start to her campaign, featuring big crowds and lots of media attention, Harris never, ever got true traction with Democratic voters.
And I was stumped for why for a long time. Here was a strong, African-American woman with impeccable credentials, a strong personality who could withstand any Trump stupidity and attacks, and someone with excellent ideas on criminal justice reform, increasing teacher pay, and other issues.
But she never took off. This recent New York Times expose of the backbiting in her campaign shows a candidate who never could decide on a message, constantly vacillating on strategy, and not taking sides when her campaign manager sister, Maya Harris, and co-manager Juan Rodriguez, had differing ideas on what to do.
Harris was good in the Democratic debates, attacking Joe Biden for past positions, but still seemed to vacillate too much, on her health care plans, for example.
I truly believed she was a strong candidate with a great message. I was mistaken in believing she’d win, but I don’t think I was wrong about her.
Just very disappointing.
**Next up today, I’ve occasionally highlighted the work here of ESPN and former Fox sportscaster Katie Nolan, who’s consistently funny if a little crude for my taste.
Neither network has known what to do with her, never promoting her shows or giving her a big platform and getting a PR push.
But Nolan is funny and smart, and this bit she did on her show that I saw was hilarious. It gathers female sportscasters like Maria Taylor, Cari Champion and Julie Foudy in a “secret society” as they explain to Nolan how they ruin sports for men. The whole thing is great, but from 3:30 on is the best.
Too funny, because it’s so true, how many Neanderthal men think women aren’t allowed to do sports, they don’t know anything, why are they on TV, etc.
**Finally today, this was a terrific story in the Washington Post that was pointed to me by my friend/sparring partner Dave M., who is a cranky sportswriter and friend who exasperates me but also makes me think and question my own opinions (Love ya, Dave!)
The story speaks to the difficulty so many universities have been having in recent years dealing with the racism of administrations, and coaches, past.
Fifty years ago, at the University of Wyoming, 14 African-American football players were thrown off the team by a white head coach, for asking to join a protest other black students on campus were holding.
At the time, alumni and fans were strongly behind the coach, Lloyd Eaton, for his actions, but over the years as times changed there has been a lot of hand-wringing and regret, and of course the 14 players have been bitter over how they were treated.
Finally in the past few years, a determined university president and athletics director worked hard to mend fences with the players, and honor them properly.
It’s really a fascinating look at how a school, and a town, try to make the best of an awful situation from the past, and how difficult it can be for the players involved to let go of the bitterness.
It’s as close to a happy ending as you can get. Great job by writers Wesley Lowery and Jacob Bogage.