As the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination has so far solidified into a top tier of former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and — bringing up the rear, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana — the candidates left in the low single digits are struggling for cold hard cash and sheer survival.
Two of those currently in that boat are Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and former Obama HUD Secretary Julián Castro of Texas.
As LifeZette reported last week, Harris has let go of all of her staff in her New Hampshire field offices and in most in her Baltimore headquarters.
She is putting all her eggs in the Iowa caucus basket.
But as late as a week ago, the tune was different.
See this tweet:
2020 FLASHBACK to Sept. 7: @KamalaHarris – in New Hampshire for @NHDems convention- tells @foxnewspolitics @ConMonitorNews that the #FITN presidential primary "is a top priority going forward… It's a very important state" #nhpolitics #KamalaHarris #2020Election #mapoli pic.twitter.com/rKHwZygS75
— Paul Steinhauser (@steinhauserNH1) November 1, 2019
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Feeling a similar heat, Castro has fired his entire New Hampshire and South Carolina staffs — and is gunning for an all-or-nothing showdown in Iowa.
While some analysts praise the candidates for focusing on the first bridge to cross in 2020 — knowing that without a respectable showing in Iowa, they may not get any further in their White House quest — the inescapable conclusion from these massive layoffs is that both campaigns are on life support.
Castro tried to pivot to the usual attack on President Donald Trump by producing a television ad to distract attention from his own woes.
But the canned and by now overdone message only serves to put extra focus on the reason he needed to pivot in the first place.
Today I’m releasing a new ad in Iowa to highlight how we can defeat Donald Trump.
We must reject his bigotry and division—and inspire a coalition of voters ready to fight for a better future.
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) November 5, 2019
Both Harris and Castro have attempted to use identity politics to vault to a top spot in the Democratic primary contest.
But even in the hard-Left and politically correct environment of today’s Democratic Party, that ploy has not worked — leaving both near the bottom of the Democratic race for the presidency.
While Harris has spoken of busing initiatives when she was growing up, Castro pronounces his first name in a Latin-American ethnocentric idiom intended to remind people he is the only Latino in the race. (He was born in Texas.)
Castro believes this will convince voters he could deliver Latino votes in November.
What his campaign is at pains to admit is that Latinos and Hispanics are not politically monolithic.
South Florida Cubans vote largely GOP.
Many Americans of South American ancestry vote this way as well.
U.S. citizens of Mexican ancestry — among whom Castro drew his appeal in Texas — and of Puerto Rican heritage tend to vote Democrat in solid majorities.
Even within the Democrat Party, these differences come into play in support of candidates who share ancestry with regional voting blocks.
Harris and Castro need successful “Hail Mary” passes and they need them quick.
Expect both to lob rhetorical grenades at their opponents and at President Trump during the upcoming Democrat debate in Georgia on November 20 — that is, if Castro even makes that debate.
He has not yet surmounted the qualifications for entry.
Past that, both candidates will become increasingly shrill and combative. They’ll be looking for any breakthrough or advantage they can use to survive in the contest and make it to New Hampshire and Super Tuesday.
At this point, if their fate does not dramatically improve and they stay in the race, they are likely running for a vice presidential nod or a Cabinet position — in what they hope will be a Democratic administration come January 2021.
They can hope.
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