A new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll shows Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard leading California Senator Kamala Harris nationwide. The revelation is noteworthy because Harris was at 15.2 percent average polling support at the height of her primary success before she gradually declined. In particular, Harris’ support took a significant dip after Gabbard called out her criminal justice record during the second Democratic presidential debate.
Harris has experienced criticism for her record as California’s attorney general and San Francisco’s district attorney, and Gabbard’s attack highlighted the specifics behind such criticism, Business Insider reported.
“I’m concerned about this record of senator Harris. She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana,” Gabbard said at the debate at the end of July.
Gabbard continued to claim Harris blocked evidence that could have been used to free an innocent man off death row and accused the senator of holding people in prison beyond the end of their sentences to use them for cheap labor for the state of California. The 38-year-old congresswoman also highlighted Harris’ efforts to keep the cash bail system in place, which Gabbard said “impacts poor people in the worst kind of way.”
In response, Harris defended her record.
“I did the work of significantly reforming the criminal justice system of the state of 40 million people which became a national model for the work that needs to be done. And I am proud of that work.”
But Gabbard didn’t let up. She said that Harris was already in a position to help “make a difference” and positive impact in people’s lives and failed to do so, again highlighting her alleged blocking of evidence to benefit a man on death row. Gabbard said there is “no excuse” for Harris’ actions and pressed her to apologize.
The exchange sparked the “KamalaHarrisDestroyed” hashtag on Twitter, and Harris has been lagging in the polls since.
Officer Harris dismissed attacks from @TulsiGabbard , describing herself as a "top tier candidate."— Michael Malice (@michaelmalice) October 30, 2019
The Hawaiian and the pig are now tied in Iowa in the last three polls. Great work, @iansams! pic.twitter.com/JRiPmyn2ho
As The Inquisitr reported, Harris’ approach to clergy abuse when she was San Francisco’s district attorney has also raised eyebrows. According to Joey Piscitelli, a victim of molestation who became a spokesman for clergy sex abuse victims in the 2000s, Harris never responded to his accusations that a priest sexually abused him in a local Catholic cathedral ministry. Even after reaching out again five years later, Harris allegedly didn’t respond.
“She did nothing,” he said, per Associated Press.
According to Michael Meadows, a Bay Area attorney who has represented clergy abuse victims, Harris’ lack of response was due to the “potential political risk” that comes with aggressively moving against the church.
“I just don’t think she was willing to take it,” he said.