Even before Senator Kamala Harris tore apart Joe Biden in the first Democratic debate last month, a core group of Republican operatives feared that she’s the greatest threat to Trump’s reelection.
“I think she’s dangerous, and probably maybe the most dangerous, from our view,” a Republican political consultant tells Vanity Fair. “She theoretically would do very well with African American turnout and end up being positioned as a Vienna soccer mom.”
Vienna—the wealthy Virginia enclave a stone’s throw from D.C. that has grown ever more distant from the GOP since Trump’s nomination—isn’t the only place where Harris may win over soccer moms who are sick of Trump.
A Republican consultant in Arizona says, “I have long been most concerned about Harris. I think she has an appeal to the Scottsdale soccer mom who is a registered Republican. Between her appeal and Trump’s women problems, she has probably already won those voters.” The Arizonan adds that Harris could strip Trump of other key demographics in that battleground state—which elected a Democrat to the Senate for the first time in 30 years in 2018.
“I also think she does better amongst Independents who generally split ideologically in Arizona. Independents are just sick of everything, and her no-nonsense approach would have appeal broadly, and even to some white Independent and GOP men. She doesn’t have the Biden wimp factor, and that’s probably important in a place like Arizona.”
But, while some GOP insiders fear Sen. Harris’s similarities to Barack Obama—African American, a political outsider—others don’t buy it. “She’s overrated,” says one Republican bigwig who’s battled Obama. “Obama had authenticity. She doesn’t.”
Still another GOP source had a grave warning for anyone in the party who would underestimate Harris: “She’s a nightmare.”
Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.