‘No discipline. No plan. No strategy.’: Kamala Harris campaign in meltdown

Campaign manager Juan Rodriguez is taking the most heat for the failings, but his defenders point their finger at the candidate’s sister, Maya Harris.

Kamala Harris

People close to Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris‘ campaign say the effort has been hampered by a flat organizational structure at the top with no clear lines of authority. | John Locher/AP Photo

By CHRISTOPHER CADELAGO

11/15/2019 12:57 PM EST

BALTIMORE — Kamala Harris’ campaign is careening toward a crackup.

As the California senator crisscrosses the country trying to revive her sputtering presidential bid, aides at her fast-shrinking headquarters are deep into the finger-pointing stages. And much of the blame is being placed on campaign manager Juan Rodriguez.

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After Rodriguez announced dozens of layoffs and re-deployments in late October to stem overspending, three more staffers at headquarters here were let go and another quit in recent days, aides told POLITICO. Officials said they’ve become increasingly frustrated at the campaign chief’s lack of clarity about what changes have been made to right the ship and his plans to turn the situation around. They hold Rodriguez responsible for questionable budget decisions, including continuing to bring on new hires shortly before the layoffs began.

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Amid the turmoil, some aides have gone directly to campaign chair Maya Harris, the candidate’s sister, and argued that Rodriguez needs to be replaced if Harris has any hope of a turnaround, according to two officials.

“It’s a campaign of id,” said one senior Harris official, laying much of the blame on Rodriguez, but also pointing to a leaderless structure at the top that’s been allowed to flail without accountability. “What feels right, what impulse you have right now, what emotion, what frustration,” the official added. The person described the current state of the campaign in blunt terms: “No discipline. No plan. No strategy.”

This account is based on interviews with more than a dozen current and former staffers as well as others close to the campaign, including donors. The sources were granted anonymity to speak freely about the turmoil within the organization and protect them from repercussions.

Kamala Harris’ focus on criminal justice reform could soften criticism of her record.
See where she stands on all the issues »

The internal strife is the latest discouraging development for Harris’ once-encouraging candidacy. She has slid into low single digits and is now banking on a top-tier performance in Iowa to pull her back into contention. Inside the campaign, which had already experienced staff shakeups before the layoffs, rank and file aides are fed up with the weak leadership and uncertainty around internal communication, planning and executing on a clear vision. They say the constant shifting has eroded trust in the upper ranks.

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While staff ire centers on Rodriguez, his defenders argue he has stood loyally by the candidate despite being relegated to a role akin to deputy campaign manager to Maya Harris. They say he’s had to get Maya Harris’ buy-in even on routine decisions, which were often slow to materialize, further undermining staff’s confidence in him as a supervisor.

“From the outset of this race, he has had all the responsibility with none of the authority. He’s been managing this race with at least one, if not two, hands tied behind his back,” a senior campaign official and longtime Harris hand said of the Rodriguez-Maya Harris dynamic. Rodriguez’s decision to keep mum amid criticism from staff is evidence of his devotion to the candidate, his defenders said.

“He would never talk shit about [Maya]. He would never undermine her. He’s just not that guy,” the senior official said.

Maya Harris
Maya Harris during the first Democratic primary debate. | M. Scott Mahaskey/POLITICO

Aides describe a bleak environment in which workers have started to openly question the judgment of managers after seeing colleagues marched out the door. During a recent meeting, aides pressed Rodriguez and Maya Harris for answers about campaign strategy. At one point during the more than two-hour discussion, Maya Harris herself turned to Rodriguez and challenged him in front of about 20 staffers, and several more listening in by phone. Rodriguez seemed unprepared for the exchange, according to people present. They walked out with little consensus about how to prioritize upcoming events and strategy around advertising.

One recently departed aide tried to sum up the mess: At the staff level, the person said, “everybody has had to consolidate. Everybody has had to make cuts. And people are pissed. They see a void. They want to push someone out. And I understand that. But the root cause of all of this is that no one was empowered really to make the decisions and make them fast and make them decisively.”

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Still, others point to Rodriguez’s constant yielding to Maya Harris as a reason he should be held accountable for the campaign’s failures. “It was his decision,” another aide said of the fraying pact, adding there were opportunities for him to take control. “He chose to defer to Maya.”

The unorthodox composition of the campaign is further complicated by other factors. Rodriguez’s California business partners — Ace Smith, Sean Clegg and Laphonza Butler — are senior Harris advisers atop a flat leadership structure that includes just a few other outside voices, including ad maker Jim Margolis, pollster David Binder and Maya Harris. Critics of the arrangement say it has contributed to an insular culture and reinforced the business partners’ long-term obligations to one another.

The leadership upheaval is the latest turn in a campaign that has endured multiple reorganizations and never gelled as a unit. In September, Rodriguez announced internally that he was putting Butler and Rohini Kosoglu, Harris’ former Senate chief of staff, in charge of most departments. The moves soon gave way to other changes.

Under an updated iteration, Clegg formally assumed control of messaging while Butler took over the financial, digital and operations teams. Dave Huynh, the campaign’s delegate expert, was put in charge of the political department. Emmy Ruiz’s turf included states and the field organization. And Kosoglu oversaw scheduling, communications, advance and policy.

Yet, even these seemingly clearer lines of authority are already being blurred.

In late October, Rodriguez informed staff that he was redeploying aides to Iowa from other states and laying off dozens of others, including at the campaign’s headquarters. He said at the time that the moves were driven by the need to stash enough money for a seven-figure TV ad buy in the weeks before the Iowa caucuses. Now, it’s unclear whether Harris will have the money to do so.

The former aide said people in the campaign began warning of declining revenues early, but that leadership dysfunction around Rodriguez, Maya Harris and others convinced the person that Harris wasn’t getting an unvarnished view of the picture. “I don’t think anybody wanted to tell her,” the former aide said, adding, “I still don’t think she knows the severity.”

Other aides express fears that the candidate is not being advised of the gravity of the organizational troubles. And they question the wisdom of firing junior and midlevel staffers while the main people empowered to make decisions have all been spared.

Harris’ history with Rodriguez began six years ago, when Rodriguez, who had been an aide to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, took a job in the California attorney general’s office as a conduit to the city of Los Angeles. Late in 2015, Rodriguez, then a senior adviser to Harris’ Senate campaign, came out of the bullpen to manage her race after she parted ways with her first manager. It wasn’t a competitive contest, but Rodriguez helped oversee spending cuts and staff and consultant layoffs as he worked to significantly slash Harris’ overhead.

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Maya Harris had helped bring in the first round of hires for that campaign, including several people who were eventually fired, before leaving to run policy for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.

When the Harris sisters were building the 2020 staff, they and others were in talks with at least one well-known Democratic strategist whose understanding of the proposed role at the time was to serve alongside Rodriguez given his lack of national campaign experience. The consultant passed, and no one else emerged in that capacity.

Rodriguez confidants from the campaign said they urged him to quit long ago given the challenging nature of the family dynamic, but they don’t think he will. “It was like, ‘I need to be the captain of the Titanic and go down with this ship,’” one said after talking to him recently.

In a statement to POLITICO, Rodriguez said, “Campaigns are long and arduous, but we are all united in our commitment to making sure Kamala is the nominee to take on Donald Trump and win.”

“We have had to make tough decisions to compete in Iowa and ensure Kamala is in a position to be the Democratic nominee, but Maya, I, and the rest of the amazing team are pouring our heart and soul into winning this campaign.”

Aides pointed to late efforts to save the organization. They were invited by management into a crowd-sourcing push for ideas they hope will be incorporated into the plan going forward.

The organizational problems have been agonizing for rank-and-file workers who still believe in Harris’ chances and want to do right by her, another aide said. But the person noted that Harris’ well-received speech at a major Democratic event in Iowa a few weeks ago was eclipsed by news of layoffs across New Hampshire earlier that day. It was the latest reminder, the aide said, of her diminished standing in the race and the dysfunction in Baltimore.

“The loyalty and love for Kamala Harris has never waned,” the person said. “People are still very much invested in her. It’s the directionlessness of the campaign that frustrates them.”

There’s more than enough blame to go around at the top, the aide concluded.

“The whole campaign has been a bunch of people sitting around a table giving opinions and then not backing them up when it comes down to it,” the person said.

“The apparatus wasted her talent more than she blew it.” https://www.politico.com/news/2019/11/15/kamala-harris-campaign-2020-071105

Kamala Harris Press Secretary Says ‘Free Speech’ Is A Fox News Talking Point? Claim Debunked

We covered the fact that a 2020 presidential Democratic candidate has called for the silencing of President Donald J. Trump by removing him from Twitter, thus effectively blocking him from communicating with American citizens and his most ardent supporters. We questioned what sort of person would actually make stopping free speech a cornerstone of their campaign. Well, we got our answer. It looks like the only person loony enough to do that is one whose press secretary considers “free speech” to be a Fox News talking point. 

On Wednesday, 2020 Democratic candidate and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was asked whether she agreed with Sen. Kamala Harris of California after the bottom-tier candidate sent a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey requesting that President Trump’s Twitter account be removed from the platform. Rep. Gabbard did not agree. https://townhall.com/tipsheet/timothymeads/2019/10/02/kamala-harris-press-secretary-says-free-speech-is-a-fox-news-talking-point-n2554056

i ask were dose Fox New’s come in to this?

Really? that not what the Us Supreme Court says, The Three Most Important First Amendment Cases of 2018 Any of these crucial litigations before the nation’s highest court could shape freedom of speech and religion for generations to come

1.) Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. In December, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in this case. I had the privilege of attending the arguments with the Alliance Defending Freedom team representing Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips.

2. ) National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra. In March, I was honored to argue this case before the U.S. Supreme Court, where I represented the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates and its affiliated pro-life pregnancy centers in California.

3. Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. The Supreme Court heard this case at the end of February, and it could have major First Amendment implications.,

The following is a list of all Supreme Court cases since the 2000-2001 term that have involved the First Amendment.

2018-2019 Supreme Court term

American Legion v. The American Humanist Association (PDF)

The Court held that the display and maintenance of a large memorial cross by a local government does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Iancu v. Brunetti (PDF)

The Court held that the Lanham Act’s prohibition on the federal registration of “immoral” or “scandalous” marks, in Section 2(a), violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.

Nieves v. Bartlett (PDF)

The Court held that the presence of probable cause defeats a First Amendment retaliatory-arrest claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

Lamone v. Benisek and Rucho v. Common Cause (PDF)

The Court held that partisan gerrymandering claims (based on allegations that voting maps drawn by state legislatures violated First and Fourteenth Amendment rights) are not justiciable because they present a political question beyond the reach of the federal courts.

2017-2018 Supreme Court term

Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (PDF) This case is all ready posted above:

The Court’s ruling had the effect of permitting a baker to refuse to make a cake for a gay wedding, but only because the Colorado Civil Rights Commission seemed hostile towards religion.

Trump v. Hawaii  (PDF)

The Court found that the Trump Administration can implement an immigration ban despite evidence that the ban was originally constructed with an intent to discriminate against Muslims.

National Institute of Family Life Advocates v. Becerra (PDF) This case is all ready posted above:

The Court ruled that a Californoa law violated the First Amendment by requiring “pro-life” pregnancy centers to provide notices about the availability of abortion services.

Janus v. AFSCME (PDF) This case is all ready posted above:

The Court found that mandatory union fees for public sector employees violate the First Amendment, even if just for collective bargaining services.

Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky (PDF)

The Court struck down a law prohibiting individuals from wearing political apparel at or near polling places.

Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, Florida (PDF)

The Court recognized that arrests can have a chilling effect on speech and found that an arrest can be an act of unlawful retaliation by the government, even if it had “probable cause” at the moment for making the arrest.

2016-2017 Supreme Court term

Matal v. Tam (PDF)

The Court held that a provision of trademark law that prohibits trademarks that disparage the members of a racial or ethnic group violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment

Packingham v. North Carolina (PDF)

The Court ruled that a North Carolina law prohibiting registered sex offenders from accessing social media violates the First Amendment, due to the prominence of social media in modern communication.

Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer (PDF)

The Court ruled that excluding religious organizations from otherwise neutral and secular and aid programs violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman (PDF)

The Court found that a New York law that prohibits surcharges on credit card transactions (but allows businesses to offer discounts for customers who pay with cash) is a regulation of speech, not just conduct, because such a law regulates how businesses communicate prices to their customers. The Court did not determine whether or not this particular law violated the First Amendment; it remanded the case to the lower court to answer that question.

2015-2016 Supreme Court term

Heffernan v. City of Paterson (PDF)

The Court ruled that a public employee would be protected under the first amendment if an employer issued a demotion to limit their speech.

2014-2015 Supreme Court term

Walker v. Sons of Confederate Veterans (PDF)

The Court held that the government of Texas was entitled to reject a proposal for a license plate featuring a Confederate battle flag, as Texas’s specialty license plate designs constitute government speech.

Reed v. Town of Gilbert (PDF)

The Court held that a municipality’s sign code provision that imposed more stringent restrictions on signs directing the public to a meeting of a non – profit group were considered to be content – based regulations of speech that couldn’t survive strict scrutiny.

Elonis v. United States (PDF)

The Court held that the Third Circuit’s instruction of only negligence in the communication of a threat was not sufficient to support a conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 875(c).

Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar (PDF)

The Court held that Florida’s ban on the personal solicitation of campaign funds by candidates for judgeships does not violate the First Amendment.

Holt v. Hobbs (PDF)

The Court held that an Arkansas prison policy that prevents a Muslim prisoner from growing a half-inch beard in accordance with his religious beliefs violates the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.

2013-2014 Supreme Court term

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (PDF)

The Court held that regulations promulgated by the Department of Health and Human Services, as applied to closely held corporations, requiring employers to provide their female employees with no-cost access to contraception violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

McCullen v. Coakley (PDF)

The Court ruled that a Massachusetts law which makes it a crime to stand on a public road or sidewalk within thirty-five feet of a reproductive health care facility violates the First Amendment.

Lane v. Franks (PDF)

The Court held that testimony in a criminal prosecution by a government employee about fraud in the program where he works is protected by the First Amendment; however, the supervisor who fired him in retaliation for that testimony has qualified immunity from suit because it was not “beyond debate” that the employee’s testimony was protected.

Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus (PDF)

The Court held that a preenforcement challenge to an Ohio statute that prohibits certain “false statements” during a political campaign is justiciable, and the challengers have alleged a sufficiently imminent injury for purposes of Article III, when they have pleaded specific statements that they intend to make in future election cycles that are arguably proscribed by the Ohio law and there is a history of past enforcement of the law insofar as one challenger was the subject of a complaint in a recent election cycle.

Town of Greece v. Galloway

The Court held that a town’s practice of opening its town board meetings with a prayer offered by members of the clergy does not violate the Establishment Clause when the practice is consistent with the tradition long followed by Congress and state legislatures, the town does not discriminate against minority faiths in determining who may offer a prayer, and the prayer does not coerce participation with non-adherents.

2012-2013 Supreme Court term

McBurney v. Young (PDF)

The Court held that Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act, which grants Virginia citizens access to all public records, but grants no such right to non-Virginians, does not violate the Privileges and Immunities Clause, which protects only those privileges and immunities that are “fundamental.” The Act also does not violate the dormant Commerce Clause: it neither prohibits access to an interstate market nor imposes burdensome regulation on that market; and in any event, a state does not violate the Clause when, having created a market through a state program, it “limits benefits generated by [that] state program to those who fund the state treasury and whom the State was created to serve.”

U.S. Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International (PDF)

The Court held that the requirement that nongovernmental organizations wishing to receive funding from the federal government for HIV and AIDS programs overseas adopt a policy explicitly opposing prostitution violates the First Amendment.

2011-2012 Supreme Court term

Reichle v. Howards (PDF)

The Court held that the petitioners – two Secret Service agents — are entitled to qualified immunity from suit involving a claim that they arrested the respondent in retaliation for remarks he had made about then-Vice President Cheney because, at the time of the arrest, it was not clearly established that an arrest supported by probable cause could give rise to a First Amendment violation.

United States v. Alvarez (PDF)

The Court held that the Stolen Valor Act, which makes it a crime to lie about having received military honors or decorations, violates the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (PDF)

The Court held that the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment bar suits brought on behalf of ministers against their churches, claiming termination in violation of employment discrimi­nation laws. Moreover, because the respondent in this case was a minister within the meaning of the minis­terial exception, the First Amendment requires dismissal of her em­ployment discrimination suit against her religious employer.

FCC v. Fox Television Stations (PDF)

The Court held that because the FCC failed to give Fox and ABC fair notice prior to the broadcasts in question that fleeting expletives and momentary nudity could be found actionably indecent, the FCC’s standards as applied to these broadcasts were vague.

Golan v. Holder (PDF)

The Court held that Section 514 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act does not exceed Congress’s authority under the Copy­right Clause.

Knox v. Service Employees International Union (PDF)

The Court held that the structure by which nonmembers of a union have to pay chargeable expenses and must opt out of any others already strains the limits of the First Amendment. The actions of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) went beyond this allowable extension and infringed upon nonmembers’ First Amendment rights. By failing to provide a new notice and a new chance to opt out, the union did not abide by the established procedure for handling nonmember payment. In order to respect the First Amendment rights of nonmembers, the special assessment should have come with a notice that allowed nonmembers to opt in. The Court held that, while it can be difficult to determine the yearly dues ahead of time, the union should err on the side of having nonmembers pay too little rather than too much and infringe on their constitutional rights.

2010-2011 Supreme Court term

Snyder v. Phelps (PDF)

The Court held that the First Amendment protects those who stage a peaceful protest on a matter of public concern near the funeral of a military service member from tort liability.

Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association (formerly Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association) (PDF)

The Court held that the challengers to an Arizona tax credit, which provides tax credits for contributions to tuition organizations, which then use the contributions to provide scholarships for, among others, religious schools, lack standing under Article III because they are challenging a tax credit, rather than government spending.

Milner v. Department of the Navy (PDF)

The Court held that maps describing the location of explosives do not qualify for withholding under Exemption 2 of the Freedom of Information Act, which shields from disclosure only records that relate to employee relations and human resources issues.

NASA v. Nelson (PDF)

The Court upheld NASA’s background checks for employees of companies working under contract.

Kamala Harris Calls For Suspension Of Trump’s Twitter Account Amid Whistleblower Tweets, But What About Obama And His Twitter Account DId Harris Calls For Suspension OF Obama?

In May 2010 Obama’s Twitter account ranked as the fourth most followed account with about 4 million followers. By May 16, 2011, @BarackObama was followed by 7.4 million people, including twenty-eight world leaders. His account became the third account to reach 10 million followers in September 2011.

Image result for barack obama twitter followers

Sen. Kamala Harris said on Monday night that President Trump should have his Twitter account suspended over his tweets about the whistleblower whose complaint has helped launch an official House inquiry into his potential impeachment.

“The President’s tweets and his behaviors about this are just further evidence of the fact that he uses his power in a way that is designed to beat people down instead of lift people up,” the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate told CNN.

“Frankly, when you look at what he’s been tweeting today directed at the whistleblower, directed at so many people, you know, I, frankly, think that based on this and all we’ve seen him do before, including attacking members of Congress, that he, frankly, should be — his Twitter account should be suspended.”

Harris said Trump’s latest tweets, in which he called the whistleblower “close to a spy,” is evidence that he is “irresponsible with his words in a way that could result in harm to other people.”