The Women’s Leadership Forum fundraiser, scheduled to begin on May 25, had to be canceled by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) because of low ticket sales.
Tickets ranged up to $50,000 for the two-day event, but Vice President Kamala Harris’ appearance billed as the main speaker did not drive sufficient sales to justify moving forward with the forum. Organizers moved the event to later this year. The vice president’s public image has been beset by multiple negative factors that impact her ability to draw a paying audience.
Harris has been beset by public gaffes, a mass exodus of staffers from her office and plummeting polling numbers. She is currently polling at a 52% unfavorable rating and substantially worse than the past five vice presidents. Her numbers began to accelerate to the basement after she was assigned to handle the crises at the border in her portfolio.
Harris’ perceived failure to initially act on the border, her failure to visit it for months, and the administration’s anemic policy attempts all contributed to the public’s perception of her inadequacy in the office. She is not helping her own cause by now basically abandoning the ‘border czar’ role completely.
In addition to her public policy failings, the vice president has been unable to effectively run her own office. At least eight aides have left her office, or have announced they are leaving, the most recent being her chief of staff, Tina Flournoy. This is not a new issue for Harris. Reports on her offices being toxic work environments date all the way back to when she was the district attorney in San Francisco. The public resignations and consistent claims of her being a terrible boss continue to chip away at her brand.
Finally, the vice president’s habit of public gaffes has not helped her likeability either. Her public speaking engagements consistently are indecipherable word salads that have turned into a recurring internet meme. Harris cannot rise to the moment, as her various foreign policy trips have shown. Every time the vice president speaks to a member of the media in public the White House communications team holds its breath.
It is unlikely that Harris will be able to fix one of these issues, let alone all of them, to make her appearance a fundraising draw at the forum later this year either.