Kamala Harris drops out of presidential race—killing a top 2020 meme

In an abrupt—but not entirely unexpected move—Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) dropped out of the 2020 Democratic primary on Tuesday.

Over the weekend, the New York Times published an article about an unmoored and directionless campaign run by Harris, which sparked speculation about whether she’d leave the race.

Today, she made it official.

Harris was unable to make inroads in election polls, and despite some breakout moments, had fallen below both Mayor Pete Buttigieg and new entry Michael Bloomberg in recent days.

Harris dropping out killed one of the 2020 election’s most-shared memes, too: That Kamala is a cop.

Before she was in the Senate—and aspiring to the White House—Harris developed a tough-on-crime reputation as San Franscico’s district attorney and California’s attorney general. While occupying those offices, several of Harris’ actions clung to her, like her tough on truancy stance, her opposition to marijuana legalization, and her fight against prison reform.

Her law enforcement history became a meme as she ran for president.

Left-wingers used it to criticize Harris for being a wolf in sheep’s clothing: A law-and-order centrist who wasn’t up to snuff in an era of drug decriminalization, reassessment over mass incarceration, and true progressive fever.

kamala is a cop DrayOlaya/Twitter

It also became a popular meme among right-wingers, who used it funny as a vehicle to criticize Harris.

kopmala Slaxs70/Twitter

Harris, while not explicitly running away from the cop narrative, didn’t quite embrace it. Perhaps, if she’d leaned into the memes, she’d still be in the race.

Instead, someone made an “officer down” joke as the news broke on Tuesday.

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David Covucci

David Covucci

David Covucci is the Layer 8 editor at the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the web. His work has appeared in Vice, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gothamist, and other publications. He is particularly interested in hearing any tips you have. Reach out at [email protected]