The Atlantic

Kamala Harris’s Show of Strength

At a big Oakland rally, the California senator hoped Beto, Biden, and Booker were watching.
Source: Elijah Nouvelage / Reuters

OAKLAND, Calif.—The funny little secret about the Democratic presidential primary right now is that no one knows what’s going to work. Everyone has theories. Arguments. Cases that consultants and aides have been making to one another, and to their respective candidates, for months. Some have maps through the states; some are pinning their hopes on dreams of being lifted up by media attention or surprisingly strong showings in the early states. Most have spent the past year sizing up one another, and sizing up all the permutations of the dynamics in the field, depending on who got in and who didn’t.

Too often to bear, aides cite the cliché that this is a marathon, not a sprint. But that’s the wrong metaphor. A race has

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