The KHive is retiring as Kamala Harris’ popularity wanes

To most who are paying attention, Vice President Kamala Harris seems to have slipped.

Her approval ratings are lower than President Joe Biden’s, as well as any of her predecessors in office at the time. Their role is largely limited to casting crucial votes in the Senate or managing the administration’s stalled work on migration and voting rights—none of which helps in electoral office. Other Democrats have begun to openly tease each other (and journalists) for her unwillingness to lead the party’s national ticket, and at least one poll shows that if a theoretical open primary were held today, it would be a single-digit one could get support.

But while they may not be as rabid as they once were, Harris can still count on the backing of a bastion of supporters: the #KHive.

Years after the end of the crushing Democratic primary, the loose collective of digital warriors are still fighting for them. And yet, according to some of the #KHive leaders, the mood has changed since the 2020 campaign’s heyday, when Harris’ fervently — sometimes ruthlessly — devoted fans earned compliments from the campaign and a request for support from Biden himself.

“The vice president’s job has always been to take on issues that might not be politically sexy or that might be easy to win over to the administration. She knew that when she decided to accept the President’s offer to join the ticket,” said Chris Evans, who has been one of the most visible members of the #KHive under the alias @NotCapnAmerica. “However, I think even the vice president herself admitted that in her first year in office she wanted to spend more time going into the country and being face-to-face with the American people.”

“I keep seeing people asking, ‘Where’s Kamala?'” Evans said.

The Daily Beast has reached out to more than a dozen high-profile members and former members of #KHive to see if the vice president has lived up to their hopes after 18 months in office. And while most still say they’ll be behind her to the end, some quietly admit that coming down from the culmination of a victorious campaign was tougher than they anticipated — not that they’d ever say so publicly.

“I would never say I regret supporting the first black woman vice president of all time. But the disappointment is real,” said a self-proclaimed former member of #KHive, who asked to speak anonymously so as not to alienate friends made through the movement. “I was obsessed with the idea of ​​this person who could undo the systemic, the systemic racism and sexism and heterosexism in government in one fell swoop, and now I’m like, I just came up with a person who could do these things do?

By and large, the #KHive, made up of the vice president’s most ardent — and, like most online fandom, occasionally wacky — supporters, remain broadly supportive of her. As they have since their relatively short-lived main campaign, they still sport bee emojis in their Twitter handles, and many speaking to The Daily Beast pointed out that the vice presidency is an office inherently the second fiddle is. Many feel that Harris is held to a higher standard because of both their breed and gender.

“The last VP was responsible for a public health crisis and look what happened – we have over 1 million dead,” said Chantay Berry, another prominent #KHive member and organizer. “He was handed a very complex portfolio, just like you, and he dropped the whole ball.”

But even the #KHive has slowed its role since 2020, with the hashtag’s use of social media now being used to squash the Vice President’s fandom as often as it is used to rally it. A Google Trends review shows that if you can exit a technically leaderless group of online stans, interest in #KHive has declined significantly since the 2020 election, with some of the biggest figures leaving the movement.

Reecie Colbert, who was once one of the most visible and controversial members of #KHive, told The Daily Beast that while she “is and always will be a staunch VP supporter,” she is far from identifying as a member of the community 2 years.

“I always thought of #KHive as a rallying cry and hashtag, but after VP was chosen, the person who created it started talking about brands and ownership, so I’ve decided to stop using it,” Colbert said . “I just don’t believe in replying to anyone in my advocacy group…especially when I can be just as effective without the hashtag.”

Some supporters, Evans said, have moved on to help other candidates and causes they see connected to Harris’ goals.

“Her supporters continue to defend her from unfair, baseless attacks, but now that she is in office, they have focused largely on electing more federal, state and local Democrats who support the Biden-Harris political agenda will support. ‘ Evans said.

The question of Harris’s political future is still at the forefront of many #KHive members, who are confident that despite recent polls indicating otherwise, she is best placed to lead the Democratic Party whenever the opportunity offers.

“It’s been a tough year,” Evans said, ticking off the pandemic, inflation, the supply chain crisis and the Senate filibuster’s stranglehold on much of Biden’s agenda as they stalled the popularity of both the president and vice president . “There are very real challenges for the party in the coming years, but I don’t think it’s specific to Vice President Harris.”

Berry said questions about Harris’ role in the future party are a distraction from the more pressing issue that has hampered the vice president’s ability to be more visible outside of the nation’s capital.

“We have to focus on winning the midterms, and two years later everyone’s leaping forward — like we’re still in the middle of an elementary school, folks!” said Beere. “She disconnected about 13 or 15 times in the first year. We have to vote This year so she doesn’t have to spend every moment breaking ties.”

Internal disputes are almost as common as external disputes within online fandoms – political and otherwise. None of the #KHive members who spoke to The Daily Beast pointed to political disagreements between members that have led to major rifts, as has happened with the #YangGang, ardent supporters of failed presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who spoke about Yang’s own split embrace are Joe Rogan, increased funding for the New York Police Department and most recently a centrist third party with no political platform.

However, some admitted they were caught up in the solidification of politics that was spreading in the ultra-online political circles of the 2020 Democratic primary. Coordinated campaigns of harassment and doxing between supporters of Harris, Sanders, Yang, then-Mayor Pete Buttigieg and others were increasingly a headache for candidates, particularly when they targeted “rival” supporters, staffers and reporters who were deemed insufficiently informed .

“We’ve all gone a little crazy during the pandemic,” said another member of #KHive, who still uses the hashtag on Twitter but has disabled its mentions to avoid getting dragged into “my 10 millionth flamewar with a #BernieBot.” will that just give us both heart palpitations.” Nearly 1,000 days since they were the last rivals for the presidential nomination, the blood feud between #KHive members and supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) continues to the member’s exhaustion.

“Let’s relax and let the VP do her job,” they said of their more relaxed approach. “Being clownish on Twitter isn’t going to make her job any easier.” The KHive is retiring as Kamala Harris’ popularity wanes


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