Video: Out-of-Touch Kamala Says Rural Americans Need Kinkos to Make Copies - Kinkos Disappeared 13 Years Ago


When Kinko’s passed out of existence in 2008, the carcass of the printing-and-shipping giant was so desiccated it barely warranted 140 words and six paragraphs in Reuters’ postmortem for the chain.

At the time, the wire service reported that FedEx, Kinko’s owner, announced that “it was changing the name of its struggling Kinko’s printing and professional services unit to FedEx Office and would record a charge of nearly $900 million.”

Since I was going to college at the time, perhaps I was more acutely aware of the fact that virtually nobody used Kinko’s anymore. Even though I printed stuff out on a near-daily basis for writer’s workshops, I only stepped into a Kinko’s once, despite the fact it was on the way from my apartment to the subway. The one time I used it, I remember it smelling like toner, a musty basement and despair.

And now it’s gone — at a time when rural Americans need it most, according to Vice President Kamala Harris.

On Saturday, Harris gave an interview to BET News in which she said compromise on voter ID laws was impossible. This is difficult because, by now, most people realize election integrity legislation isn’t some kind of flashback to the “Mississippi Burning” Jim Crow days. Voter ID legislation is overwhelmingly popular in poll after poll, including among the minority groups who are supposedly going to be disenfranchised if the GOP gets its way.

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Harris argued that voters didn’t know the very real struggle to make a photocopy of your ID.

“I don’t think that we should underestimate what that [compromise on voter ID laws] could mean,” Harris said.

“Because in some people’s mind, that means you’re going to have to Xerox or photocopy your ID to send it in to prove who you are. Well, there are a whole lot of people, especially people who live in rural communities, who don’t — there’s no Kinko’s, there’s no OfficeMax near them.”

“People have to understand that when we’re talking about voter ID laws — be clear about who you have in mind and what would be required of them to prove who they are,” she continued.

“Of course people have to prove who they are, but not in a way that makes it almost impossible for them to prove who they are.”

Well, if they had to find a Kinko’s, yeah, that might be almost impossible for them. Or for anyone in the 48 contiguous states, Hawaii and Alaska, since it doesn’t exist anymore.

Even forgetting the whole Kinko’s inanity, this answer still ranks up there with “I haven’t been to Europe” in terms of how ill-conceived the answer was. Take those rural voters, who weren’t impressed with Kamala’s patronizing logic for refusing to compromise on voter ID:

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Jessica Taylor, a candidate for Senate in Alabama, tweeted that “Kamala’s disdain for AL and rural America could not be more clear … We need people in DC with Alabama values, not woke liberal coastal elite values.”

Engaging with the bankruptcy of the vice president’s logic, especially given the demeaning stereotypes that undergirded it, is a perfectly rational reaction — but it’s also worth noting the importance of the fact this condescending argument was the best Harris could do.

Harris’ problems with explicating away unpleasant facts during interviews is becoming a motif during her vice presidency, one which was crystalized during the “I haven’t been to Europe” Lester Holt interview.

For those who have forgotten, that kerfuffle had to do with the fact she hadn’t visited the United States-Mexico border since taking on a role handling the border crisis:

Harris’ non sequitur may have gone viral because of its silliness, but it hid the fact there was no good answer why a member of the administration handling part of the border crisis hadn’t bothered to check out the scene of the crisis itself. Granted, there are plenty of times when politicians are faced with questions to which there’s no good answer.

The good ones come up with something. Harris came up with “I haven’t been to Europe.”

Now, faced with compromise on election integrity, Harris’ argument is that she can’t, because think about all of those poor people in Mayberry who don’t have access to a copier. Whenever Kamala says something this bizarre, it’s a giveaway that there’s no good argument for the position she’s taking. Saying the quiet part out loud — that they don’t care about election integrity or preventing voter fraud — isn’t an option, either.

You have to congratulate the veep on one thing, though: She’s managed to inspire a whole lot more talk about Kinko’s 13 years after the brand disappeared than Reuters was willing to indulge in back when its closure was announced back in 2008.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture