Despite numerous reports over the past year that President Joe Biden may move on from his vice president, Kamala Harris, in 2024 due to a range of issues with her and between them, a report published this week said that their band wouldn’t break up ahead of the coming election cycle.
“The first woman vice president is gearing up for another national campaign despite low poll ratings, a failure to win over the Washington establishment and concern among fellow Democrats about an underwhelming start in the job”, Reuters reported on March 23. “Harris heads into a high-pressure situation as Biden, now 80, moves toward an unprecedented run for a second term as the first octogenarian in the Oval Office”.
Their 2024 re-election bid will be influenced by the possibility of Harris succeeding Biden if he becomes ill or unable to fulfill his duties, given her position as the vice president. And that’s what has Democrats concerned, according to insiders.
According to Democratic sources, while President Biden and Vice President Harris have a good working relationship, there are frustrations about some of her work within the administration. Additionally, Biden is reportedly convinced that neither Harris nor any other potential Democratic candidates would be able to defeat former President Donald Trump if he runs as the Republican nominee in 2024. This belief has influenced Biden’s inclination to run for a second term, a former White House official told Reuters.
“If he did not think she was capable, he would not have picked her. But it is a question of consistently rising to the occasion”, said the former official, speaking on anonymity. “I think his running for re-election is less about her and more about him, but I do think that she and the Democratic bench (are) a factor”.
According to an August 2020 Reuters/Ipsos poll, when Biden chose Harris, the second black woman ever elected to the US Senate, she was more popular than he was with women, young voters, and even some Republicans. However, as Vice President, her favorability rating has dropped to 39 percent, below Biden’s 42.3 percent, according to an average by polling aggregator RealClearPolitics, Reuters reported.
Several Democrats, including those who have served in Biden’s administration, have expressed disappointment over Harris’s lack of leadership on critical issues, missing opportunities to leverage her platform and safeguard herself and Biden against potential criticisms that could harm their next campaign, said the report.
“I think this is actually one of the fundamental strategic challenges for (Biden) … how to navigate this”, one Democrat with close ties to the White House told Reuters, referencing the political difficulty of replacing her with someone else ahead of the 2024 campaign — which Biden has yet to officially announced. “It’s almost impossible for them to make a change”.
Dropping Harris, who is not only the first black but also Asian-American vice president, could lead to Biden losing crucial votes.
“You cannot replace your first Black woman vice president and think that Black people and women are going to just vote for you”, the former White House official said. “He needs her”.
Nevertheless, Democrats have admitted in recent months that they have lost hope in Harris, with some telling the media that she has become a liability for the 2024 presidential election.
The New York Times reported in late February that Harris is struggling to “define her vice presidency and that even her allies are tired of waiting”. The outlet added that more and more Democrats are beginning to agree that Harris is a disappointment at best.
“But the painful reality for Ms. Harris is that in private conversations over the last few months, dozens of Democrats in the White House, on Capitol Hill, and around the nation — including some who helped put her on the party’s 2020 ticket — said she had not risen to the challenge of proving herself as a future leader of the party, much less the country”.
Even some Democrats who were supposed to be supporters of Harris “confided privately that they had lost hope in her”.
Earlier in the month, pundit and conservative commentator Mike Miller opined in a piece for Red State that he believes the unpopular vice president could be replaced, but President Biden would be met with accusations of being a misogynist and a racist even if she was replaced by another black woman.
Democratic fundraiser John Morgan is so fed up that he went on the record against Harris last month, arguing her weakness as vice president will be “one of the most hard-hitting arguments against Biden”.
“It doesn’t take a genius to say, ‘Look, with his age, we have to really think about this’”, he argued. “I can’t think of one thing she’s done except stay out of the way and stand beside him at certain ceremonies”.
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