Vice President Kamala Harris has become a dark cloud hanging over President Joe Biden’s 2024 campaign plans, according to a new report.
Biden has indicated he will run for re-election in 2024 and has publicly said he has no plans to drop Harris from the ticket. A second term by a president who has already turned 80 would bring a sharp focus on his vice president, who could run the country if Biden faced health issues and was incapacitated.
The report by Reuters on Thursday summed up Harris as bringing to the campaign a stew that includes “low poll ratings, a failure to win over the Washington establishment and concern among fellow Democrats about an underwhelming start in the job.”
The report said that even within the White House, the vice president’s standing is shaky, as “some who work in or have worked in his West Wing said her engagement on policy was lacking.”
“A point of tension in their relationship is that I don’t think that the president sees her as somebody who takes anything off of his plate,” a former White House official was quoted as saying.
A former official said Biden’s 2024 candidacy is stoked by fears no other Democrat could win. That includes Harris, about whom the official said, “It is a question of consistently rising to the occasion.”
Reuters quoted a second former White House official as saying, “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.”
A Democrat closely connected to the White House said there is a risk, according to the outlet.
“I think this is actually one of the fundamental strategic challenges for [Biden] … how to navigate this. It’s almost impossible for them to make a change.”
The second White House official added, “You cannot replace your first black woman vice president and think that black people and women are going to just vote for you. He needs her.”
Democratic strategist Bud Jackson said many Democrats “think that Biden is hopefully fine for another term and we don’t have to worry about the second-in-command, because I think, in our mind, Biden lasts another term and then Harris is not the preordained Democratic nominee [for 2028].”
Some voices do not even want her around for 2024.
Writing for the left-leaning American Prospect, editor-at-large Harold Myerson said “it’s hard to find Democratic pols or liberal activists who spring to her defense, either in general or because she played a crucial role promoting or defending a progressive cause.”
“Were Harris a charismatic vice president, someone who inspires confidence in the administration and has played a role in its successes, her presence on the ticket would be an undeniable asset. Unfortunately, none of those is the case,” Jeff Jacoby wrote in a Wednesday column in The Boston Globe.
“For nearly all of her time as vice president, Harris has been underwater in opinion polls, with approval ratings that have hovered in the high 30s or low 40s. When she has drawn headlines, it has mostly been because of disarray and dysfunction among her staff — the vice president’s office has been described as ‘not a healthy environment’ and ‘rife with dissent’ — or because of her frequently inarticulate and cringe-making remarks in interviews and before audiences,” Jacoby wrote, adding, “And in the arena of public policy and legislation, her achievements have been close to nonexistent.”
“If there is a potential political downside to choosing a new running mate, the potential upside is arguably greater,” he said. “Biden would free himself and his administration from the albatross of a vice president to whom most Americans have not warmed up.”
“Conventional wisdom says Biden will never take such a step — that it is fantasy to suppose he would remove Harris from the ticket. Maybe. But if Biden wants to be reelected, this might be the time to cast conventional wisdom aside,” Jacoby wrote.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.