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Would Kamala Harris Overturn the 2024 Presidential Election?

Kamala Harris
Vice President Kamala Harris meets with Texas Democratic Legislators, Wednesday, June 16, 2021, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Would Vice President Kamala Harris show the same commitment to the Constitution as former Vice President Mike Pence? We might find out.

Most of the media buzz around former Vice President Mike Pence’s speech to the Federalist Society revolved around him saying, “President Trump is wrong.” He added, “Under the Constitution, I had no right to change the outcome of our election. And Kamala Harris will have no right to overturn the election when we beat them in 2024.”

Pence’s reference to Vice President Kamala Harris ensured applause from the conservative legal group that aside from their probable concerns about procedures in the 2020 election knew Pence was of course correct. If a vice president could change the outcome either under a tortured constitutional interpretation or even under the Electoral Count Act of 1887, it almost surely would have been done before. Does anyone think Al Gore wouldn’t have tried to exploit such a loophole?

Though, the reminder that Kamala Harris will preside over the electoral vote count before a joint session of Congress come January 2025 does prompt an intriguing what-if thought exercise.

What Would Kamala Harris Do? 

Harris will almost certainly be on the 2024 Democratic ticket—the only question is in what spot. If President Joe Biden seeks a second term, it will be as vice president again. If Biden opts to pass the torch, she will almost certainly be the party’s nominee.

So, what would she do? It’s a serious question.

Last month at a press conference, Biden complained that if the Democrat election overhaul legislation didn’t pass that the 2022 election, “would easily be illegitimate,” and “The increase in the prospect of being illegitimate is in proportion to not being able to get these reforms passed.”

Will Democrats also pre-judge the 2024 election as illegitimate?

Such line of thinking goes back further than Biden’s press conference.

Let’s keep in mind that before Trump’s reprehensible post-election activity that culminated in the ridiculous Capitol riot, there was plenty of reprehensible pre-election activity by Democrats that claimed Trump would steal the election.

Numerous Democrats in Congress concocted absurd conspiracy theories about Republicans shutting down the U.S. Postal Service and blocking mailboxes to stop voting. Hillary Clinton said in August 2020 that “Joe Biden should not concede under any circumstances.”

That summer, a group of Democrats and NeverTrump Republicans convened for what they called the “Transition Integrity Project” to “wargame” several election scenarios. One scenario was a Trump victory in which, according to The New York Times, Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman John Podesta: “playing Mr. Biden, shocked the organizers by saying he felt his party wouldn’t let him concede. Alleging voter suppression, he persuaded the governors of Wisconsin and Michigan to send pro-Biden electors to the Electoral College.”

Sending alternative electors is essentially what Trump and his legal team attempted and failed to get Republican state legislatures to do.

If Trump had won the election, would Biden have followed the advice of Clinton and Podesta and refused to concede? Any answer would only be speculative.

To be clear, none of this is to excuse any of Trump’s behavior after defeat. It’s to set a template as to what could be ahead in 2024.

If the Republican ticket is victorious in a close and divisive contest—what happens? Let’s even up the ante. What if the Democrats with Harris on the ticket win the popular vote but lose the Electoral College vote?

I should note that there is a bipartisan effort in the Senate now to clarify that the Electoral Count Act does not authorize the vice president to overturn the election. But who’s to say Congress can actually pass it?

Trump claims the mere fact that Congress is considering such legislation meant it was legal before. If Democrats claim their loss is because of mass voter suppression—and that’s generally the de facto excuse—there could be party pressure for Harris to take an unprecedented step. Democrats might even be opportunistic enough to cite Trump, who did say his VP, “didn’t exercise that power, he could have overturned the Election.”

It’s not that difficult to imagine some of the same leftwing activist groups that demanded an end to the Senate filibuster more recently and that called for Trump’s impeachment before he was inaugurated would at a future point demand “in the name of democracy” that Harris “act on behalf of justice” and declare Democrats the winner.

Harris—as either the vice president or the presidential candidate—could face immense pressure from her base that might filter up to the leadership of her party, some who might fear primary challengers. Also, she would have to battle with her own ambition.

In the lead-up to making her decision, Republicans would of course call her out for even considering something in January 2025 that Pence was principled enough to not do in January 2021. And politicians being politicians, some of the same Republicans that said Pence could do this would denounce Kamala Harris for even contemplating it.

Kamala Harris Would Be Under Tremendous Pressure

Keep one thing in mind, she would likely have significant institutional support for overturning the election result.

MSNBC, CNN, Ivy League law professors and an army of liberal “fact-checking” websites would provide a tortured explanation as to why the January 2025 and January 2021 circumstances are entirely different. It wouldn’t matter how little evidence of voter suppression existed, denying it would be deemed heresy by the major networks, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other outlets.

Particularly if she were in the position of declaring herself president, it could be a sticky situation. But she would almost certainly get plenty of cover from legacy media that would follow some line of logic that this is bigger than one person. Kamala Harris would be a historical first woman president and a woman of color at that. Is following antiquated procedures of the Electoral College important enough to toss aside an intersectional achievement? With this type of push, Kamala Harris might not worry about how history would judge her.

Perhaps it’s something the Senate parliamentarian could simply fix. Or, somewhere along the way, the Supreme Court might weigh in. The high court prefers to stay out of congressional procedures—but counting the votes might rise to a rare exception.

It’s highly unlikely it would ever get to this point. But as we learned from the elections of 1800, 1824, 1876, 2000, and 2020, democracy can be messy. What would Kamala Harris do?

Fred Lucas is chief national affairs correspondent for The Daily Signal and the author of “Abuse of Power: Inside The Three-Year Campaign to Impeach Donald Trump.”

Written By

Fred Lucas is chief national affairs correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of "The Right Side of History" podcast. Lucas is also the author of "Abuse of Power: Inside The Three-Year Campaign to Impeach Donald Trump."

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Brian Pope

    February 14, 2022 at 8:24 am

    Of course she would, cackling all the way.

  2. David

    February 14, 2022 at 8:42 am

    In a heart beat unlike the phony, pu..y boy Pence.

  3. Paul

    February 14, 2022 at 9:11 am

    If the Republicans did the same as the democrats did with Trump she should do it.

  4. Buddy

    February 14, 2022 at 9:12 am

    “…same commitment to the Constitutional…”

    who writes these articles…the “Constitution.” A constitutional is what you do in the morning!

  5. Freddey

    February 14, 2022 at 10:25 am

    Harris will NOT be on the 2024 ticket

  6. Fran

    February 14, 2022 at 12:19 pm

    All the more reason to impeach her, she is guilty of impeachable offenses regarding immigration, along with her boss. I hope the new congress that takes over later this year can and will do it.

  7. Yeah-Me-Neither

    February 14, 2022 at 12:43 pm

    She’d do it in a heartbeat.

    To be fair to Pence, the issue was not “overturning the election.” That’s not what he was asked to do. He was asked to allow time for a proper determination that the submitted Electoral Votes were properly elected by the states. They were not, but he did not allow time to determine that.

    To be accurate vis Harris, she’ll be asked to flat out overturn the election results, if the Democratic candidate does not win. Of course, that assumes she’s still VP. She could be P by that time.

  8. MaxAmoeba

    February 14, 2022 at 2:02 pm

    Did they accuse President Trump of trying to overturn an election…well, there is the answer to your question.

  9. ElRosbo

    February 14, 2022 at 3:59 pm

    Correct about Pence. Constitution expert Mark Levin covered this topic in the first 1/3 of his Feb 1 radio program. As I recall, he said there is no basis in the Constitution for the notion that the VP has no course but, in mere ministerial fashion, open the envelopes and count votes. He said the Constitution only empowers the state legislatures to determine how electors are chosen and in some cases lists of electors were submitted by state bureaucrats over the objections of their legislatures (implying, I believe, Pence could have requested such states to submit their electors approved by their legislatures). He laid the blame with SCOTUS for not hearing any of the several cases raising such constitutional issues.

  10. jmstettner

    February 14, 2022 at 6:39 pm

    The question is immaterial. Despite the shameless showmanship of the Democrats whining and crying about a legitimate election in 2022/24, there is not going to be a legitimate election. We saw the exact same performance in the Newsom Recall that we did in 2020, tallied votes, tabulated on the scrolling banner on the television, magically drop and evaporate. Biden has called for the judge hearing the case regarding the release of the Dominion Voting Machine report and implored the judge not to release it. Why has there been so much effort put into hiding the 2020 results? Why was so much money invested by the Technocracy in getting Dominion machines in key states? The Democrats can not afford to release the Presidency and allow Republicans to see what had actually happened.

    The elections going forward will simply be subject to the same criminality as before. End of Story. The only solution to this problem is armed revolution.

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