Kamala Harris: Could She Run for President if Biden Passes? Typically, when an incumbent president has one term of eligibility remaining, questions of successorship are subdued.
Statistically, the incumbent is nearly sure to run for reelection, so no one speculates who is next.
Not since 1968, when Lyndon B. Johnson vowed not to seek reelection, has an eligible, incumbent president opted out. Even Jimmy Carter, with his then-record low approval ratings – and a credible primary challenge from Senator Ted Kennedy – ran for reelection.
The 2024 Election Presents Challenges, Opportunities
But this year is different. Incumbent president Joe Biden is the oldest president ever. Will he run again or not?
By 2024, Biden will be 82 years old.
Understandably, people are wondering whether Biden can handle the rigors of another presidential campaign – not to mention a second term that would last until the man is 86.
Age isn’t the only factor cutting against a Biden reelection bid; Biden is historically unpopular. With sub-40 percent approval ratings, Biden has sometimes been less popular than either Carter or Donald Trump – both of which were one-term presidents.
Typically, when the time for a new presidential candidate comes, sitting or former vice presidents are near the top of the succession list.
Many presidents were former vice presidents: Joe Biden; George H. Bush; Gerald Ford; Richard Nixon; LBJ. Former vice presidents Al Gore and Walter Mondale lost presidential elections.
Almost by default, vice presidents are considered potential future presidents.
Can she do it?
Kamala Harris Already Tried a Run at the Presidency
Harris is not a talented politician; we’ve already seen her blow a presidential campaign.
“For years, Harris had been considered a front-runner to grab the 2020 ticket. Her moment was nigh. Yet, Harris’s campaign was a disaster. She withdrew from the race in December 2019, well before the DNC primaries. Despite its national prominence, the Harris campaign petered out before far less high-profile campaigns from low-tier candidates like Julian Castro, Marianne Williamson, and John Delaney.” (Note: John Delaney did not have the benefit of launching his presidential campaign from Good Morning America.)
When Harris bowed out early, her supporters – known as the #KHive – blamed the early exit on racism and sexism. The assertion is absurd given that the DNC’s preceding three presidential nominees were either black or female. No, Harris’s identity markers were the explicit reason why she was chosen for the vice presidential slot despite having run such a poor campaign. Racism and sexism are convenient, blanket excuses.
But the reality is that Harris is just bad at politics. “It was her political inability,” I wrote, “it was her equivocal messaging and resultant lack of funding; it was her reliance on a, “I’m A Badass Prosecutor” theme – despite the left’s calls for criminal justice reforms.”
Granted, by 2024, Harris’s 2020 campaign should be irrelevant – she will have served four years as vice president, and her tenure as VP is what she will be primarily judged upon.
So far, Harris’s tenure as VP has not gone particularly well.
Kamala Harris’ VP Record is Not Stellar
“Where did it go wrong for her?” Anthony Zurcher, writing for the BBC, asked in reference to Harris’s vice presidential performance.
“The job has not come easy. Ms. Harris’ approval ratings have slumped. The president has tasked her with assignments that range from the intractable to virtually insoluble. Her office has been beset by high-profile resignations.”
Americans are noticing.
Back in November 2021, Harris’s approval ratings cratered. “According to a November survey by USA Today, Ms. Harris’ public approval rating sat at 28 percent, making her one of the least popular vice-presidents in modern history – lower than Iraq War architect Dick Cheney, who was reviled by Democrats.” To be fair, Harris has done nothing so heinous as Dick Cheney – but her comparable approval rating speaks to her electability problem.
And to be fair, Biden tasked Harris with solving the border crisis – a complex problem decades in the making – perhaps she was being set up for failure. But Harris’s unpopularity stems mostly from the same thorns sinking Biden’s approval ratings – COVID and the economy. Since COVID and the economy have the potential to improve in the near term, Harris’s popularity could presumably rebound. Today, Harris’ approval rating sits around 39 percent – low, but better than in the past.
Still, I am skeptical that Harris can be a viable presidential candidate.
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Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. He lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken. Follow him on Twitter @harrison_kass.