Kamala Harris vs. Ron DeSantis in 2024? The Joe Biden White House is going on the offense against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, or at least Vice President Kamala Harris is—and on home turf of Tallahassee, no less.
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On the 50th anniversary of the overturned Roe v. Wade decision, Kamala Harris traveled to the Sunshine State’s capital city to attack the 15-week abortion ban that DeSantis signed into law in October as “radical” and “extremist.” She also scoffed at DeSantis for holding Florida up as a model of a free state.
“And can we truly be free if so-called leaders claim to be ‘on the vanguard of freedom’ while they dare to restrict the rights of the American people and attack the very foundations of freedom,” Harris said of abortion.
This could be the early signs of a vice presidential candidate taking the role of an attack dog, or it could be a preview of the 2024 general elections faceoff.
Age alone would be problematic for Biden’s path to another presidential campaign. Throw in cognitive questions, a federal investigation of his mishandling of classified information, and a history of family influence peddling, the Democrats might want to move on.
Fair or not, Trump is always under investigation for something. Like Biden, he’s also dealing with a special counsel, as well as local prosecutors out of Georgia and New York gunning for him. And, it seems unlikely he can stop talking about 2020 for very long. Trump feels he’s owed another nomination, but some Republicans would rather win.
It’s not just that, but given the choice of running against Trump or DeSantis, Democrats have learned how to run against Trump.
So, without an 80-something vs. an almost-80-something in the race, it at least highly possible — if not probable – that the 2024 general election matchup will be Kamala Harris vs. DeSantis.
DeSantis, if he hasn’t peaked too early, seems to be the most viable non-Trump. Though, he generally only outpolls Trump in a head-to-head matchup, which is unlikely.
The governor’s crushing re-election victory in what used to be the ultimate battleground state came on the same night one Trump-endorsed candidate after another bit the dust in the red wave that wasn’t. That will stick with Republican primary voters. He has taken on the biggest, most controversial fights and manages to be popular.
As for Harris, well, she’s got problems.
She laughs hysterically for no reason and can’t deliver the lines from the teleprompter very well. If Biden steps aside, there will definitely be a crowded Democratic primary field. But for a party driven by identity politics, she checks too many boxes to be the one vice president who is cast by the wayside. And the other highly mentioned candidates, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and California Gov. Gavin Newsom bring nothing to the table.
In a Harris vs. DeSantis matchup, it seems that DeSantis would likely prevail.
He’s been battle-tested for a presidential campaign like few other governors. He has been refined by fire in Florida, facing a tough national media gunning for him, and mostly emerging unscathed.
Still, the country is way too polarized for another landslide, as occurred in 1980 or 1964.
Kamala Harris flamed out in the 2020 primary cycle before the Iowa Caucus and got out before any votes were cast. As vice president, she has often been a punchline.
Still, she has some capacity for running a campaign. You might remember she started strong in the 2020 primary cycle, roundly beating Biden in the first primary debate by implying he was a racist. For a snapshot in time, she became a bit of a star. She couldn’t keep that momentum in the following debates, was gaffe-prone, and lost support.
But, keep in mind, Kamala Harris did win two statewide elections in the nation’s largest state, first as attorney general then as senator.
So, while it seems unlikely now, with enough consultants surrounding her and better training on reading a script, she could rise to the occasion.
If you were betting money on the 2024 nominees, a Biden vs. Trump rematch might be the safest wager. But if it’s neither, it will almost certainly be Kamala Harris vs. DeSantis.
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Barbara Joanna Lucas is a writer and researcher in Northern Virginia. She has been a healthcare professional, political blogger, is a proud dog mom, and news junkie. Follow her on Twitter @BasiaJL.