See ya, Kamala Harris? There is a whisper campaign that could become louder as U.S. President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign switches into a higher gear. Some tongues are already wagging about the following question: Should Joe Biden dump his vice president and pick someone different for the 2024 ticket?
Kamala Harris, after all, has not set the world on fire.
She goes from being ignored to being the subject of negative press.
Who Would Replace Kamala Harris?
The position of vice president is surely not as easy as it looks. Vice presidents are often the butt of jokes and lack gravitas in the public’s eyes. They are criticized for doing too much and condemned for doing too little. Indeed, Harris has been forced to endure her share of negative media coverage. Still, she has not lived up to her potential, even though she has a sterling resume and an impressive back story. Some liberal news outlets wonder if she is up to the task.
Meanwhile, Biden is struggling. He just survived an embarrassing period with classified documents. Then there was the slow-motion dithering during the Chinese long-range reconnaissance balloon incident. The foibles and missteps are adding up for the president. If he has a poor State of the Union address on Feb. 7, there could be more calls to remove Kamala Harris from the ticket.
There is no indication of who would replace Harris. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg would be one choice, but he doesn’t bring much to the table. He has a mixed record as a Cabinet secretary and does not have the accomplishments that would impress the party faithful. The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana does have the ambition needed to run a nationwide campaign, having pursued the presidency once. But he did not attract the support of Hispanics and African-Americans – voters that Democrats must get to the polls in high numbers for Biden to be re-elected.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom could be a VP pick to replace Harris. He is also eyeing the presidency, although he often tells the media he will not challenge Biden for the top slot in 2024. Newsom is said to be gearing up for a presidential run in 2028. He is the top executive of a large state and has tried to improve his national name recognition by running ads in states like Texas and Florida that burnish his liberal credentials and portray his policies in a better light.
Dump Kamala for AOC?
If Biden really wanted to shake things up, he could replace Harris with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The socialist congresswoman has no communications problems. Telegenic and able to speak passionately in front of the cameras, AOC would make people take notice.
Her youth would give people more confidence that there would be enthusiasm and energy to supplement Biden’s advanced age and lack of vigor.
A Calculated Gamble
Former President Barack Obama reportedly explored replacing Biden on the ticket with Hillary Clinton in 2011. This idea did not go far, but it shows that presidents can be ruthless with their subordinates when re-election is at stake.
It is becoming clear that the choice of Harris as VP has not turned out the way Democrats wanted. She has stumbled in what should be easy ceremonial duties and has not made a difference in advancing public policy for the president. This is problematic for Biden, but replacing her does risk a backlash against the White House from minority voters.
Picking someone different could rejuvenate Biden’s re-election effort. Polls are showing that voters are concerned about his age and would like someone different to run for president. The next-best thing for these uninspired voters would be to have a new vice presidential candidate. Biden has some options, although it is not a deep bench, and he could still surprise us with a new face. This would take the media’s attention away from his age and likely end Harris’s political career.
Biden might not take such a drastic step, but if he continues to flounder in polls, it may be seen as a way to ignite the passions that allowed him to be elected in the first place.
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Author Expertise and Experience: Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.