I wrote yesterday to say that Vice President Kamala Harris was not featured prominently in President Biden’s reelection video, that while the video concludes with a Biden-Harris placard, suggesting Harris will likely join the ticket, Harris was never explicitly mentioned as Biden’s 2024 running mate.
Well, the consensus among the punditry seems to be that Harris was featured prominently in Biden’s reelection video, and that she is definitely Biden’s running mate for 2024. We can certainly debate over the meaning of the word ‘prominent,’ but let’s take the consensus at face value and operate under the assumption that Harris will be joining Biden on the 2024 ticket. Is that a wise choice for Biden?
Is Kamala Harris An Asset or a Detractor?
“Somehow,” The New York Times reported, Harris’s “harshest critics and her staunchest allies see” her reelection bid “as a good thing.”
“To her supporters, Ms. Harris, 58, represents broad swaths of the American electorate that Mr. Biden does not: She is a woman, she is biracial, and she is decades younger than the 80-year-old president, who would be 86 a the end of a second term. She is seen as the administration’s most visible advocate on issues including voting rights, access to abortion and combating climate change.”
Harris’s detractors, however, who span the political spectrum, see things differently; they “say she is unprepared for the scrutiny that is sure to come her way as she positions herself as the potential heir apparent to a Biden presidency. And some do not think the issues in her portfolio will appeal to the independent and moderate voters who tend to decide presidential elections.”
The Harris Challenge
Personally, I am skeptical of Harris’s talents or accomplishments.
I can say she does not resonate with me, in my capacity as a voter, in any way.
To Harris’s supporters, I would argue that they need to move beyond identity politics. Representation for the sake of representation is often a Trojan horse for…anything. Politicians should be selected for their agenda, accomplishments, and worldview – not for their immutable characteristics.
And with respect to the issues that Harris is seen as the “most visible advocate” for, I’ll say that the voting rights thing has the feel of a red herring; access to abortion seems set to become a significant issue in the 2024 election and Harris will be an asset in this conversation – yet abortion has divided Republicans and may ultimately be decided in state-to-state fashion; climate change…I don’t think of Kamala Harris when I think of climate change. I guess someone needs to adjust their marketing.
All that being said, I am also conscious of the practical considerations that go into an election, namely, electability.
Replacing Harris on the ticket would enrage many progressives and elicit cries of racism and misogyny from the left. And removing Harris under the theory that she would drag down the ticket (because she would be so vulnerable to attack from the right) would likely prove ineffective.
Some of Harris’s electability problems are just universal Democrat electability problems. That’s not to say I’m supportive of Harris. I’m not. But I’m not sure removing her from the ticket would solve the problems the Democrats are seeking to solve.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison 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. Harrison listens to Dokken.