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Democrats are Panicking to Save VP Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
U.S. Senator Kamala Harris speaking with attendees at the 2019 Iowa Democratic Wing Ding at Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa.

Democrats trying to solve Kamala Harris and her media problems ahead of 2024: But is that really possible? 

Kamala Harris Has Problems

There have been a series of news stories in recent months portraying the Democratic Party’s discontent with Vice President Kamala Harris.

A New York Times story with the headline “Kamala Harris Is Trying to Define Her Vice Presidency. Even Her Allies Are Tired of Waiting” appeared in February, and it was memorable for the anecdote that “even some Democrats whom her own advisers referred reporters to for supportive quotes confided privately that they had lost hope in her.”

Also in the Times, at the end of February, a bizarre op-ed appeared from Greg Craig, a veteran Democratic hand who served as White House counsel in the Obama Administration.

In noting that Biden is the oldest president in history heading into his likely re-election campaign, Craig suggested that Biden and Harris “consider making some bold decisions to address these actuarial concerns and show they are being taken seriously.”

He then suggested that the vice presidential spot be open to a competition at the Democratic convention in 2024. 

“He should take a page from Roosevelt’s book by telling his party that he will not dictate who will be his running mate but instead leave it up to the delegates to pick the person who is best equipped to take on that task,” Craig writes of Biden, citing President Franklin Roosevelt’s move in 1944 to put Harry Truman on his ticket; Roosevelt died shortly into his next term, with Truman succeeding him. 

Now, a report from back in March says the Democrats are trying to shut down the Harris “pile on” heading into the presidential election season. 

According to CNN, the latest incident involved Sen. Elizabeth Warren giving a radio interview in January, when she declared herself “enthusiastic” about Biden running for another term.

But when asked specifically about Harris, Warren replied that “I really want to defer to what makes Biden comfortable on his team.” 

Per the report, Warren has since called Harris twice to apologize, but the vice president has not taken her call either time. Warren and Harris served in the Senate together, and both ran for president in the Democratic primaries in 2020.

Warren has claimed that she was seeking to not step on a future Biden/Harris campaign announcement. 

Harris’ circle, however, saw the Warren moment as “the latest in a long string of snubs to a vice president whom they say has never gotten the respect or support she deserves.” The worries about such snubs do not only come from Harris die-hards, but also from across the Democratic Party, who fear that “years of Harris negativity could now prove a political problem” heading into the next presidential election.  

“Right now, she seems to be an albatross,” one state Democratic Party chair told CNN. “She’s either going to be a liability or a help. And you better embrace her because it’s not like she’s going to be off the ticket.”

Harris did not agree to speak to CNN for the story. 

CNN also cited a Zoom call months back among politically active Hollywood types, including Oscar-winning actress Helen Hunt, “Swingers” and “Sex and the City” veteran Ron Livingston and “Beverly Hills, 90210” actress and former Screen Actors Guild head Gabrielle Carteris, in which doubts were raised about Harris. 

Some of the people on the call asked former Sen. Barbara Boxer, who was Harris’ predecessor in her California Senate seat, how they can get Harris off the ticket for 2024. 

“If that’s how you feel, you should let Biden know,” Boxer told the actors. 

It’s all part of a strange dynamic in which Biden is the oldest president in history, and therefore carries a heightened risk of either dying in office or becoming incapacitated.

But there’s also a question, in the event Biden is re-elected, of who will emerge as the next leader of the party, and when that choice will be made. 

Author Expertise and Experience

Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

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Written By

Stephen Silver is a journalist, essayist, and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review, and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.