Newsweek editor Tom Rogers has a new piece arguing that ‘The Democrats Shouldn’t Ditch Joe Biden – They Should Replace Kamala Harris.’
Here’s the heart of Rogers’s argument:
One, despite terrible approval ratings, Biden has done a respectable job in office, and thus should not be replaced on the ticket. “The economy continues to be very strong, particularly when it comes to employment. Inflation has died down considerably, and Biden has demonstrated a real finesse in driving the NATO alliance in support of Ukraine. When it comes to the issue of abortion and gun control, he is in sync with the vast majority of the country.”
Two, but Biden is extremely old and voters are worried he may have “an unfortunate circumstance related to his age and capabilities,” which would force Kamala Harris – who is even more unpopular than the president – into the presidency. “Thus, to many voters, casting a vote for Joe Biden is tantamount to casting a vote for Vice President Kamala Harris.”
Third, Harris is deeply unpopular and this will cause electability issues. “Consider that the election is going to be decided by a handful of swing states – indeed, by 2-3 percent of swing voters in those states. The most important question – perhaps the only question of this election is whether swing voters in purple states who are highly resistant to Trump or DeSantis would feel forced to vote for [Trump or DeSantis] if Kamala Harris was the Vice President on the Biden ticket. If you think the answer to that question is that they might, or that enough of them might, that means that Vice President Harris could render Joe Biden unelectable. Why is why it is Harris who should be replaced.”
Hold on a second, I have a question: I understand Rogers’s argument for replacing Kamala Harris, and why Harris might doom the ticket. Fine. But why are we assuming that the said 2-3 percent of swing voters in a handful of swing states are comfortable with Biden who, as Rogers acknowledges, is very unpopular?
Rogers argues that Biden has done a good job and because he has done such a good job we should look past the practical considerations of his unpopularity. But then Rogers argues that regardless of whether Kamala Harris has done a good job or not (he abstains from taking a position as to whether Harris has performed well as VP) she should be replaced on the ticket for the practical consideration of her unpopularity. Rogers is suggesting that replacing Harris with a candidate who generates excitement, or even just generic acceptance, would assuage Democrat’s biggest concern about Biden (his age and his ability to finish a second term). But the entire analysis seems like wishful thinking from a Biden fan who is willing to look the other way with respect to unpopular Biden is.
I agree with Rogers that Harris is not good for the ticket – despite a heavy push from Democratic strategists to broaden Harris’s appeal (i.e., make the average person like her) – but I’m not convinced Biden needs to stay.
He’s the incumbent, yes. And yes, he’s made a few accomplishments that will market well during the 2024 campaign. But Biden’s unpopularity has remained stubbornly low – just like Harris’s. And at the end of the day, he’s just too old. He’s going to be mid-80s. And there are two outcomes in the minds of the American voter, neither of which are appealing. One, Biden lives through the term but lacks the mental acuity to perform.
Well, Americans don’t want to elect a president who they believe has lost the mental acuity to run the country. Or two, Biden dies. And I’ve got a feeling Americans aren’t eager to elect someone they believe will die in office, regardless of who the VP is.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer 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.