Can Kamala Harris Escape Her Past?: Vice President Kamala Harris has recieved some positive press coverage in the spring when she toured Africa to reassert American influence on the continent.
Everywhere Harris went, throngs of fans were lining the street, hoping for a glimpse of the US vice president.
Harris’s trip comes at a time when the US is finally beginning to understand that Chinese and Russian influence on the African continent needs to be countered; Harris is the tip of the spear in that effort.
And according to observers on the trip with Kamala Harris, the vice president had been relaxed and effective – a departure from the uptight, over-scripted version of Harris that has occupied the vice presidency for two years.
Apparently, Kamala Harris aids are optimistic that the Africa trip will help the VP turn a corner and return to America a new woman, in time to help President Joe Biden win reelection.
So, is this a turning point for Harris? Can she keep ride the momentum of a successful Africa trip into a successful back half of her first vice presidential term? Sure, it’s possible. But I’m skeptical.
Harris has had a difficult start to her vice presidency
The Africa trip had been a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing vice-presidential tenure. A
Actually, Harris’s term has gone so poorly that Democrats have begun to privately mull whether she needs to be replaced on Biden’s 2024 ticket.
It seems unlikely that Harris would be replaced on the ticket – that would cause a backlash (on charges of racism and misogyny) that might negate any benefits from a new VP pick – but that the prospect of a replacement is being raised speaks to how poorly Harris’s vice presidency has gone.
Harris’s problem so far isn’t so much that she’s been bad, but rather that she hasn’t really been anything; she’s not going out there and making a mess of things, she’s just not going out there at all until recently.
Granted, Biden assigned Harris difficult tasks (i.e., migration and voting rights), but the vice presidency is held to a high standard and according to that standard, Harris hasn’t made much progress.
Harris also wasn’t involved in the Biden administration’s signature legislative victories (i.e., Inflation Reduction Act, CHIPS). Instead, Harris has just kind of been along for the ride, giving the occasional speech stiffly and unconvincingly.
Can Kamala Harris turn things around?
I’m not optimistic.
Two years is a pretty healthy sample size and Harris has been lackluster throughout.
And the problems don’t start in January 2021, when Harris was sworn in. You’ve got to remember that Harris ran for president in 2020 and that campaign went abysmally. She was out of touch with the zeitgeist and struggled to raise funds; her campaign withered up and died in December of 2019 – remarkably early given the fanfare with which she entered the race.
But, then again, Kamala Harris is the vice president of the United States.
She’s got a hell of a platform to operate from (as the ongoing Africa trip demonstrates). So, Harris is well positioned to turn things around – if she’s got the capacity. Can she do it? Only time and effort will tell.
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.