Kamala Harris is looking increasingly prominent lately, with numerous public appearances and press releases, along with more “intimate” profiles from several news outlets.
The Kamala Harris Tour
She’s currently on a tour of universities to drum up support for the Democratic ticket next year – a large majority of youth votes are cast for Democrats – highlighting the administration’s supposed successes, as well as speaking to issues like abortion rights, gun regulation, climate change, and black civil rights that resonate with many young voters.
“There is an intentional, full-on attack against the freedoms and liberties that have been the basis for what I believe makes us strong and respected as a democracy. When you all start voting in your numbers, so many of these things are going to take a complete turn for the better,” said Harris in a recent speech at the College of Charleston, a small, liberal arts university in Charleston, South Carolina.
The increased visibility of late is noteworthy because of Harris’ marked absence from much of the public spotlight since she became vice president in 2020. Given that the job of vice president isn’t one that lends itself to the level of public exposure that President Joe Biden gets, one would be hard-pressed deny that Harris’ media team is making significantly more effort to get their boss out and be seen by the (voting public).
Kamala Harris Needs Help
And she does need the exposure. Data from polling aggregate site Fivethirtyeight puts Harris’ approval at a dismal 38.8%, while her disapproval rating stands at 54.9%. This makes Harris one of the most disliked and unpopular vice presidents to hold the post in recent U.S. history.
Harris’ poor reputation has prompted a number of her allies to complain that the vice president isn’t getting anywhere near enough credit for what they say are her many accomplishments. Many of those who rush to her defense say that she is burdened by a great many things – her being a woman of color, a highly polarized political landscape, the difference between her previous experience and the duties her current role entails, and her choice to take on difficult and controversial subjects such as the root cause of immigration from Central America.
Despite all this, White House has also stood firm on Harris’ importance to the administration – not to mention her fund-raising prowess – and stressed that she is and has always been an integral part of the Biden administration.
“He always wants her in the room for anything that’s important,” White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients says of Biden and Harris’ working relationship. He also stressed that there has been “utterly no, zero” chance that Biden has ever considered picking a different running mate for next year.
Joe Biden’s Age Challenge
The increased scrutiny of Harris, along with her increasingly public persona, is particularly significant given concerns over Biden’s age – the president is 80, and would be 82 if he does win his re-election bid, and 86 at the end of that term.
Biden’s advanced age, combined with increasing incidents of what appears to be cognitive issues in public, have raised concerns that the president is not up to the task of taking on a second term.
While both the Biden administration and Harris herself have often expressed confidence in Biden’s continued ability to govern, the public simply doesn’t share the sentiment. Multiple polls have shown that not only Republican voters, but Democrats as well, are concerned about Biden’s mental faculties – concern that would likely affect their choices in the coming election.
It’s entirely feasible to at least assume that the Democrats are being prudent and are preparing Harris to take on the role of being the party’s standard-bearer if ever something should happen to the president down the road.
Tim Ramos has written for various publications, corporations, and organizations – covering everything from finance, politics, travel, entertainment, and sports – in Asia and the U.S. for more than 10 years.
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