The political landscape is beginning to show signs of aligning against President Biden, potentially positioning Vice President Kamala Harris as the next Democratic nominee. However, despite some Democratic heavyweights’ efforts to sideline Harris, her historic candidacy as the first woman president could bolster her quest for the Oval Office.
The prospect of Kamala Harris ascending to the presidency would mark a significant milestone, shattering gender and racial barriers. Being the first woman president, especially one with a background of Black and South Asian heritage, could galvanize support in a potential bid for the Democratic nomination.
Challenges and Opportunities
Though criticized within her own party, particularly by prominent figures like Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton, Harris could potentially garner substantial support swiftly. If Biden exits the presidential race, Harris instantly becomes the Democratic front-runner, presenting a strong incentive for her to remain in the contest.
Amid increasing calls for Biden to abandon his re-election plans due to his age and performance, the focus is shifting towards Harris. However, not all Democratic leaders are firmly behind her candidacy. Recent comments by Pelosi and Clinton revealed a lack of unequivocal support for Harris.
Despite this, any attempt to sideline Harris might spark a divisive and contentious internal struggle within the Democratic Party. Attacking a potential trailblazer as the first female Black president could prove damaging and detrimental for the party’s unity.
The Biden-Harris Dilemma
David Ignatius of The Washington Post, a Biden supporter, recently advocated for both Biden and Harris to withdraw from the 2024 race, highlighting the potential negative impact on Biden’s legacy. Ignatius criticized Biden’s mistakes, including selecting Harris as his running mate, suggesting that quitting might be the wise choice for the nation.
However, if Biden indeed decides not to run, Harris is unlikely to step down. It isn’t in her character to quit, and the opportunity to become the Democratic front-runner post-Biden’s departure is too significant for her campaign to pass up.
Harris’ Unpopularity Problem
A CBS News/YouGov poll recently delved into the public’s opinion of Harris, and the results were less than encouraging.
According to the survey, 42 percent of Americans felt that Harris’s performance in her role made them think worse of the Biden administration, while only 18 percent believed it had a positive effect.
The breakdown along party lines was stark, with 76 percent of Republicans expressing a negative view of Harris’s impact, compared to just 41 percent of Democrats who viewed her positively.
Independents, too, leaned toward a negative perception, with 48 percent believing she had a detrimental effect compared to 9 percent who saw her positively.
Georgia Gilholy is a journalist based in the United Kingdom who has been published in Newsweek, The Times of Israel, and the Spectator. Gilholy writes about international politics, culture, and education.