As bad as President Joe Biden’s job approval ratings are, Vice President Kamala Harris’ numbers are just as bad or worse, and that reality has sparked a low-key panicked scramble behind the scenes of the Democratic Party with regard to who will be their nominee in the 2024 election.
It now looks increasingly possible that Biden won’t run for a second term and that Harris, despite her role as VP, will be passed over in favor of somebody else to replace the absent incumbent in the next presidential cycle, the Conservative Brief reported.
To be sure, a lot can change between now and then, to say nothing of the fact, bluntly admitted by some on the left, that Democrats are “stuck” with Biden and/or Harris due to the political costs and reputational harm for the party that would come with an attempt to essentially change horses mid-stream by abandoning the sitting president and VP in 2024.
Harris performing worse than Biden and her recent predecessors
First, Vice President Harris’ declining favorability with the American people, as tracked by the Los Angeles Times, is something that Democrats and the White House have been forced to reckon with.
As of the end of June, Harris’ favorability was 11 points underwater, 41 percent favorable to 52 percent unfavorable, which at that time was worse than Biden’s approval as well as that of Harris’ four most recent predecessors at the same point in their respective first terms, and has been in negative territory since June last year.
Nor is talk of ditching Harris a new phenomenon for Democrats, as evidenced by a damning CNN report in November 2021 that documented a reportedly ongoing and worsening “feud” within the administration between the Biden and Harris camps. Even then, literally just months into the first of a four-year term, there was said to be “chatter” at the “top levels” of ways to replace Harris as VP ahead of 2024 in a manner that would minimize the inevitable political and reputational damage of doing so.
Search for 2024 replacement could prove politically costly
More recently, New York Magazine’s Intelligencer wrote almost pleadingly in May of the ongoing Democratic search for a “back-up plan” for both Biden and Harris ahead of 2024, essentially a tacit admission that both Biden and Harris were vulnerable damaged goods who might not be capable of defeating a Republican challenger to retain the White House for Democrats.
That article plodded over some of the same ground as the CNN piece in highlighting the White House infighting between rival camps and the perceived failures on the part of Harris for the issues she was assigned to tackle, but also added a rather blunt assessment from an unnamed supporter on Capitol Hill who said Biden simply had to run for a second term because “I have no doubts Kamala Harris can’t win” if she were the 2024 nominee.
Yet, according to a Newsweek op-ed from University of Maryland College Park Professor Jason Nichols, all of the fretting and hand-wringing is for naught as he frankly asserted, “Sorry, Democrats: We’re stuck with Joe and Kamala.”
“And yet, the truth remains that Democrats chose Biden and Harris to lead them,” Nichols wrote after gently gliding over a recitation of some of their failures and shortcomings. “Quickly casting them aside would be politically disastrous because it would signal to the rest of the country that the Democrats by their own admission can’t choose someone to lead the nation.”
That is especially true with regard to Harris with the added danger of angering black women voters, a cornerstone of the Democratic base, by abandoning the first black woman elected as VP who, for all intents and purposes, had been tapped as the party’s “future” but, in being abandoned, would reveal that her choice as VP had been little more than “short-term pandering.”
In the end, Nichols concluded, “Sorry, Democrats, but we are stuck with President Biden and Vice President Harris. We chose them, and now we need to stick with them. The cost of abandoning them is simply too great to bear.”