Amid questions about whether President Joe Biden will run again in 2024, a new article is pointing out a “conundrum” that Democrats face involving Vice President Kamala Harris.
A piece by Gabriel Debenedetti, titled “The Kamala Conundrum,” and published by New York Magazine states, “Political news rarely gets much grimmer than it did for Joe Biden on July 26, when he was greeted by a surprise poll showing that, were he to run again in a contested primary in New Hampshire, he might command less than one-fifth of the vote.”
“It was a far-fetched hypothetical — the likes of Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren won’t challenge him if he runs for reelection — but the dearth of support for a sitting president was still galling,” it continued.
However, Debenedetti writes, “And yet, improbably, the news was even worse for his presumptive heir: Kamala Harris was all the way down in the single digits.”
“The vice-presidency is, by definition, a nearly impossible job. There’s the prestige and the ‘one heartbeat away’ of it all but few defined responsibilities and political pitfalls at every turn. Eighteen months in, thanks to a combination of Biden’s age and unpopularity, the lingering pandemic and punishing inflation, a relentless opposition, and — most visibly — her own struggles to communicate a satisfactory role for herself, Harris has reached an unparalleled low point,” he wrote.
Kamala Harris is a successor-in-waiting who is just as disliked as the standard-bearer but also exactly as irreplaceable. @gdebenedetti reports on the conundrum facing Democrats https://t.co/9GxnxJdx2l
— New York Magazine (@NYMag) August 1, 2022
He suggested that part of Harris’ struggles may be attributed to “the enormous expectations placed on her when Biden thought he was selecting the future leader of a vibrant, thriving post-Trump Democratic Party.”
Debenedetti went on:
“If you ask some of her supporters, she may be one of the few things keeping the Biden administration’s languishing popularity barely afloat, leaving Democrats with a conundrum: a successor-in-waiting who is just as disliked as the standard-bearer but is also exactly as irreplaceable.”
Additionally, Debenedetti argued she is “the most scrutinized vice-president in memory, and those around her have no doubt her coverage has been heavily warped by sexism and racism.”
While he notes that Harris’ role “now resembles one Biden envisioned for her in the summer of 2020 — aggressive partisan warrior selling the administration’s popular line,” he writes that it “took one and a half uncomfortable years for her set of skills to align with the administration’s strategic needs.”
The article also pointed out that Harris’ approval rating started to dip after she traveled to Central America and “appeared dismissive of a suggestion that she visit the border.” He also noted Harris’ “stumbling responses” to reporters’ questions.
“Top party donors have privately worried to close Obama allies that they’re skeptical of Harris’s prospects as a presidential candidate, citing the implosion of her 2020 campaign and her struggles as VP. Jockeying from other potential competitors, like frenemy Gavin Newsom, suggests that few would defer to her if Biden retired,” Debenedetti wrote.
A CNN poll conducted July 22-24 found that 75% of Democrats and Democrat-leaning voters said they do not want Biden to run again.
Among those under 45, 82% said they want someone other than Biden to be the party’s nominee. And among older voters, he does not get that much of a benefit, as 69% said they want another candidate as well.
And 73% of respondents without a college degree said they want someone else, while 78% of college graduates said the same.
However, while polls have found that Democrats do not want Biden to run again, Harris has faced low approval numbers as well.
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