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The New and Improved Kamala Harris – An Obvious Biden Alternative?

With Biden floundering, Democrats decided maybe the VP isn’t so bad after all.

by | Jul 6, 2024 | Articles, Opinion, Politics

For the last few years, Kamala Harris has been panned by progressives nearly as viciously as by conservatives. In light of the increasing calls for Joe Biden to step down as the nominee after his disastrous debate performance last week, however, all that has changed – and she seems to have considerable support already among the party power players.

No longer does the far-left wing of the Democratic Party roast Harris as Joe’s incompetent plus one or accuse her of being an anti-progressive cop. Now they’re praising her on social media. Kamala Harris memes by the left, once mocking, are now celebratory – and this new-found support isn’t just online: From other politicians to party officials to the punditry, there’s plenty of talk about who Kamala’s running mate would be if the president bows out of the race. Note the trending topic isn’t who would replace Biden, but who would replace Harris once she steps in to headline the ticket.

Evidently, the vice president everyone loved to hate doesn’t look so bad now in light of Biden’s performance.

From Cackling Kamala to Madam President

Kamala Harris has long suffered in the polls and been the butt of jokes by both conservatives and progressives alike. And to be fair, she earned it. “So, when you think about it, there is great significance to the passage of time in terms of what we need to do to lay these wires,” Harris famously said back in 2022. “What we need to do to create these jobs. And there is such great significance to the passage of time when we think about a day in the life of our children.” Confused? So was everyone else – including, it seemed, Kamala Harris herself. Then there’s this gem: “It’s time for us to do what we have been doing – and that time is every day.”

But with Biden floundering, the once-shunned and ridiculed vice president is starting to look a lot better. With some clever rebranding by the media and those around her, perhaps Democrats can push the embarrassing stuff right out of the public memory. Certainly, Harris is enjoying what The Guardian termed a “surprise resurgence.”

When asked by CNN whether Harris was a better option moving forward than Biden, one congressional Democrat who went unnamed – but who, according to the network, had long been a Harris doubter – replied with: “Are you kidding?”

“He’s in such bad shape, but I’ve also had conversations with Democrats about her from some key groups that have been skeptical in the past who believe everyone will rally to her if she’s the nominee,” he added. Some Democrats still resist the change – even expressing fear they’ll lose their seats should she replace Biden – but several others have reportedly rethought their reticence.

Is Kamala Harris Really the Best Option?

So what makes Kamala Harris the obvious choice, should Biden actually step aside? She is the vice president already – meaning that, in theory at least, the people have already voted for her to be a Biden replacement should one become necessary. While she has polled quite poorly throughout the term, she has done much better since the debate – even pulling ahead of Biden in some surveys.

GettyImages-2154632502 Joe Biden and Kamala Harris

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris (Photo by Andrew Harnik/Getty Images)

According to Axios, top officials say the endorsements, money, optics, and 2028 politics make her all but impossible to beat for the nomination “All she needs is Biden’s backing,” the outlet posits. “If she gets it, the Obamas and Clintons likely would follow, making any challenge an affront to the sitting president and two former presidents.”

“If she gets Biden’s endorsement, the only way a top-tier Democrat could challenge her would be to risk their future by saying ‘not your turn’ to the first woman vice president, first Black American vice president and first South Asian vice president,” Axios continues. Add to that the fact that she would be running against Donald Trump, the man who stopped Hillary Clinton from becoming the first woman president, and the optics would be terrible for any challenger.

While the standard suggestion here seems to be Biden simply ending his campaign and endorsing Harris, Liberty Nation News Senior Political Analyst Tim Donner suggests another route that might actually serve her better:

“Arguably the most effective way to do that is to have Biden not only bow out of the campaign but resign the presidency and elevate Harris’ stature to a sitting president. She could do a few things that would seem presidential before voters go to the polls and give herself a better shot than if she had to keep answering questions about whether Biden is even competent to continue the presidency for the next six months. Harris would also then be able to pick a running mate who would further enhance her ticket. Subtract and add.”

Can They Pull It Off?

The problem Democrats would face with anyone but Kamala Harris, of course, is that any other nominee would likely have to be chosen by an open convention – a chaotic affair in itself that could damage the party. Then the candidate would have to win over the Biden-Harris voters, a potentially heavy lift with very little time to pull it off. Finally, there’s the issue of campaign donations. It’s unclear just how much money could go to a new candidate. In theory, at least, a Harris-Somebody ticket comes with that infrastructure already built in.

For her part, Kamala Harris still backs Biden and has reportedly ignored most of the calls and texts coming her way from those who want to see her lead the ticket. But should the administration decide to go through with it, the clock is ticking. Each state has its own deadline for when certain parties can submit nominees for president and vice president to the secretaries of state. Miss that deadline, and winning the state means either changing state law to get the new nominees on the ballots or winning a write-in campaign. Critically, that doesn’t just mean Biden bowing out and Harris stepping up; it means selecting a new VP candidate as well.

If it’s going to happen, Democrats can ill afford to wait for the August 19 convention. By then, seven states will no longer allow ballot changes. Just a few days later, on the 21, a full dozen states would be out of reach for a replacement. The count goes up to 40 should Biden choose to stick it out at least through the second debate on September 10. Perhaps that’s not a problem in states where Democrats are practically guaranteed to win – or to lose regardless of who’s on the ballot. But in the ever-critical swing states, it spells certain doom.

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