During her college days of taking the odd puff of marijuana and listening to Tupac Shakur, Vice President Kamala Harris might have also read way too much Lao Tzu, who wrote in the Tao Te Ching that “silence is a source of great strength.” Washington’s worst-kept secret is that Harris has so far done very little as the right-hand woman for President Joe Biden. But considering the state of modern U.S. politics and the 24/7 big-box news cycle, where the slightest mishap can ignite rage and fury for either side of the aisle, perhaps this is the wisest strategy of them all: Be quiet until 2024. And, based on some of the latest polls, this may have been a smart political scheme so far.
The Silence is Deafening
It has only been a few months into the new administration. Still, there are already multiple fires to extinguish, whether it is the dilapidating energy infrastructure or the chaos and confusion on the foreign policy front. In March, the vice president was assigned something to do, an issue that would require her undivided attention and perhaps provide her with a quick and easy victory a couple of years before the next presidential election. What was the subject? The border crisis.
When President Biden announced that he was tapping Harris to lead the White House effort to tackle the myriad challenges at the border, he exclaimed that “when she speaks, she speaks for me.” It has been nearly three months, so what has she said throughout the process to represent her boss?
It might be tough to gauge because Harris has gone about 70 days without holding a press conference or visiting the U.S.-Mexico border. She has yet to unveil specific plans for touring the southern border, although she is scheduled to visit Mexico and Guatemala this month. Harris has proposed a few policies to curb illegal border crossings from Mexico into the U.S., including transferring hundreds of millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to Central America and planting trees.
If the American people anticipated Harris would resolve the border crisis, they were ostensibly misinformed, according to media reports surrounding “confusion” regarding her role on the matter. CNN’s Natasha Bertrand recently reported that the vice president was not appointed to curtail unlawful migration but rather the “root causes” of illegal immigration. Bertrand noted:
“Republicans kind of seized on that confusion, and they made it seem as though Vice President Harris was going to be the new border czar. That she was going to be responsible and be the envoy to the border, be responsible essentially for all of the problems that arise there.”
So, what is Harris doing then? It is unclear, and this could be beneficial for her political aspirations.
Biden Her Time Until 2024?
For the Harris team, 2024 perhaps cannot come soon enough. While President Biden has claimed he will run for re-election in 2024, many political pundits believe there is zero chance of that happening, mainly due to his age. It is more than likely that Harris will swing for the fences against her Republican challengers. But does she have a chance? Here are some of the critical numbers newshounds are combing through now:
- 47% have a favorable opinion of Harris, while 47% hold an unfavourable opinion (YouGov).
- Kamala Harris would secure 43% of the vote if she ran against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in 2024 (Echelon Insights).
- The vice president would lose by 4% if she faced off against former President Donald Trump in 2024 (McLaughlin & Associates).
- Harris has 7-to-4 odds of being the 2024 Democratic nominee, compared to 9-to-4 for Biden (US-Bookies).
A lot can happen between now and the next general election. However, U.S. politics is all about polling, with entire personnel dedicated to monitoring the public’s reaction to every statement and physical gesture. As a result, convictions are abandoned in favor of using the index finger like a weathervane to determine the direction of public opinion.
Just Showing Up
To add to the VP’s burden, at an event remembering the 1921 Tulsa massacre, President Biden announced that on top of her mirage-like duties at the border, he is also tapping her to “fight like heck” against the GOP-led efforts at reforming voting activities. Perhaps Harris will perform better on offense rather than defense.
It has been quipped that most of life’s success is attributed to showing up. In a politically correct environment where the press and millions of voters are obsessed with politicians ticking the right identity boxes, Vice President Harris only has to appear in front of cameras, attend meetings, and publish hebetudinous tweets to be championed as the greatest VP in modern U.S. history. Will this be enough to propel Harris to presidential status in a few years?
Read more from Andrew Moran.