Joe Biden has formally announced his 2024 candidacy, and his campaign is rightfully very concerned about the (un)popularity of his running mate, Kamala Harris.
As if Biden’s admission back in October that he could “drop dead tomorrow” wasn’t enough to shake voters’ confidence, the White House is also haunted by the question of succession and Harris’ dismal approval ratings. According to RealClearPolitics, Harris has an average job approval rating of just 38%, and 54% of respondents view her unfavorably.
It seems even Biden might not be impressed with Harris’ performance, as White House officials have complained about her not “rising to the occasion” and her tendency to spew nonsense. “A number of Democrats reportedly spoke to the Washington Post earlier this year on the condition of anonymity, noting that many rank-and-file party members are also “unpersuaded that she has the force, charisma and skill to mount a winning presidential campaign.”
Erick Allen, chair of the Cobb County Democrats, encapsulated the party’s concerns, saying, “There are some people in our party who are saying, ‘We already have hurdles. Let’s not create more.'”
Despite Harris’ unpopularity, senior Biden adviser Cedric Richmond insists that she won’t be replaced anytime soon. The Biden campaign is even attempting to boost her profile, featuring her 13 times in his launch video. This move has been seen as a “pre-emptive strike” against possible Republican claims that Biden doesn’t support her.
In an effort to raise Harris’ profile even more, she’s featured prominently on Biden’s updated website. Senior White House adviser Anita Dunn has directed the political and engagement teams to give Harris more airtime promoting abortion and other Democratic causes, including spending time in South Carolina pressing the abortion issue.
In addition to giving Harris tasks beyond handling the border crisis, the White House is also trying to emphasize her working relationship with Biden. However, Fox News Digital suggests that if there is a consistent partnership between them, it’s probably from a distance. When Harris contracted COVID-19 in April 2022, Biden wasn’t listed among her close contacts, implying they hadn’t seen each other in person for over a week.
As Harris spokeswoman Kirsten Allen puts it, the focus is on “lifting up the priorities of President Biden and Vice President Harris as they build a future where every person in our nation can thrive.” But is giving Harris more visibility really the right move for the Biden campaign?
Considering her numerous gaffes and “word salads,” it seems Harris’ increased exposure could provide Republicans with plenty of ammunition. Overall, Biden’s tenuous commitment to Harris should prove to be a benefit for the 2024 election; a stronger vice-presidential candidate would make it more difficult for our party to take back the presidency.