Something odd is happening in Washington, D.C. — on both sides of the political aisle.
After the GOP performed poorly in the 2022 midterm elections, Republicans openly blamed former President Donald Trump — even though he is, whether you like it or not, the de facto head of the party. But the weak showing exposed The Don as politically impotent and no longer someone to be feared.
The same thing is happening with Vice President Kamala Harris. For the last couple of weeks, Democrats have openly mused about her future, with some liberal news sites and party leaders saying she shouldn’t run in 2024.
So hang on: This is the sitting vice president, the party’s No. 2, serving with a guy who just turned 80. Should the president decide not to run again, historically, it’s the veep who gets the first crack. Often, the vice president doesn’t even get a challenger in the primary.
That makes this all odd. Harris is just 58, the first female vice president and, thus, the highest-ranking female official in U.S. history. And she just happens to be the first black and first Asian American vice president. That checks a lot of boxes for those identity-conscious Democrats.
And still the talk persists. If President Joe Biden runs again, he should dump Harris, some stories say. Others say that if he doesn’t run, the party should bail on her and pick someone else.
The stories aren’t wrong, per se. They do contain facts, like this from a recent survey from Morning Consult: Just 28% of Democratic voters would vote for Harris in a Democratic presidential primary without Biden on the ballot, down from 33% in a poll last year. You don’t win the White House with those numbers.
Slate was the latest liberal site to come out against Harris.
“As Joe Biden weighs a run for re-election even as he becomes the first octogenarian U.S. president in history, he should think back on what it was like to watch the Harris campaign flame out,” Christina Cauterucci wrote. “Harris, a proven dud of a presidential candidate who has done little to distinguish herself since is not a good choice for the Democrats’ top billing. For his second term, should he seek one (he shouldn’t!), Biden should tap someone else.”
Harris, it turns out, is surprisingly even more unpopular than her predecessors.
“As the country has become more partisan, vice presidents have been less likely to enjoy broad support among the public. [Mike] Pence, for example, had a net favorability of roughly zero for much of his four years in the White House. Joe Biden, Dick Cheney and Al Gore all began their tenures with higher ratings than Harris currently enjoys,” the Los Angeles Times wrote last week.
And Capitol Weekly openly derided Harris in a piece late last month headlined, “Memo to Democrats: Beware of Kamala Harris, in 2024 or beyond.”
“Despite her obvious intelligence, Harris just isn’t very good, I’m sorry to say, either as a candidate or communicator,” Democrat strategist Garry South wrote. “When it comes to Harris and 2024 – or beyond — Democrats would be wise to bear in mind the old time-honored caution, caveat emptor.”
In some ways, this isn’t new. Back in May, the New York Magazine posted a story intriguingly headlined, “There Has to Be a Backup Plan. There’s a Backup Plan, Right?”
But it was the Slate piece that said the quiet part out loud. “If Harris cares about the future of the Democratic agenda, she should gracefully step aside. The vice presidency is a valuable mechanism for soft-launching future presidential hopefuls. Democrats cannot waste it on a candidate who has already failed to launch.”
With all the buzz, Harris was forced last week to comment. “Look, as the president said, he intends to run. And if he does, I will be running with him,” she said.
The thing is — it might not be her choice.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.