The forces are starting to align to push President Biden out of the way in 2024 – leaving understudy Kamala Harris as the next weak link on the Democratic chain.
But despite Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton’s best efforts, it won’t be so easy to push Harris out.
The historic prospect of the first woman president – of Black and South Asian descent no less – taking office should buttress the vice president as she seeks the party mantle in the Oval Office.
If Biden is forced to leave the White House early, and that seems more and more likely as every day goes by, that will give Harris time to establish herself before the election and reestablish her credibility with voters.
The VP is a good debater – smacking down Biden in 2020, which Jill Biden has never forgotten – and was smart enough to refuse Biden’s offer to be border czar, leaving the president to shoulder the burden of the nation’s immigration disaster.
It’s true Harris right now is even more unpopular than Biden, but that could change quickly if Democratic voters rally around her – even if the party powers aren’t so quick to jump on the bandwagon.
Pelosi raised eyebrows last week with her less-than-supportive comments about Harris, and we all know what Hillary Clinton really wants – another chance to redeem herself.
Asked whether Harris would be the best running mate for Biden, the 81-year–old former House speaker said, “He (Biden) thinks so, and that’s what matters.”
Ouch. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) came out a few days later to back Harris, but the damage had already been done.
It’s clear that the Democratic hierarchy and the American public right now don’t have great confidence in Harris.
But that could change quickly. Democrats who attack her do so at their own risk. It could be an ugly and very bloody fight.
How do you celebrate the first female Black president and then tear her apart?
As for 80-year-old Biden, calls continue to grow for him to abandon his second-term plans, and that is putting more focus on Harris.
In a column urging Biden to withdraw from the 2024 race, the Washington Post’s David Ignatius – a Biden favorite, by the way – said “it’s painful to say” that both Biden and Harris should quit the campaign now.
The Biden-Harris ticket “risks undoing his greatest achievement – which was stopping Trump,” Ignatius wrote.
Ticking off the list of mistakes Biden made, which includes selecting Harris as second in command, Ignatius wrote that “it might not be in character for Biden, but it would be a wise choice for the country” to give it up.
But if Biden does wise up and quit, Harris isn’t going anywhere. It’s not in her makeup to quit, nor should she.
She instantly becomes the Democratic front-runner the minute Biden leaves, and that’s a powerful incentive to stay in.
And anyone like Ignatius who suggests Harris should join Biden in quitting will do so at the risk of tremendous backlash.