OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Rumors are flying that some of President Joe Biden’s allies have at least looked into the idea of replacing Vice President Kamala Harris.
In a scathing piece from New York Magazine, titled, “There Has to Be a Backup Plan. There’s a Backup Plan, Right? Inside the 2024 soul-searching that’s happening in every corner of the Democratic Party,” author Gabriel Debenedetti discusses how Democrats are facing a reckoning.
Debenedetti notes how there seems to be a major divide between Biden and his allies on one side and Harris and her loyalists on the other.
With Trumpism re-ascendant, ambivalence about Biden’s age and political standing is fueling skepticism just as the image of his understudy, Vice-President Kamala Harris, dips even further than his. The most recent analysis from the Los Angeles Times has her net approval rating at negative 11. The result is a bizarre disconnect within the Democratic Party, with two factions talking past each other.
One group consists of Biden and his loyalists, who are convinced that while the ticket’s numbers are undeniably bleak, they’re historically unsurprising for a president and VP facing their first midterm and will surely bounce back. The second group comprises a broad swath of the Democratic elite and rank and file alike, who suspect that vectors of age, succession, and strategy have created a dynamic with no obvious parallel in recent history.
Debenedetti notes that Harris expects Biden to run again in 2024, but if he did step aside, would he endorse Harris as the Democratic nominee?
Most think Harris would win the nomination if Biden backed her, and no one thinks he would ever actively endorse anyone else. But to her doubters, that itself is reason to think that “Biden has to run again because he desperately has to keep Trump out of the White House and defend our democracy,” as one Capitol Hill supporter puts it. “And I have no doubts Kamala Harris can’t win.”
The inside-baseball gripes and anonymous knifing would be easier to shrug off if not for the flurry of sub-rosa activity elsewhere in the party, which suggests a potential Harris candidacy may not be intimidating enough to keep others away from 2024.
This isn’t a random rumor being pushed, either.
Late last year, a CNN report alleged that White House insiders are painting a picture of total chaos and discontent between Biden and Harris.
“Kamala Harris is a leader but is not being put in positions to lead,” a top Democratic donor said. “[Biden] should be putting her in positions to succeed, as opposed to putting weights on her. If you did give her the ability to step up and help her lead, it would strengthen you and strengthen the party.”
“That chatter has already reached top levels of the Biden orbit, according to one person who’s heard it,” CNN reported.
The gossip has been floating around the media, as well.
A report from The Daily Wire acknowledged that the saga is dramatic, writing: “Still, these kinds of things have a way of spiraling. And Harris’ dismal first year as vice president likely won’t quash the rumors.”
CNN’s report claims Biden’s allies in the administration have avoided dealing with Harris because they see “entrenched dysfunction and lack of focus” from her.
“She’s perceived to be in such a weak position that top Democrats in and outside of Washington have begun to speculate privately, asking each other why the White House has allowed her to become so hobbled in the public consciousness, at least as they see it,” the report said. “Republicans and right-wing media turned Harris into a political target from the moment she was picked for the ticket. And implicit racism and sexism have been constant.”
Allies to Harris have essentially accused members of Biden’s circle of being racist for not defending her.
The MSM is finally catching up on the White House Shade War!
Welcome to the party pic.twitter.com/VXE8AYyip3
— Davos Detainee Poso (@JackPosobiec) November 15, 2021
Over the summer, a survey found that several Democrat strategists are alarmed at Harris’ sinking poll numbers and are questioning whether she would actually harm the party in the 2022 midterm elections.
With Harris being so unpopular, strategists worry that she won’t be able to help Democrats on the campaign trail.