Ever since Kamala Harris joined the 2020 Democratic presidential ticket, top members of the party have been trying to figure out what to do with her in 2024 (or 2028 at the latest).
Very early on in the Biden-Harris administration, her approval rating cratered — and it has never rebounded. She elicits so little fear in other Democrats — even though she’s the vice president — California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) brazenly announced this week that he’s reportedly 100% in for the nomination should Biden not run again.
But Democrats are all about identity politics — and Harris is both female and part black. So how can anyone challenge her without seeming like a racist misogynist?
Harris is already playing the race and sex card — and, really, has been from the beginning of her lengthy career in politics.
“I have a problem, guys, with that phrase, ‘identity politics,’” Harris told the progressive gathering Netroots Nation before the 2018 mid-term elections. “Because let’s be clear, when people say that, it’s a pejorative. That phrase is used to divide, and it is used to distract. Its purpose is to minimize and marginalize issues that impact all of us. It is used to try and shut us up.”
After Biden’s train wreck interview on “60 Minutes” this week, it’s clear he won’t be able to handle the job come 2024. Sure, Democrats want to hold power so badly they’d prop him up in the Oval Office ala “Weekend at Bernie’s” if they could, but the economy will likely still be a mess even by then, so he’d be smart to ride off into the sunset at age 82.
That means a lot of Democrats are already jockeying for ’24. And like Newsom, other Democrats aren’t the least bit worried about bashing Harris.
Former Democratic California state Sen. Gloria Romero said in an interview on Fox News last week that Harris is using President Joe Biden to run for president in 2024.
“Let’s face it, Joe Biden is Kamala Harris’ meal ticket to potentially the presidency,” said Romero, the former Senate majority leader from 2005 to 2008.
“She needs to go ahead and to keep putting out there for the public and especially potential other opponents that Joe Biden is running, because the longer that people can believe that myth, the greater the opportunity is that no other contender like Newsom or [Pete] Buttigieg or even Hillary Clinton might step into the fray,” Romero added.
Well, that didn’t work. Since then, Newsom jumped in.
Liberal outlets are also playing up the identity politics, effectively warning off any, say, white male, from trying to swoop in to run against a black woman who happens to be the incumbent vice president.
“There’s a quiet frustration among some of Harris’s allies about the consistently negative tone of her coverage,” NYMag wrote this past May in a piece headlined, “There Has to Be a Backup Plan. There’s a Backup Plan, Right?”
“They point out that women leaders, especially women of color, are too often criticized as hostile and unlikable. A few have encouraged Harris and her new staff to fight back more aggressively against the barely coded racist and sexist attacks she receives regularly from right-wingers; some wish Biden’s aides would back her up more,” the mag said.
But Harris — who implied that Biden was racist during a 2020 Democratic primary debate — isn’t really that close to the president. When she got COVID back in late April, the White House was forced to admit that Biden wasn’t in any danger because the two weren’t “close contacts.”
According to several reports — all from liberal news outlets — there’s not much love between Biden and Harris.
Last year, a pair of CNN reporters wrote an article headlined, “Exasperation and dysfunction: Inside Kamala Harris’ frustrating start as vice president,” which cited dozens of alleged staffers in Harris’ office and the White House saying the veep is in deep trouble — and actually has been for a long time.
“With many sources speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the situation more frankly, they all tell roughly the same story: Harris’ staff has repeatedly failed her and left her exposed, and family members have often had an informal say within her office. Even some who have been asked for advice lament Harris’ overly cautious tendencies and staff problems, which have been a feature of every office she’s held, from San Francisco district attorney to U.S. Senate,” the reporters wrote.
The Daily Mail chimed in with this: “Joe Biden’s relationship with Kamala Harris is in crisis, with her staff furious that she is being ‘sidelined,’ while the president’s team are increasingly frustrated by how she is playing with the American public.”
Early on, Harris plunged to a 28% approval rating in one poll, the lowest in modern history. So perhaps it’s no surprise that Harris is, as CNN said, citing alleged White House sources, being “sidelined.”
“Interviews with nearly three dozen former and current Harris aides, administration officials, Democratic operatives, donors and outside advisers — who spoke extensively to CNN — reveal a complex reality inside the White House. Many in the vice president’s circle fume that she’s not being adequately prepared or positioned and instead is being sidelined.”
“The vice president herself has told several confidants she feels constrained in what she’s able to do politically. And those around her remain wary of even hinting at future political ambitions, with Biden’s team highly attuned to signs of disloyalty, particularly from the vice president,” CNN said.
After the report came out, the White House immediately circled the wagons, with Press Secretary Jen Psaki taking to Twitter to put the administration’s spin on the saga.
“For anyone who needs to hear it. @VP is not only a vital partner to @POTUS but a bold leader who has taken on key, important challenges facing the country — from voting rights to addressing root causes of migration to expanding broadband,” Psaki tweeted. Pshaw. How’s she doing on the whole border crisis Biden assigned her to handle?
But a passage in the CNN story said this: “Defenders and people who care for Harris are getting frantic. When they’re annoyed, some pass around a recent Onion story mocking her lack of more substantive work, one with the headline, ‘White House Urges Kamala Harris To Sit At Computer All Day In Case Emails Come Through.’ When they’re depressed, they bat down the Aaron Sorkin-style rumor that Biden might try to replace her by nominating her to a Supreme Court vacancy. That chatter has already reached top levels of the Biden orbit, according to one person who’s heard it.”
Then there’s the steady exodus of high-level departures from the vice president’s staff. At least a dozen key officials have departed since Inauguration Day amid reports that the veep is a bully and runs a highly dysfunctional office.
“With Kamala, you have to put up with a constant amount of soul-destroying criticism and also her own lack of confidence. So you’re constantly sort of propping up a bully and it’s not really clear why,” an unnamed staffer told The Washington Post last year.
Normally, the vice president can clear the field — she, in this case, has got the White House office, the ear of the president, and access to his enormous fundraiser operation. And usually, the veep can “clear the field” just by saying they plan to run.
But not so for Harris.
“She’s definitely not going to clear the f***ing field,” one veteran New Hampshire operative told Politico last November.
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.