Democrats look to Kamala Harris – but could she beat Trump?


On Saturday afternoon, US Vice President Kamala Harris took the stage at a black cultural festival in New Orleans, sharing her life story and accomplishments in the White House. This type of event has been a regular part of her schedule during her three-and-a-half years as Joe Biden’s deputy, typically accompanied by a modest press pack.

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However, as Democrats in Washington grew increasingly anxious about Joe Biden’s ability to run for re-election following a troubling debate performance against Donald Trump, the number of reporters following Ms. Harris increased significantly.

During her appearance, Harris did not address the mounting questions about Biden’s fitness for office or the speculation that he might step aside in favor of her. Instead, she spoke about ambition and resilience, encouraging her audience to ignore naysayers. “People in your life will tell you, it’s not your time. It’s not your turn. Nobody like you has done it before,” she said. “Don’t you ever listen to that.”

Since the problematic debate on June 27, Harris has defended Biden, arguing that his presidential record should not be overshadowed by a single debate performance. Biden has remained defiant, insisting he will be the Democratic nominee.

Amid growing calls for Biden to step aside, some prominent Democrats are rallying behind the 59-year-old Harris as the natural successor. Congressman Adam Schiff of California suggested on NBC’s Meet The Press that Biden needs to either secure an overwhelming win or pass the torch to someone who can, indicating that Harris could potentially beat Trump.

Despite this support, some Democrats remain skeptical of Harris’s candidacy, pointing to her struggles during the 2020 Democratic primaries and her uneven record and low approval ratings as vice president. Nonetheless, figures like Schiff and Congressman Jim Clyburn are promoting Harris as the obvious choice if Biden bows to party pressure.

Supporters of Harris highlight polls indicating she might perform better than Biden in a potential match-up against Trump. They argue she has the national profile, campaign infrastructure, and appeal to younger voters necessary for a smooth transition four months before the election.

An elevation to the top of the ticket would be a remarkable turnaround for Harris, who was once seen as a political liability by some in the Biden administration. Jamal Simmons, a Democratic strategist and Harris’s former communications director, noted that Harris has long been underestimated. “Whether she’s a partner to the president or she has to lead the ticket, she is somebody who Republicans and the Trump campaign need to take seriously,” he said.

Since the debate fallout, Harris has adjusted her schedule to stay close to Biden. She attended a critical meeting with Democratic governors and was by Biden’s side during the Fourth of July celebrations, forgoing her usual tradition of hosting a barbecue at her Los Angeles home.

In her public appearances, Harris has focused on criticizing Trump, portraying him as a threat to democracy and women’s rights, while offering steadfast support for Biden. She is carefully balancing ambition and loyalty, avoiding any indication of disloyalty to the president.

Harris is not the only potential Biden replacement being discussed. Other names include governors Gretchen Whitmer, Gavin Newsom, Josh Shapiro, and JB Pritzker, as well as Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Congressman Ro Khanna. While Harris and her team have refrained from public speculation, they are aware of the behind-the-scenes discussions and the growing support for her candidacy.

A memo circulating online, allegedly from Democratic operatives, argues for promoting Harris despite her “real political weaknesses.” It contends that bypassing her would cause disarray and highlight intra-party conflicts. Prominent figures like Clyburn have also emphasized that the party should not undermine Harris if Biden steps down.

Republicans are also preparing for the possibility of a Harris candidacy. Senator Lindsey Graham warned that she would be a “vigorous” candidate and suggested that her progressive policies align more closely with Bernie Sanders than Biden, hinting at potential Republican attack lines.

Trump has criticized Harris as “pathetic” since the debate, but the main concern for Democrats is whether she has a better chance of defeating Trump than Biden. While some polls suggest she might fare better against Trump, polling experts caution that such surveys are speculative and that voter sentiment could change if Biden steps aside.

Harris’s approval ratings remain low, similar to Biden and Trump, and unless Biden decides to step down, Democratic supporters seem resigned to backing the current ticket. At the Essence festival, some attendees expressed uncertainty about Harris’s electability, but emphasized their primary goal of defeating Trump.

Ultimately, while Harris’s candidacy remains a topic of intense discussion, the decision rests with Biden and the broader Democratic Party as they navigate this challenging political landscape.

By Naija247news
By Naija247news
Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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