With the midterm elections behind us now, folks are already setting their eyes on the 2024 presidential race, as former President Donald Trump has officially announced he’ll be tossing his hat into the ring for consideration for a third time. But he’s not the only one who might be getting geared up for the contest.
According to the Washington Times, Vice President Kamala Harris left on Wednesday for a weeklong trip to the Indo-Pacific region, which is the latest move made by the White House to help rehabilitate her image and prepare her to be the potential successor for President Joe Biden if he can’t, or isn’t able, to run in two years.
Harris has been the butt of many, many jokes and memes over the last two years, spitting out nothing but ridiculous word salads that made about as much sense as a screen door on a submarine and basically doing absolutely nothing while occupying her current position. Couple this with the fact her staff has suffered from frequent turnover and it seems unlikely that she would be a good choice for Democrats to make their official nominee.
However, it seems that she might be starting to find her footing.
“They are trying to send a message to other potential [2024 Democratic] candidates that they need to cool their heels because Harris is very much in the on-deck circle,” Patrick Basham, director of the Washington-based Democracy Institute, went on to say about the White House pushing the vice president.
“Ms. Harris became the administration’s point person on abortion, an issue that helped Democrats avoid a drubbing in last week’s midterms. She crisscrossed the nation stumping for Democrats, rallying the base to fight for abortion access,” the Washington Times reported.
The piece continued, “In September, Ms. Harris was dispatched to Japan where she successfully walked a diplomatic tightrope expressing the administration’s support for Taiwan while not inflaming tensions with China. It’s an issue that has tripped up her boss, Mr. Biden, multiple times. Ms. Harris won’t announce that she’ll be running for president while she and the world wait for Mr. Biden to decide if he’ll seek reelection. But she’s widely seen as among the top contenders for the Democratic primary if Mr. Biden decides to step aside.”
President Biden has stated that he is still planning to run for reelection in 2024, but also revealed he will not make a final decision until the early part of next year. With extremely low approval ratings, turning 80 years old, and plenty of evidence to suggest his cognitive abilities are in deep decline, many within the Democratic Party are suggesting that he call it a day after his term is up.
“When asked about her presidential aspirations during an interview on NBC News, Ms. Harris brushed off talk of running in 2024, saying she committed to winning another term for Mr. Biden,” the report said.
“And if he does [run], I will be running with him proudly,” she responded.
“Joel K. Goldstein, a vice presidential historian at the Saint Louis University School of Law, said there is no playbook for preparing a vice president to succeed a president during an administration’s first term. Most vice presidents’ political future hinges upon the successful reelection of their boss, he said,” according to the Washington Times.
What’s complicating matters is Biden’s advanced age.
“For Harris, it creates an uncertainty as to whether her first term as vice president is also her second term,” Mr. Goldstein commented. “It has a way of compressing things.”
Harris’ trip to the Indo-Pacific is designed to bolster her skills and experience in the realm of foreign policy. She’s set to attend the Asia-Economic Cooperation summit, hold a few belated meetings with the prime minister of Thailand, and meet up with the president of the Philippines, along with other leaders and local activists who are advocating for economic stability in the area as a means of blunting the expansion of China.
“The trip will again require Ms. Harris to walk a high-wire act when she visits Palawan, an island in the South China Sea. Beijing has claimed control over the territories, but a 2016 international arbitration ruling concluded China has no basis to exert control over Palawan, a major victory for the Philippines,” the report said. “It’s the type of hands-on foreign policy experience few candidates poses in their first campaign for the White House.”
A senior official with the White House stated that part of the vice president’s mission during the Indo-Pacific trip is to “reiterate the importance of international law.”
“If they want to make Harris look like a statesman and boost her commander-in-chief profile, the more they will give her the foreign stuff,” the Democracy Institute’s Mr. Basham went on to say. “It’s very hard to compete with a vice president who is acting presidential.”
Of course, the main problem with pushing Kamala Harris as a replacement for Biden is that she’s even more disliked than he is. The vast majority of the population just simply doesn’t care much for her. According to statistics found on FiveThirtyEight, a whopping 53.2 percent of Americans disapprove of Harris, while only 40.1 percent approve.
Not to mention the last time Harris ran for president, her campaign fell apart super fast, before the Iowa caucuses even had a chance to roll around.
Is this really the right move for the Democrats given all of that information?