The year 2022 should be too early to embark on heated speculation about the Democratic presidential candidate of 2024. But as it has already started, now is the time to resist arguments for the nomination of Vice President Kamala. Harris.
First of all, the current president, Joe Biden, has not ruled out getting re-elected. Although for years Biden has overseen a functioning presidency. The economy is blah. And he pushed through a desperately needed infrastructure plan that eluded his predecessor, despite the forceful tweets.
Such a program, Donald Trump tweeted in March 2020, “should be VERY BIG AND BOLD, two trillion dollars, and focus only on jobs and rebuilding our country’s old great infrastructure!”
So where was it?
As Biden’s vice president, Harris hasn’t done anything very wrong and she’s brilliant in some ways. But his political skills are clearly lacking. This is why his team of Democratic cheering must be countered.
Harris’ penchant for identity politics is both dated and political poison. Remember her performance in the first Democratic presidential debate, in 2020, when she almost branded Biden a racist for allegedly going against the kids’ bus to desegregate schools. Calling himself “the only black person on this scene” was his claim to authority on such matters.
As it turned out, the federally mandated bus transport in the 1970s was not at all popular with whites and blacks alike. She also distorted Biden’s position. He was opposed to forced bus transportation, not volunteering. Harris later said that was his position as well.
Harris’ obvious mission was to unjustly smear a main opponent, and to hell with Democratic solidarity. Although she self-dramatized as a member of a racially disadvantaged minority, her mother was actually an Indian medical researcher and her Jamaican father was a professor of economics at Stanford University. (That Biden made her his running mate still surprises me today.)
Even now, Harris is dealing with identity, complaining that media coverage of her would be different if she was white and male like the other vice presidents. You don’t hear that victimized speech from Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina born to Indian immigrants – and possible member of the Republican ticket in 2024. The bus problem was a long time ago, but Republicans have it. would undoubtedly move to the fore if Harris was the candidate.
As vice president, Harris had been tasked with settling border issues. But when Representative Henry Cuellar, a Democrat from Texas representing part of the Rio Grande Valley, asked staff to call Harris’s office to discuss his next visit, no one bothered to call him back. He said from now on he would go directly to the president’s office to discuss border issues rather than the vice president.
Harris is largely a product of the coastal liberal establishment in a party whose House leader is from San Francisco and the Senate leader is from New York. This year, Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart wrote no less than three columns of praise on Harris. We imagine that she returns her calls.
Democrats badly need the voices of the rest of the country in important positions. That and Harris’ lack of nuance in dealing with really complicated issues should make Democrats look elsewhere for their next presidential candidate. All of this assumes, of course, that Biden won‘t happen again. He could very well.
The Froma Harrop column is syndicated by Creators.