US VP’s own party questions her fitness to serve
More than a dozen senior Democrats doubt US Vice President Kamala Harris can win a presidential election.
“People are poised to pounce on anything – any misstep, any gaffe, anything she says – so she’s probably not getting the benefit of the doubt,” former Cobb County Democratic Party chair Jacquelyn Bettadapur told the Washington Post for its article published on Monday. Nor is the vice president “adept as a communicator,” she added.
Many of the Democrats who spoke to the Post – most on condition of anonymity – insisted they personally liked the VP, but feared her “underwhelming” performance since joining President Joe Biden’s administration would prevent her from closing the enthusiasm gap among voters should Biden opt not to run for reelection.
Beyond concerns that Harris lacks the “force, charisma and skill to mount a winning presidential campaign,” some Democrats worried the diversity bona fides that had helped secure her position as Biden’s running mate might harm her in a general election, framing Hillary Clinton's electoral failures as proof voters weren't ready for a female president – never mind a black female president.
While Biden has strongly hinted he will run again in 2024, he is already the oldest president ever to have served, and would be 86 at the conclusion of his second term, raising questions about his fitness even among the party faithful. Prominent Democrats like New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin have declined to endorse him, while a poll conducted last month suggested 58% of voters don’t want him to run again.
Harris would face an uphill climb to gain popular support, however. The former California senator failed to win a single state in 2020’s Democratic primaries, dropping out before voting began after poor debate performance and trouble retaining staff sandbagged her campaign. Her approval rating hovers at a dismal 38.4%, below Biden’s own 42.4%.
Even the White House recently had trouble naming any of Harris’ accomplishments since taking office. Asked last month about the progress the VP had made in solving the migrant crisis, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre appeared to draw a blank, suggesting the reporter contact Harris’ office directly. Harris infamously did not visit the Mexican border for three months after she was tasked with addressing the situation, even as record numbers of illegal immigrants crossed into the US.