Kamala Harris: A Political Liability or Vice Presidential Asset?

Vice President Kamala Harris may have made history as the first female, African American, and Asian American VP, but it appears that she could be a political liability for President Joe Biden if he seeks a second term in 2024. According to a recent poll by Rasmussen Reports, only 39% of voters want to see Harris be Biden’s running mate if he does decide to run again.[0] This sentiment is shared by Democrats, as only 53% of the party want to see him run with Harris again.

The Washington Post reported that Democrat strategists and party leaders have expressed concern about Harris’ ability to be electable, especially if Biden steps aside and she becomes the presidential nominee in 2024. Harris’s tenure has been underwhelming, marked by struggles as a communicator and at times near-invisibility, leaving many rank-and-file Democrats unpersuaded that she has the force, charisma and skill to mount a winning presidential campaign.[1]

The New York Times reported that some Democrats felt Harris “lacked the necessary ‘political instincts’ to clear a primary field”, while Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who challenged Biden and Harris for the 2020 Democratic nomination, caused a stir when she endorsed Biden for a second term but shied away from promoting Harris for his running mate.

Two Democrats reportedly recalled private conversations in which former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lamented that Harris could not win the presidency because she did not have the political instincts to clear the primary field.

The poll also found that 56% of respondents did not believe that 80-year-old Biden should run for reelection. Meanwhile, Jamal Simmons, who recently stepped down as Harris’ communication director, said she “forces us to recalibrate our assumptions.”[2]

It appears that Harris’ legacy could be one of a political liability.[3] Despite Biden’s signal that he plans to seek reelection with Harris by his side, many within the party feel she has failed to stake her claim. Democrats are not convinced that she has the force, charisma and skill to mount a winning presidential campaign, and her approval rating is lower than Biden’s, which could act as a drag on his reelection chances.[1] It remains to be seen whether Biden will drop Harris from his 2024 ticket, but she may have already served her purpose.[4]

0. “Rasmussen Poll: More Than Half Say Biden Shouldn't Run in 2024” Newsmax, 3 Feb. 2023, https://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/poll-biden-harris/2023/02/03/id/1107227/

1. “Democrats: Kamala Harris’s Tenure Is ‘Underwhelming,’ ‘Marked by Struggles’” National Review, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/democrats-kamala-harris-tenure-is-underwhelming-marked-by-struggles

2. “Kamala Harris' aides bought new desk chairs because they were too big” Business Insider, 6 Feb. 2023, https://www.businessinsider.com/kamala-harris-vice-president-aides-desk-chairs-too-big-2023-2

3. “Even Some Allies Have Lost Hope in ‘Political Liability' Kamala Harris, Brutal NYT Profile Says” The Daily Beast, 6 Feb. 2023, https://www.thedailybeast.com/even-some-allies-have-lost-hope-in-kamala-harris-brutal-nyt-profile-says

4. “Kamala's work here is done” Washington Examiner, 6 Feb. 2023, https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/restoring-america/equality-not-elitism/kamalas-work-here-is-done