The Kamala Problem

The Kamala Problem

Government and Politics

May 15, 2023

As President Biden gears up to begin his bid for the 2024 nomination, the world assumes his running mate will remain Kamala Harris. The sitting Vice President has kept a low profile throughout the administration and still managed to garner subpar approval ratings. Despite the historical precedent of Vice Presidents succeeding their predecessors in running for the Oval Office, it seems unlikely that Harris will continue the tradition come 2028. Though she will always remain the first female Vice President in American History, her chance of becoming the next Commander in Chief probably rests inversely with Biden’s likelihood of the same.

While his recently announced campaign slogan is an ironic “Finish the Job!” some are beginning to speculate that Scranton Joe has neither the physical stamina nor the mental fortitude to make it to his second oath of office. Why, then, outside of overt deference to an elder statesman, does the Democratic National Committee seem so intent on lending Joe the nomination? Against a backdrop of plummeting approval ratings and little to show by way of first-term policy, Biden is less than an ideal candidate. With lukewarm- borderline suspicious- support from the Democratic Bloc and floundering enthusiasm among Independent and Young (read: critical) voters, his main appeal may be that he is neither Donald Trump nor Kamala Harris.

Though ostensibly qualified for our highest office, the Howard and University of California Law School graduate has not been very popular among the general public- for either her policy or personality. However, the optics of leapfrogging a Vice President- the traditional sequential choice- if a sitting leader either finishes or forgoes a second term would be catastrophic for the Democratic Brand, Harris in particular. Currently, a microcosmic example is playing out in California as party officials pressure Governor Gavin Newsom to select a black woman to succeed ailing Senator Diane Feinstein. Given that Harris is already a heartbeat away from the Presidency, not supporting her for the nomination is unfathomable. Not only would she theoretically be the first woman to hold our nation’s highest office, Harris would make further history by being the first Asian American president. Failure to coalesce around her campaign would risk the DNC losing its perceived edge on racial and affirmative action protocol and could serve to enrage a good portion of its base.

If Biden were to retire without seeking a second term, it is doubtful Kamala herself would be able to clinch a clean nomination. If, however, Biden endures the primary but declines to see the remainder of the election through, he can almost hand the position to Harris. If President Biden finishes the campaign, whether or not successful in his pursuit, the DNC is gifted four years to dispense with the Kamala Problem and develop a more legitimate candidate who satisfies their politics.

How do you feel about Kamala Harris? Is the Biden campaign an end-run around her nomination?

Hilary Gunn is a Connecticut native with a degree in Criminal Justice from the George Washington University. She works for a nonprofit and has previously collaborated with the CT GOP as an activist, political campaign manager and field director, and social media organizer. She is currently serving in her fourth term of municipal office and has previously acted as a delegate on the Republican Town Committee.