Has anybody given President Biden the news? You know, that he either is not going to run for reelection in 2024 or won’t be around to run?
Because in the last week, a story line has emerged promoting Vice President Kamala Harris’s 2024 presidential run, complete with polls, political advice, and media reports that strongly indicate the nomination is hers for the asking.
The Washington Post wrote about building “her brand” for a run for the presidency. The Los Angeles Times created a team just to cover her rise. And the Zogby Poll broke out her approval ratings for special 2024 attention.
“This is not normal, but we’ve never elected a 78-year-old president before. So while no one’s going to say he can’t possibly live that long, everyone’s thinking it,” said Jo Freeman, a political analyst and author.
“The unusual factor is President Biden’s age in 2024. He will be 82 in November of that year,” said the University of Virginia’s Larry Sabato. “Will he really run again? Most observers are betting against it, but most observers could also be wrong. Biden has spent decades with the White House as his goal. Now that he achieved his dream, will he give it up so quickly?”
Typically, new vice presidents are political furniture in the early days of an administration. And Harris has filled that role well, swearing Cabinet members into office and standing near Biden when he signs executive orders.
Faced with Biden’s low-key approach to governing, the first woman vice president is the candy that the media and pundits are gobbling up instead.
It’s true, of course, that Biden was the oldest president by eight years when he stepped into the Oval Office last month. And he arrived on the heels of numerous polls that showed majorities expecting him to die in office or quit after one term, a scenario he hinted at during the campaign.
So it’s natural that the political class is already looking at the chances Harris has to succeed Biden and what she has to do to clear that path.
Pollster Jonathan Zogby helped to feed the trend with a new poll that had the vice president with a positive approval rating of 53%, with a disapproval rating of 37%.
“Vice President Kamala Harris is very popular at the moment. She is seen as a trailblazer and breaking the glass ceiling as the first woman and African American vice president. The mainstream media fawns over her,” he said.
Zogby also said that Harris is straddling the traditional backseat role of vice president while keeping the attention of her base.
“Harris has the acumen and experience to sit in the background and help sell President Biden’s vision but knows all well that she could be vaulted into the position of president if Joe Biden can’t handle a four-year term,” he said.
Freeman, a political activist and feminist often quoted in stories about women breaking the glass ceiling, went a bit further to advise Harris to move quickly to define herself.
“She’s in an unusual situation. It’s very unusual for the vice president to have reasonably good knowledge that their boss, the president, isn’t going to run for reelection,” she speculated.
Harris, she said, should pick a core issue that is supported by liberals but also doesn’t alienate conservatives and show that “she can exercise power.” That, Freeman explained, may help to ease concerns in the nation about having a female president.
And as the vice president to a former vice president and frequent presidential candidate, Zogby said Harris has the ultimate tutor and parallel model to follow in Biden.
“Just because she was an unpopular presidential candidate and possibly successful vice president doesn’t mean she can’t pull off the impossible and become president. She only has to look to her boss for that blueprint of a successful presidential run,” he said.
Author: Paul Bedard
Source: Washington Examiner: Kamala Harris 2024 buzz surges