The last U.S. senator who resigned in order to take office in the executive branch was Barack Obama in 2008. The election took place on November 4, 2008, and he resigned on the 16th, less than two weeks later. Joe Biden, however, didn’t resign from the U.S. Senate until January 15, 2009, just days before the inauguration. He even took the oath to serve as a U.S. Senator one final time in January, in order to secure a spot as the 14th-longest-serving senator. A truly historic distinction that obviously he deserves a trophy for, I suppose.
But why hasn’t Kamala Harris resigned from the U.S. Senate yet?
Historically speaking, senators who have gone on to become vice president didn’t exactly resign quickly after their elections. According to NPR, “Al Gore, Dan Quayle and Lyndon Johnson all gave up their Senate seats in early January, just before the new Congresses were sworn in. Walter Mondale and Hubert Humphrey gave up theirs in late December.” By that standard, Kamala Harris not having resigned yet isn’t historically anomalous.
But she could. And given the contested nature of the election results, a resignation from the U.S. Senate by Kamala Harris would be an incredibly bold and symbolic move that would tell the country that the Biden-Harris team is 100 percent confident that they are the legitimate victors of the 2020 election.
But no resignation has occurred.
It’s not as though her vacancy would potentially alter the balance of the U.S. Senate. California Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, would appoint her successor to serve out the remainder of her Senate term.
If Kamala Harris resigned immediately, it’s safe to say that Newsom would appoint a reliably radical left-wing Democrat to serve out the remainder of her term. Regardless of the outcome of the Georgia runoff elections, Harris’s seat would be quickly be filled. So, that’s a non-issue.
If I were on Team Biden, I’d be suggesting that Kamala Harris resign from the U.S. Senate immediately. Could you think of a more definitive and symbolic act that would project confidence in the legitimacy of the results of the election? I can’t. Joe Biden selecting people for his administration doesn’t mean anything. He’s not, in any legal sense, the president-elect. But Kamala Harris resigning from the U.S. Senate would be a significant demonstration of confidence that the results of the election were legitimate.
But something tells me that won’t happen. Trump’s legal team has challenges going on in multiple states, and they’ve collected an extraordinary amount of evidence that they say will be revealed over the next couple of weeks. Perhaps the reason we’re not getting the demonstration of confidence in the results of the election from Kamala Harris is that they are waiting for the legal challenges to play out. And for Kamala, that’s a safe move. As much as the media is trying to downplay the significance of Trump’s legal challenges and the accusations of voter fraud, these issues will eventually get their day in court. If the Trump team has the goods, this election may not be over yet… and maybe Kamala would rather play it safe than give up her seat in the U.S. Senate prematurely.
Matt Margolis is the author of Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis