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Is Kamala Harris Still Biden's Heir Apparent?

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

In 2020, many believed that Joe Biden was more of a Trojan Horse than the candidate Democrats actually wanted. After twice electing Barack Obama, was the Democratic Party really excited about voting for another old white guy?

Establishment Democrats likely understood that Biden was a means to an end—someone “electable” compared to the radicals who were also running and who would turn off independents in a general election, like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Yet, for some reason, for his running mate, Joe Biden settled on Kamala Harris, whose candidacy was so lackluster, she dropped out before primary voting had even started. Moreover, it seems unlikely that Joe Biden actually wanted her on the ticket, seeing as her most significant moment of the primary campaign was when she essentially accused him of being racist.

Before Biden announced his candidacy, Kamala also said she believed the women who accused him of sexual misconduct. “I believe them and I respect them being able to tell their story and having the courage to do it,” she said.

That might explain why Kamala’s allies believe Joe Biden set her up to fail with “trash” assignments like the border crisis and election reform.

Nevertheless, she is Biden’s vice president. And, given Biden’s advanced age, she is best positioned to take over should Biden’s presidency end prematurely. Many believed she was always going to ascend to the presidency this way. Moreover, Biden was never the candidate Democrats really wanted; they just needed him to run the country for a while and then resign.

There’s just one problem: no one likes Kamala.

Okay, some people like her, but they are in the minority. According to a new USA Today-Suffolk University poll, only 28 percent of voters approve of the job she’s doing. It’s hard to believe even that many approve of how she’s doing. Her public appearances never seem to go well. If the Democrat establishment ever wanted her to take over before Joe Biden’s term is up, that plan is likely dead and buried now. If Kamala becomes president by succession, the Democrats will have to run her as their candidate in 2024, and you can bet that at this point, they don’t want to. It’s unlikely that Kamala Harris will have a personality transplant or suddenly become competent between now and 2024. So, if you were a Democrat strategist thinking that Joe Biden would get his moment in the office and then resign before his first term was over, right now you’re desperately trying to come up with a plan that might salvage the party’s chances in 2024.

Of course, there’s only one way for the Democratic Party to avoid being stuck with Kamala Harris, and that’s for Biden to announce he won’t seek reelection. He has promised that he will run again in 2024 and will probably maintain that position publicly until after the 2022 midterms, but the move would force Kamala to run in a primary—and we all know how well she did last time. Despite the fact that she’s the vice president, it’s hard to see Kamala doing any better in the primaries in 2024 than in 2020.

Imagine Kamala trying to defend the record of the Biden-Harris administration and succeeding? I don’t see it.