Wednesday, August 17

The Sinking of Vice President Kamala Harris


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Joe Biden incurred one of his – not uncommon – dialectical blunders this week and referred to his vice president, Kamala Harris, as “President Harris.” It was not the first time that the US president had made the mistake, but this time it sounded like a paradox: Harris has deteriorated as a natural heir of Biden, between criticism of his management, lack of achievements, displacement of high positions and sinking in the polls.

Kamala, as everyone in the US knows her, is both closer – Biden is 79 and she’s first in line – and further away than ever from the presidency.

The aspiring vice presidents to the White House – have there been any

who has not had them? – They always have to perform a complicated dance, with one eye on their mandate and another on the next presidential campaign: it is necessary to contribute to the success of the presidency of which they are part and sign up as many, but, at the same time, do not burn. In Harris’s case it is even more complicated by the uncertainty about whether Biden, the oldest president in US history, will stand for re-election. Many – including himself, who in the 2020 campaign said he would be “a bridge” to a new generation of Democrats – have always believed that he would be a one-term president: he would run for re-election in 2024 on the verge of his 82nd birthday. and it would end its presidency with 86.

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Biden, perhaps in an attempt not to shake the waters at a time when it has also sunk in the polls, defended late last month that it will be presented in 2024. This week, the White House has assured that, in addition, will return to take to Harris like candidate to the vice-presidency. “There are no changes,” said spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre.

Perhaps it was an attempt to back Harris in a moment of weakness. Doubts about Harris’s viability as a Democratic candidate resurfaced a few days ago with the departure of Symone Sanders, a key part of his team, as main spokesperson and senior adviser. The farewell to Sanders, a veteran of Biden’s presidential campaign, was known shortly after the departure of Harris’ communication director Ashley Etienne. In the summer, two other members of her team came out, this time dedicated to production tasks, Karly Satkowiak and Gabrielle DeFrancheschi. It was then that information about the toxic and abusive climate began to appear in the vice president’s office. That reputation was not new to Harris. He has accompanied him during his career as a district attorney and attorney general in California, in his assault on the Senate in 2016 and in his campaign for the presidency – derailed at the earliest times – in 2020.

Old destructive patterns

“It’s sad to see her repeat the same old destructive patterns,” wrote in a column in the ‘San Francisco Examiner’ a former contributor, Gil Duran, a Democrat who lasted five months on his team in 2013 (only two people who have worked with the vice president since before 2020 they continue with her).

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The goodbye of Sanders and Etienne once again questioned the atmosphere indoors in the vice president’s office. A “dysfunctional and frustrated” team, with people “burned” a few months after arriving at the White House, led by an “inconsistent”, “humiliating”, “angry” boss, described the chronicles of ‘The Washington Post’ or the CNN.

The downside for Harris is that it is not just a toxic environment problem under maximum pressure. The public is not perceiving her as an effective leader. Biden gave him the poisoned task of solving the root problems of undocumented immigration, the socioeconomic situation, in the Central American countries where most of them come from, and, although Harris has managed to promote some initiatives, this year the record of arrests at the border. It also endorsed him legislation to protect the right to vote and, in the congressional jam and the internal struggles of the Democrats, it is far from seeing the light.

The result is a vice president without the support of the voters: 41% have a favorable opinion of her, compared to 52% who suspend her. They are far worse numbers than his four predecessors: Mike Pence, Joe Biden himself, Dick Cheney and Al Gore. The vice presidency was to be a springboard for Harris’ aspirations and could become a trap.

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