Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Kamala Harris emerges top contender for Biden’s White House ticket if he quits


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Washington, July 3:  Kamala Harris, the Indian American Vice President, is emerging as a leading choice for Democrats to take over from President Joe Biden should he step aside, bowing to growing calls from within the party following his disastrous performance in the first president debate of the 2024 cycle last week.

A new poll shows she is within striking distance of former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, in a head-to-head matchup. Harris herself is being the loyal Vice-President of Biden, telling reporters that Biden is the party nominee and he will beat Trump again, after 2020. That hasn’t stopped Democrats from across the party from announcing their support for Harris.

“I ran for President in 2020. I was the first Presidential candidate to endorse Joe Biden in 2020. I love America. I love our Party. I love Joe Biden,” former Congressman Tim Ryan has written in a signed piece in Newsweek magazine.

“The Democratic Nominee in 2024 should be Kamala Harris.” Ryan ran in the 2020 primaries, which was eventually won by Biden who went on to win the race. “Witnessing Joe Biden’s struggle was heartbreaking,” Ryan wrote, referring to the debate.

“And we must forge a new path forward.” A fierce debate has been underway in the Democratic party since the debate last Thursday over Biden’s candidacy. No one disputes that Biden had a terrible debate.

His supporters have sought to portray it as “one bad night”, which does not define his candidacy. But there are those, including Ryan, who are arguing that the debate showed Biden is not up to the job and he should make way for someone younger and able. Even former President Barack Obama, a steadfast supporter of his former Vice-President, has privately expressed concerns about Biden’s chances after the debate, according to a report in The Washington Post.

Other Democrats on the list of possible replacements include California Governor Gavin Newsom, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker (whose family owns the Hyatt hotel chain), Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, and Maryland Governor Wes Moore.

Nothing can or will change until Biden himself chooses to step aside as he holds most of the party delegates who will meet in August to officially nominate him as the party candidate for the White House. These delegates are tied to him by party rules and they cannot switch their vote.

Only Biden can change all this by stepping aside, but so far he and his campaign have appeared dug in and determined to ride out this storm. Should he change his mind, Harris will be a serious contender for his mantle. Of all the probables, she is the only one to have gone through the kind of vetting that candidates for the White House are subjected to. As Biden’s running mate, Harris went through the wringer in 2020.

Her past, her career, personality traits, and her family were subjected to close scrutiny. As Biden’s Vice-President, she can justifiably claim the achievements of his administration, which are plenty, although not reflected in polls. In a new poll published by CNN on Tuesday, Harris fell only 2 percentage points between Trump in a matchup – 45 per cent to 47 per cent – which is really within the statistical margin of error. She performs better against Trump than her boss Biden, who trails the Republican nominee 43 per cent to 49 per cent.

If Harris does get the nomination, she will become the first Indian American to become the presidential nominee for a major party. There have been several who run for the nomination in both parties but no one has made it out of the primaries – Harris herself was a candidate for the nomination in 2020.

Among Republicans, Nikki Haley, the former Ambassador to the UN, was a contender for the nomination in 2024, ending her race just some months ago. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal ran for the Republican nomination in 2016, but did not survive the primaries.



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