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It’s too late for the Democrats to ditch Kamala Harris

Clinging on for dear life. Credit: Getty.

February 2, 2023 - 1:45pm

Senator Elizabeth Warren gave a telling interview earlier this week. First, when asked whether Joe Biden should run for re-election in 2024, Warren responded with an enthusiastic yes. But when asked if Biden should pick Kamala Harris again as his vice-president, Warren deflected and refused to say whether Harris should be on the Democratic ticket.

This might seem inconsequential, but it’s not. Warren is one of the most powerful politicians in the Democratic Party, and her comment is part of a broader trend of Democrats publicly expressing doubts about Harris. A Washington Post article published on Monday included comments from over a dozen Democratic leaders and activists who are disappointed with Harris’s tenure as vice president and see her as a political and electoral liability. 

It’s good that Democrats are finally coming to this realisation and are confident enough to say so publicly, because Harris is indeed political deadweight. The problem is that this realisation has come far too late. If this scepticism had been aired publicly a year or two ago, then Biden could have begun laying the groundwork to select a different running mate. But this late into the game, Biden has no realistic option other than to choose Harris again as his second-in-command. Dropping her from the ticket would bring intense backlash from corners of the party that would see it as a snub to the first black female vice-president. That is a political risk that Biden, an old white man at the head of a party that’s increasingly obsessed with identity, cannot afford.

The fundamental problem for Democrats is that Biden turns 81 this year and would be 82 by the time of his second inauguration. It’s entirely possible that he might face a health crisis midway through the campaign or during his second term, and Harris would have to fill in for him on the campaign trail or in the White House. Such a situation would likely spell disaster for the Democrats. Harris’s 2020 presidential run was a mess, and she’s accomplished little in the White House other than occasionally going viral for embarrassing interviews or public appearances. Nothing suggests that Harris would suddenly become competent were she to get a promotion. 

In other words, Democrats sleepwalked into making Harris the heir to Biden’s presidency because they were reluctant to publicly acknowledge her many flaws. And while some within the party are finally beginning to speak up, it’s too late to make any difference. Seeing this unfold has been like watching an oil tanker slowly heading for an iceberg. And only when the ship is just about to crash does the crew finally realise what is happening and try to change course.

If there’s any silver lining for Democrats, it’s that the party may learn a valuable lesson: in the long run, treating politicians with kid gloves is unwise. Because when it’s taboo to criticise your party’s top brass, then flawed politicians like Harris are able to climb their way into leadership positions. And by the time everyone else realises what’s happening and finds the nerve to speak up, it’s too late.


Seth Moskowitz is an editor at Persuasion. He blogs at Brain Candy and tweets at @skmoskowitz.

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polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

Amateurs. We can dump three PMs in a year.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

Amateurs. We can dump three PMs in a year.

J Bryant
J Bryant
1 year ago

I agree that Harris is incompetent but I strongly disagree with the suggestion that the Democrats are only now starting to acknowledge, at least among themselves, her incompetence.
Harris was only ever there because she is a non-white woman. Her appointment to the ticket was pure symbolism and was the result of the Dems’ obsession with race. Merit never entered into it. The Dems were desperate to regain the White House and the Biden/Harris ticket provided a seemingly innocuous presidential candidate plus a “person of color” vice president. No one was looking three years down the road and worrying about Biden/Harris’s re-election prospects.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

And when you hire people based entirely on skin color and sex, you get unqualified people. Of course, Democrats have never been able to admit this, so it’s not surprising they are blind to it now.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 year ago

Yes. Remember when Biden was asked who he would choose as VP, and he immediately said they should be a woman of colour? There’s no way he could back out of it after that. This is all his own doing.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

Why do they refer to the first Indian American VP as black?

0 0
0 0
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Oh!Please!Harris is NOT Indian.She has never described her self as such.She prefers to be Black.She only discovered her partly South Asian heritage when running as Biden’s VP.She’s as Indian as Boris is Turkish!

Adi Khan
Adi Khan
1 year ago
Reply to  0 0

That is not true. Her mother is from India, so she didn’t ‘discover’ her Indian heritage. Her father is Afro-Jamaican. But the truth is, this shouldn’t matter at all. Unfortunately it does.

Adi Khan
Adi Khan
1 year ago
Reply to  0 0

That is not true. Her mother is from India, so she didn’t ‘discover’ her Indian heritage. Her father is Afro-Jamaican. But the truth is, this shouldn’t matter at all. Unfortunately it does.

0 0
0 0
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Oh!Please!Harris is NOT Indian.She has never described her self as such.She prefers to be Black.She only discovered her partly South Asian heritage when running as Biden’s VP.She’s as Indian as Boris is Turkish!

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

Why do they refer to the first Indian American VP as black?

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago

Are you saying Democrats pander – or are racist ?
: )

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 year ago

Yes. Remember when Biden was asked who he would choose as VP, and he immediately said they should be a woman of colour? There’s no way he could back out of it after that. This is all his own doing.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago

Are you saying Democrats pander – or are racist ?
: )

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

If she was/is symbolism what was Sarah Palin when she was on the ticket? Merit?

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Palin stood her corner. She also wore a cowboy outfit as well as George and Ronnie did. ;- ).

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

Competent to step in and lead the free world if something had happened to POTUS?
I think we’d all agree tokenism in a VP not a wise move

Last edited 1 year ago by j watson
j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Paula G

Competent to step in and lead the free world if something had happened to POTUS?
I think we’d all agree tokenism in a VP not a wise move

Last edited 1 year ago by j watson
Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Palin was the very effective governor of a state. Harris got her attorney general job performing a different sort, on her knees.

Ben Shipley
Ben Shipley
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Palin posed the same issues as Harris. She got the nom because she was a woman who could see all the way to Russia from her front porch. Dems might own the identity crisis today, but it’s a problem in America in general.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Shipley

That silly jab about seeing Russia from her porch was a line from a SNL skit. Palin never said it. Your use of it to malign the former governor illustrates the “problem” with America: our utterly useless media and its credulous quoters.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Shipley

That silly jab about seeing Russia from her porch was a line from a SNL skit. Palin never said it. Your use of it to malign the former governor illustrates the “problem” with America: our utterly useless media and its credulous quoters.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Looks mainly. She was quite attractive but obviously a numpty. Look at how her kids turned out and then tell me she was a conservative leader.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Palin stood her corner. She also wore a cowboy outfit as well as George and Ronnie did. ;- ).

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Palin was the very effective governor of a state. Harris got her attorney general job performing a different sort, on her knees.

Ben Shipley
Ben Shipley
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Palin posed the same issues as Harris. She got the nom because she was a woman who could see all the way to Russia from her front porch. Dems might own the identity crisis today, but it’s a problem in America in general.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Looks mainly. She was quite attractive but obviously a numpty. Look at how her kids turned out and then tell me she was a conservative leader.

Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

How can you people not see why Heels Up Kamala was chosen? NOT that she is a woman, Not for her Race – NO

It is because she is the only person other than Senator John Fetterman, In all USA, that would force the party to keep Biden as President. NO one wants Kamala to become President – that is her Superpower – yes, she is That unbelievably bad that even Hunter’s Dad – a totally dementia case who sniffs tittle girls and shakes hands with ghosts on stage, and holds very scary, scarlet lit, Na* i like ceremonies where he calls Conservatives White Supr* mist Terrorists; even he is better than that mentally deficient hyena – and so they do not exercise Section 25 and fire him. That is why it has to be Kamala – if he had any other running mate, even if it was George Floyd as VP – they would get rid of Bidenï»ż for mentally being gone….

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Obama put Harris in play (much to Michelle’s dismay). And even though she dropped out of her primary with barely 3% interest – the Big Guy agreed to ‘run’ her. Lots of brilliant thinking at the top there. Rather reflects the disorder in national governance today.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

And when you hire people based entirely on skin color and sex, you get unqualified people. Of course, Democrats have never been able to admit this, so it’s not surprising they are blind to it now.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

If she was/is symbolism what was Sarah Palin when she was on the ticket? Merit?

Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

How can you people not see why Heels Up Kamala was chosen? NOT that she is a woman, Not for her Race – NO

It is because she is the only person other than Senator John Fetterman, In all USA, that would force the party to keep Biden as President. NO one wants Kamala to become President – that is her Superpower – yes, she is That unbelievably bad that even Hunter’s Dad – a totally dementia case who sniffs tittle girls and shakes hands with ghosts on stage, and holds very scary, scarlet lit, Na* i like ceremonies where he calls Conservatives White Supr* mist Terrorists; even he is better than that mentally deficient hyena – and so they do not exercise Section 25 and fire him. That is why it has to be Kamala – if he had any other running mate, even if it was George Floyd as VP – they would get rid of Bidenï»ż for mentally being gone….

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Obama put Harris in play (much to Michelle’s dismay). And even though she dropped out of her primary with barely 3% interest – the Big Guy agreed to ‘run’ her. Lots of brilliant thinking at the top there. Rather reflects the disorder in national governance today.

J Bryant
J Bryant
1 year ago

I agree that Harris is incompetent but I strongly disagree with the suggestion that the Democrats are only now starting to acknowledge, at least among themselves, her incompetence.
Harris was only ever there because she is a non-white woman. Her appointment to the ticket was pure symbolism and was the result of the Dems’ obsession with race. Merit never entered into it. The Dems were desperate to regain the White House and the Biden/Harris ticket provided a seemingly innocuous presidential candidate plus a “person of color” vice president. No one was looking three years down the road and worrying about Biden/Harris’s re-election prospects.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago

“It’s entirely possible that he might face a health crisis midway through the campaign or during his second term 
”. Do ya think? He is in the middle of a health crisis that is going to kill him – Alzheimers. In any event it is clear that the party is going to get rid of him – now that mainstream media has ‘gasp’ suddenly all at once discovered a laptop full of evidence that is he is a crook who was peddling influence with his son and brother.

Denis Stone
Denis Stone
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Is this not the moment for Pete Buttigieg to step forward? A Rhodes scholar, personable, smart, ex-military, highly credible – and not just another old man (like |Trump).

Richard Stanley
Richard Stanley
1 year ago
Reply to  Denis Stone

Buttigieg will never become the Democrat candidate for President, because the African-American electorate utterly refuses to vote for a publicly proud White homosexual and his potential Second Husband. This was made absolutely clear in the primary elections leading to nomination of the Biden/Harris ticket. That Buttigieg is a mediocre political hack doesn’t help, either.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Denis Stone

Oh my. He has done utterly nothing positive in his current role. What on earth would he run on, besides his husband?

Richard Stanley
Richard Stanley
1 year ago
Reply to  Denis Stone

Buttigieg will never become the Democrat candidate for President, because the African-American electorate utterly refuses to vote for a publicly proud White homosexual and his potential Second Husband. This was made absolutely clear in the primary elections leading to nomination of the Biden/Harris ticket. That Buttigieg is a mediocre political hack doesn’t help, either.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Denis Stone

Oh my. He has done utterly nothing positive in his current role. What on earth would he run on, besides his husband?

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Biden’s so-called ‘run’ is a head fake otherwise he’d be claimed a lame duck. We just have to endure the senility and hope that his minders are actually’minding’.

Denis Stone
Denis Stone
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Is this not the moment for Pete Buttigieg to step forward? A Rhodes scholar, personable, smart, ex-military, highly credible – and not just another old man (like |Trump).

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

Biden’s so-called ‘run’ is a head fake otherwise he’d be claimed a lame duck. We just have to endure the senility and hope that his minders are actually’minding’.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago

“It’s entirely possible that he might face a health crisis midway through the campaign or during his second term 
”. Do ya think? He is in the middle of a health crisis that is going to kill him – Alzheimers. In any event it is clear that the party is going to get rid of him – now that mainstream media has ‘gasp’ suddenly all at once discovered a laptop full of evidence that is he is a crook who was peddling influence with his son and brother.

Bruce Edgar
Bruce Edgar
1 year ago

The Democrats have long used delay to postpone serious reforms and policy discussion. It’s a virtue signaling strategy that enables them to posture and propose, but not to deliver. As one who is no longer willing to be stampeded by the “lesser of two evils argument,” I suggest that if either of these two incompetents is on the 24 ticket, just vote “No.” The silver lining of a subsequent Republican victory would be to force the Democrats–and their captive, dutiful audience–to re-assess their follies, and ultimately decide whether to listen to their people and to their progressive wing. Before a decrepit thing can be improved, it must first be torn down.

Last edited 1 year ago by Bruce Edgar
Bruce Edgar
Bruce Edgar
1 year ago

The Democrats have long used delay to postpone serious reforms and policy discussion. It’s a virtue signaling strategy that enables them to posture and propose, but not to deliver. As one who is no longer willing to be stampeded by the “lesser of two evils argument,” I suggest that if either of these two incompetents is on the 24 ticket, just vote “No.” The silver lining of a subsequent Republican victory would be to force the Democrats–and their captive, dutiful audience–to re-assess their follies, and ultimately decide whether to listen to their people and to their progressive wing. Before a decrepit thing can be improved, it must first be torn down.

Last edited 1 year ago by Bruce Edgar
R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

America’s racial issues are responsible for this idiot still being in post when in British Political Time (BPT) she would have been turfed out a year ago.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

America’s racial issues are responsible for this idiot still being in post when in British Political Time (BPT) she would have been turfed out a year ago.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago

Oh, please. Like Joe Biden is in charge now? The same people will run the show for Kamala, too.

Really, how much more embarrassing will she be than Joe? Okay, maybe. Yes, perhaps.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago

Oh, please. Like Joe Biden is in charge now? The same people will run the show for Kamala, too.

Really, how much more embarrassing will she be than Joe? Okay, maybe. Yes, perhaps.

Aidan A
Aidan A
1 year ago

Even if Democrats as a party establishment learn a lesson it’s too late. Generations of people have been indoctrinated and it will take years for that to change. Colleges dropping test scores so more black and hispanic people can enroll, billions spent on mandatory DEI, victimhood as a social currency for women, minorities and various new gender types, openly limiting prospects of straight white men through the white privilege narrative, calling masculinity toxic, etc. The party has no choice but to select candidates based on identity at the expense of qualifications.

Aidan A
Aidan A
1 year ago

Even if Democrats as a party establishment learn a lesson it’s too late. Generations of people have been indoctrinated and it will take years for that to change. Colleges dropping test scores so more black and hispanic people can enroll, billions spent on mandatory DEI, victimhood as a social currency for women, minorities and various new gender types, openly limiting prospects of straight white men through the white privilege narrative, calling masculinity toxic, etc. The party has no choice but to select candidates based on identity at the expense of qualifications.

Bob Murray
Bob Murray
1 year ago

An oil tankard???????

Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob Murray

Drat! You beat me to it.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob Murray

*Hic

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob Murray

Drat! You beat me to it.

Paula G
Paula G
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob Murray

*Hic

Last edited 1 year ago by Paula G
Bob Murray
Bob Murray
1 year ago

An oil tankard???????

Graeme Kemp
Graeme Kemp
1 year ago

An oil “tankard” heading for an iceberg? Is that a full pint ?

Jacqueline Walker
Jacqueline Walker
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme Kemp

Great mental image though.

bill blax
bill blax
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme Kemp

This “oil tankard” reference threatens to create a comparison between the author himself and the subject of his article.

Last edited 1 year ago by bill blax
Jacqueline Walker
Jacqueline Walker
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme Kemp

Great mental image though.

bill blax
bill blax
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme Kemp

This “oil tankard” reference threatens to create a comparison between the author himself and the subject of his article.

Last edited 1 year ago by bill blax
Graeme Kemp
Graeme Kemp
1 year ago

An oil “tankard” heading for an iceberg? Is that a full pint ?

Joe Donovan
Joe Donovan
1 year ago

A fake Indian challenging the qualifications of a fake black woman? Sounds like a real speed bump for intersectionality.

Joe Donovan
Joe Donovan
1 year ago

A fake Indian challenging the qualifications of a fake black woman? Sounds like a real speed bump for intersectionality.

David Kingsworthy
David Kingsworthy
1 year ago

You’re all forgetting that it’s never too late to replace a black woman with a black trans woman, and actually score more points.

David Kingsworthy
David Kingsworthy
1 year ago

You’re all forgetting that it’s never too late to replace a black woman with a black trans woman, and actually score more points.

Chris Hume
Chris Hume
1 year ago

Watch the narrative shift when she becomes the running mate again. The New York Times will dismiss all criticism as simple misogyny and/or racism, and the hagiographies will flow. Phantom ‘achievements’ will appear and the criticism she has received will be spun as ‘overcoming trolls and naysayers’. We’ll be expected to forget what we witnessed for 4 years.

Chris Hume
Chris Hume
1 year ago

Watch the narrative shift when she becomes the running mate again. The New York Times will dismiss all criticism as simple misogyny and/or racism, and the hagiographies will flow. Phantom ‘achievements’ will appear and the criticism she has received will be spun as ‘overcoming trolls and naysayers’. We’ll be expected to forget what we witnessed for 4 years.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago

Biden is unlikely to actually run despite him saying so. Harris couldn’t win in any primary before and will not qualify for ’24. While Newsome thinks he’s the one, his record exists and is bad. Interesting times for the Democrats.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

Obama’s to blame for the Democrats’ lack of ‘bench’. Not only did he preside over a historic mid-term shellacking pushing talent out of the Democrat Party, he also barely campaigned for others being so self-consumed with his own fabulousness.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

Obama’s to blame for the Democrats’ lack of ‘bench’. Not only did he preside over a historic mid-term shellacking pushing talent out of the Democrat Party, he also barely campaigned for others being so self-consumed with his own fabulousness.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago

Biden is unlikely to actually run despite him saying so. Harris couldn’t win in any primary before and will not qualify for ’24. While Newsome thinks he’s the one, his record exists and is bad. Interesting times for the Democrats.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago

The most important thing to know about Harris is that she likes ‘yellow electric school buses’ and wears ‘blue suits’. That’s all.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago

The most important thing to know about Harris is that she likes ‘yellow electric school buses’ and wears ‘blue suits’. That’s all.

bill blax
bill blax
1 year ago

I question this statement: “Dropping her from the ticket would bring intense backlash from corners of the party that would see it as a snub to the first black female vice-president.”
I doubt that many black Americans would be sorry if she were dropped. Obama already disillusioned them. Moreover, to imply that blacks would feel snubbed simply if Harris, “the first black female vice-president,” were dropped, is to suggest that color is the only thing that matters to them. I don’t think that is at all true.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  bill blax

Black America doesn’t think of her as one of their own. She’s Indian.

Chris Hume
Chris Hume
1 year ago
Reply to  bill blax

This is true, but Democratic Party activists would see it differently.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  bill blax

Black America doesn’t think of her as one of their own. She’s Indian.

Chris Hume
Chris Hume
1 year ago
Reply to  bill blax

This is true, but Democratic Party activists would see it differently.

bill blax
bill blax
1 year ago

I question this statement: “Dropping her from the ticket would bring intense backlash from corners of the party that would see it as a snub to the first black female vice-president.”
I doubt that many black Americans would be sorry if she were dropped. Obama already disillusioned them. Moreover, to imply that blacks would feel snubbed simply if Harris, “the first black female vice-president,” were dropped, is to suggest that color is the only thing that matters to them. I don’t think that is at all true.

Reid Eisenberg
Reid Eisenberg
1 year ago

Kamala herself self-identifies as Black. She understood a good while back that to do so was far more convenient toward realizing her political ambitions than to be seen focusing on Hindu rituals and philosophy instead. The former comes with a built-in constituency, the latter not so much. Obama himself also recognized this when he settled in Chicago to hone up his Black bona fides, realizing that being a half-white Hawaiian (that’s actually what he was) wasn’t really going to fly on the national stage. The idea with both of them being, if you’re gonna be a POC anyway, the more ‘colored’ the better.

Last edited 1 year ago by Reid Eisenberg
Reid Eisenberg
Reid Eisenberg
1 year ago

Kamala herself self-identifies as Black. She understood a good while back that to do so was far more convenient toward realizing her political ambitions than to be seen focusing on Hindu rituals and philosophy instead. The former comes with a built-in constituency, the latter not so much. Obama himself also recognized this when he settled in Chicago to hone up his Black bona fides, realizing that being a half-white Hawaiian (that’s actually what he was) wasn’t really going to fly on the national stage. The idea with both of them being, if you’re gonna be a POC anyway, the more ‘colored’ the better.

Last edited 1 year ago by Reid Eisenberg
Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

“Warren is one of the most powerful politicians in the Democratic Party”
Why?