Kamala Harris has had a fraught first year as Vice-President, with a flurry of reports indicating that Harris’ tenure, who is often touted as the potential future of the Democratic Party, has been in a constant state of discontent, disarray, with a lengthy CNN report stating that the VP has told close aides that she feels “constrained in what she’s able to do politically.”
The report comes a few days after a poll revealed that the Vice-President is more unpopular than President Biden, with a USA Today/Suffolk poll showing that only 28% of Americans have a positive view of the VP. This marks a historical low for a Vice-president, making her approval ratings even worse than former GOP Vice-President Dick Cheney, who had dominated the list of most unpopular vice presidents in recent history.
The CNN report details a fraud environment at the office of VP Harris, both within the staff itself and with Biden. The article explains that many sources that are aware of the inner workings of the Vice-President’s office have said that her staff “has repeatedly failed her and left her exposed.” Similarly, earlier this year Politico released a similar story over the dysfunctionality of Harris’ staff, detailing an “abusive environment.”
Tensions between the Joe Biden and Kamala Harris camps
The complaints are not reserved to staffing issues and office politics, however, with the CNN article clearly depicting resentments from Harris’ camp over the way the President has handled its relationship with Harris. Harris, claimed CNN, the President’s decision to put Harris in charge of the politically-damaging border crisis and voting rights as sources for the angst in the office of the VP.
According to the CNN report, people close to the Vice-President have blamed the president of the political failures of the VP, as they think that “he’s shrinking his political duties to promote her, and essentially setting her up to fail”, while others are not happy about what they view as a failure of the White House of coming to the defense of the fledgling Vice-President.
The article also notes how people from the Harris camp have criticized that the California politician “is not being put in positions to lead” and that the administration has been “putting weights on her”. The article also states that members of her staff have become bitter at the White House’s perceived lack of help to Harris, especially when compared to the way the Administration has defended Secretary of Transportation (and potential presidential rival) Pete Buttigieg.
Although White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has publicly expressed confidence towards the Vice-President through a tweet posted last night, many have questioned if the tweet was really aimed at quelling the rumors or if, on the contrary, it only amplifies them.
Kamal Harris’ 2024 prospects look fragile
Biden’s age and polling numbers have opened many questions within the Democratic Party over the potential of the President not running for reelection in 2024. Theoretically speaking, if Biden decides not to run, then the Vice-President would be in the best position to launch a successful nomination bid, however, the current political difficulties of Harris have left many wondering if she is the best candidate for the party in the case of Biden not running.
A Politico article published on Sunday, details how Democratic political operatives are saying that Harris will not have the easiest of jobs in 2024 if she wants to run. The article also points out that other former 2020 Democrats candidates like Pete Buttigieg, Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) have made moves of their own to raise their national profile.
Although Harris still has a big platform to launch a potential candidacy, her position is also inextricably linked with the political fortunes of the President (it is the “Biden-Harris Administration” after all) and if Biden continues to have terrible approval numbers, her position a heartbeat away from the President can do more harm than good for VP Harris.