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The Least Anticipated Fight in the Democratic Party: Kamala Harris vs. Elizabeth Warren

Kamala Harris Elizabeth Warren

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First they were fellow Senate colleagues, then presidential candidates in 2020 and even shared Joe Biden’s vice presidential shortlist. Already in the midst of 2023, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren star in one of the most unexpected fights within the Democratic Party.

Tensions between the two escalated since February of this year, when the Massachusetts senator opined on whether President Biden should keep Harris as VP for the 2024 election. “I really want to defer to what makes Biden comfortable on his team,” she said in an interview with a Boston radio station.  

The comment did not go down well with the current vice president’s entourage. As reported by The Hill, Warren called Harris a minimum of two times to apologize, but the calls were not returned.

This is not the first time the idea of replacing Harris on the Democratic ticket has become popular. In 2022, commentator Bill Maher specifically asked the president to replace the former senator.  

“It’s very hard to take the nomination away from the president. What I could see is replacing the vice president because she’s not very popular anywhere. And it didn’t seem to work out. And I don’t know. That’s been done before in a ticket,” the Real Time with Bill Maher host expressed.

“I just think she’s a bad politician. I don’t … I think she’s a very bright person. So here’s the problem with the Democratic party. They’re so boxed in by identity politics that you cannot conceive of a Democratic ticket that doesn’t have a woman and person of color on it.” he added at the time.

Reconciliation between the senator and the vice president came the second week of March when both attended a bipartisan meeting organized by Harris herself. “No one was benefitting from this. They had to get rid of it,” a source assured The Hill.

Another source gave more information on the matter. Harris’ entourage perceived Warren’s comments as a real slap in the face since they delegitimized the current VP. From the opposite side, they took it as a lack of respect not to return the calls made by Warren.

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Some progressive Democrats weighed in publicly on the fight, calling on Democratic leadership to focus on the real issues facing the people. One of them was Nina Turner, a progressive activist who was co-chair of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-VT) 2020 presidential campaign.

“This is privileged people’s problems. Meanwhile, on main street people are really suffering. It’s been over a month, and I kind of understand where the vice president is coming from. She’s certainly under no obligation to return Senator Warren’s call, and that may seem uncouth, that may seem like, dang, that’s cold. But hey, the vice president obviously feels like she was transgressed,” she said.

As for the Democratic ticket for 2024, there is a mix of certainty and uncertainty. After the midterm elections, it was almost a given that Biden would seek re-election, which was to be announced in February 2023. However, the announcement was postponed to April, which set off alarms about a new candidacy of Biden, who would begin his second term at the age of 82.

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“While the belief among nearly everyone in Biden’s orbit is that he’ll ultimately give the all-clear, his indecision has resulted in an awkward deep-freeze across the party — in which some potential presidential aspirants and scores of major donors are strategizing and even developing a Plan B while trying to remain respectful and publicly supportive of the 80-year-old president,” POLITICO recently reported.

Joaquín Núñez es licenciado en comunicación periodística por la Universidad Católica Argentina. Se especializa en el escenario internacional y en la política nacional norteamericana. Confeso hincha de Racing Club de Avellaneda. Contacto: [email protected] // Joaquín Núñez has a degree in journalistic communication from the Universidad Católica Argentina. He specializes in the international scene and national American politics. Confessed fan of Racing Club of Avellaneda. Contact: [email protected]