Vice President Harris Reasserts Herself Amid Biden’s Campaign Crisis

Vice President Harris Reasserts Herself Amid Biden’s Campaign Crisis

Vice President Harris earlier this year, around the time a prosecutor referred to President Biden as a well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory, Vice President Kamala Harris recognized the need for change. She confided to allies that it was crucial to finally distinguish herself in her role — a challenge she had faced for over two years — and reassure American voters that the Biden-Harris ticket remained a secure option. Feeling sidelined in the early stages of the campaign, one adviser noted, she sought a more prominent role.

A New Approach Harris Takes the Lead

Breaking away from the Washington bubble, Harris embarked on an ambitious travel schedule, making over 60 trips this year alone. She discarded scripted talking points to speak more passionately on abortion rights, the conflict in Gaza, and racial issues. She increasingly shared her personal narrative, highlighting her mother’s influence and her motivations for becoming a prosecutor.

Her allies claim she’s assumed greater responsibilities since Roe v. Wade’s reversal and during international assignments. Prior to concerns over Biden’s age, she aimed to enhance her impact on the ticket. Insiders affirm her proactive stance on assuming more significant roles.

Her allies assert her growing responsibilities have intensified, notably after Supreme Court decisions acording to Barron’s Print Edition.

The Critical Juncture

Her efforts to reintroduce herself have reached a critical juncture, with Biden’s candidacy in crisis after a dismal debate. Democrats are seriously considering her as a potential nominee.

Harris, 59, has shown unwavering support for Biden during a turbulent week since the debate. Her allies argue she is the logical choice to lead the ticket if Biden steps aside. Representative James E. Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat credited with reviving Biden’s 2020 campaign, expressed his support for Harris. He dismissed any alternatives should Biden withdraw.

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Assessing Harris’s Prospects

Many Democrats acknowledge that having her at the top of the ticket carries significant risks. Her 2020 presidential campaign unraveled quickly, raising doubts about her strength as a candidate. Even Biden, early in his presidency, described her as a “work in progress.” Democrats have occasionally worried that she struggled to publicly demonstrate her command of the issues.

“Things have improved for her,” said Robert M. Shrum, a veteran Democratic strategist. “And she’ll get a second look. She needs to live up to that second look.”

A CNN poll found that Harris led Biden by two percentage points in a hypothetical contest against Trump, though she still trailed Trump in the survey.

Facing Republican Attacks

Recently, the Trump campaign and Republican critics have intensified their attacks on her, suggesting that a Harris candidacy could lead to even more racist and sexist assaults than she has faced as vice president.

Yet Democratic leaders warn that choosing any other candidate could alienate vital constituencies, including Black women who were instrumental in Biden’s 2020 victory. Rallying quickly behind one candidate would also prevent a contentious convention in Chicago next month.

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