Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Notations On Our World (Special Edition): Out & About in America and The World ((An Snapshot of The Discourse))

President Kamala Harris

It's coming. The question is: Should she run as Biden’s vice president or as the incumbent president?


From the ashes, she rises. (Composite / Photos: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images / Shutterstock)

1. Skating, Pucks

I am now convinced that President Biden will step aside as his party’s nominee. This isn’t a value judgment, just an analysis of reality.¹ As I explained on Monday, if that happens, Kamala Harris is—far and away—the most likely replacement.

If this happens, we will immediately be confronted with a new question: Should Biden resign his office and elevate Harris to the presidency?

For starters, it will depend on Biden’s condition. If/when he withdraws his candidacy, some reason will be given. Does that reason center on his health or his cognitive functioning?²

If it’s just a question of health and general frailty, then resignation becomes a judgment call. If the president is mentally compromised, then he may have no choice but to resign.

For the sake of today’s discussion, though, let’s pretend that Biden’s ability to carry out his office for the next six months is not substantially affected and so the decision of whether or not to resign becomes purely (meaning politically) prudential. What then?

Let me paint a picture of what a post-Biden world looks like:

  • Kamala Harris is the focus of more attention than anyone in politics, including Trump. She will be able to pack stadiums and arenas instantly. It will be an unprecedented hand-off to the next generation of Democrats combined with a high degree of uncertainty as to whether or not she can deliver the goods. If she nails the handoff, there will be an immediate bump for her in the polls and public interest will build.

  • Republicans will spend every day arguing that Biden should be removed via the 25th Amendment and Harris will have to answer that charge every time she talks to the media. And she will do a lot of media. The only way this works is if she turns the handoff into a blitzkrieg and sprints all the way through to Election Day.

  • Meanwhile the real world continues. Maybe Israel opens up a shooting war with Hezbollah. Maybe there’s a terrorist attack in the United States. Maybe the border gets out of control. Maybe a hurricane hits a major American city.

There are upsides and downsides to having Harris as the incumbent president in this environment.

The case for Harris running as the incumbent president.

For starters, having President Harris traveling on Air Force One and standing behind the presidential seal would instantly solidify her gravitas. It would create even more attention for her and give her the ability to dominate pretty much every news cycle from here to the election. Everything about her candidacy becomes even more historic and exciting.

It also evens the playing field between Harris and Trump. Trump gets to run as both an insurgent and an incumbent. Vice President Harris would be neither, trapped in a sour spot of being on the hook for everything voters dislike about the Biden administration without the benefits of being battle tested. If Harris is running as the sitting president, she will have demonstrated that she can do the job. People will have seen her—literally—in the big chair.

It is possible that some Americans might have trouble picturing a black woman as commander in chief. If Harris is the sitting president, then they will see it in reality and if she does a satisfactory job for then it might allay their concerns.

Finally, Trump would plotz every time he heard Harris referred to as Madame President. This is not nothing.

No comments:

Post a Comment