Kamala Harris, from aspiring first US president to Biden’s eternal number two: “She has withered politically.”

Kamala Harris, from aspiring first US president to Biden’s eternal number two: “She has withered politically.”

“I see myself as a bridge. There’s a whole generation of leaders behind me and they are the future of this country“. With these words an energetic Joe Biden (and three years younger) was referring to his fellow campaigners during the 2020 Democratic Party primaries. At his side in that speech was the one who would become his vice-president, California Senator Kamala Harris. Even then, many voices pointed out that Biden would finish his term too old and, although he did not rule out repeating, that premonitory speech pointed to Harris as the candidate to take the reins of the Oval Office.. However, what the attendees at that event in Michigan did not know was that, to see the future to which the current president referred, they would have to wait until 2028.

Biden will finish his term at 82, making him the oldest U.S. president in history. Disjointed phrases, forgetfulness in front of the cameras or mobility problems have caused great controversy during his presidency. During this time, reelection seemed to be a long way off, but no Democratic figure took the step of wanting to dethrone the president. On Tuesday, Biden confirmed that he will run again in 2024; and wants Kamala Harris to remain by his side. The generational handover will have to wait.

“While that first term could have been transitional and ended in her leadership, by putting her as vice president again they have tied her fate to that of Biden. When he leaves politics, she’ll be right behind.“, she says to 20minutes Jaime Caro, analyst for The World Order. “It withered politically very quickly,” he acknowledges.

Creativity Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

A profile to attract voters?

In 2020, she was thought of as a revulsive to mobilize the female, feminist and African-American electorate. In addition, Caro points out that the elections were close, so she was going to have a relevant role in the Senate and “Kamala’s vote was going to be the one that decided many votes”, so “a very strong person who was in the spotlight” was needed “to accompany Biden”.

In the United States it was pointed out that these four years could serve as a period to raise her figure for 2024: the first woman president, of African-American descent, with experience within the Executive, a broad curriculum and from an important state such as California. However, Kamala’s situation has changed a lot in this time of legislature.

This is what Eduardo Puig de la Bellacasa, head of the International Area in America of CEU-CEFAS, acknowledges to this media: “It has been completely missing. It has neither popularity nor is it a reference point for American politics.” Analysts point out that it has remained in the background. Sometimes by government decision and sometimes because it has not lived up to expectations.

In this sense, Caro points out that in 2024 that electoral pull may not be so powerful and considers that the Democratic Party has opted to repeat its tandem with Biden “because it is more effective than having someone else chosen for the vice presidency.”

Trump's possible rivals for the Republican primaries.

A vice presidency in the shadows

“The management during these years of Kamala Harris. has not been very brilliant“Puig, who recognizes that although he has not been given space, he has not been able to respond positively to the responsibilities he had. “Dealing with migration issues with Central America I think he has gone once to this area,” he adds, pointing to this fact as one of those who have been able to dent the confidence of the party in his figure.

In Biden’s first year there was an increase in arrivals of immigrants crossing from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. “Don’t come,” Harris went so far as to ask: “If you come they will turn you back.”. These statements were criticized by human rights organizations and even by sectors of his party. The measures carried over from the Trump Administration have not been modified in their entirety, also provoking the reproach of the Democratic electorate.

Although the role of the vice president does not usually have as much relevance as for example the Secretary of State, his role could have had more weight. Something that has not happened. “The popularity problems come because he presented himself in the primaries as a very progressive person.copying Berni Sanders’ speech, but he was not,” explains Jaime Caro.

Analysts consulted acknowledge that in the United States she is no longer considered a candidate to lead the party and become president. “Another thing is that Biden dies in his second term and she holds the office. If that happens, as with all vice presidents who have come to power like that, she will want to do a second term. And then we will see if in that time she wins the people’s favor,” says Caro.

Biden 2024… Kamala 2028?

For Puig, it is complicated to imagine that Harris would have been the candidate for president even if Biden had not run for re-election. And it is even more so as a future option for the 2028 elections.. Ahead of her, figures such as the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, or the governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, are already positioned.

Trump’s return as a possible Republican candidate may also have influenced the party’s decision, since between Kamala’s low popularity, a new leader or the Biden-Kamala continuity they have opted for the latter. “The Democrats have preferred to put forward a Biden who is quite old, but who has already beaten Trump, rather than a profile that looks new, doesn’t know how to do the job and is too young”, says Jaime Caro.

“They intend to run a campaign without bringing up Biden too much. They have valued the stealth profile before Trump,” adds Caro, who adds that “if it had been for Biden, he would have left.but seeing how things are going, the party has preferred to present him”.

Kayleigh Williams