Potential contenders for the 2024 Democratic Party presidential nomination have been cautioned against competing with Vice President Kamala Harris by political insiders, who argue that doing so would be seen as racist. This warning comes as the party’s elite struggles to generate excitement among rank-and-file voters for President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign.
According to sources, influential Democrats such as California Governor Gavin Newsom and Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker have been advised not to consider a presidential bid. Democrat strategist Karen Finney explained that party leaders have made it clear that disrespecting Vice President Harris would not be well received by women and people of color within the party.
Harris is both the first black person and the first woman to serve as US vice president. Her selection as Biden’s running mate in 2020 was seen as an effort to emphasize the party’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity. However, Harris has faced criticism and low popularity ratings during her tenure as vice president. An NBC News survey conducted in June revealed that only 32% of voters viewed her favorably, while 49% had a negative view.
To discourage potential challengers to Biden’s re-election bid, his campaign appointed top contenders such as Newsom, Pritzker, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro, and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to advisory roles. This move aimed to unite influential Democrats behind Biden and prevent divisions within the party.
However, Biden still faces skepticism from many Democrat voters. A Wall Street Journal poll conducted last month found that 73% of US voters, including two-thirds of Democrats, believe the president is too old to run again. Additionally, six in ten voters believe Biden is mentally unfit for the job. These concerns raise doubts about his ability to serve effectively, especially as his second term would be winding down in 2028.
Party insiders have cautioned that competing against Harris risks alienating non-white voters, which has proven to be detrimental to past candidates. Democrats who failed to win over black voters, such as Hillary Clinton in 2008 and Bernie Sanders in 2016, lost their races for the party’s nomination. Therefore, challengers must tread carefully to avoid such backlash.
As of now, the top challenger for the Democratic nomination is Robert F. Kennedy Jr., son of the late Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated while running for president in 1968. Kennedy currently holds around 13% support from Democrat voters, significantly less than Biden’s nearly 66% support.
In conclusion, potential contenders for the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination have been warned against challenging Vice President Kamala Harris, as it could be perceived as racist and alienate non-white voters. President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign is facing skepticism from Democrat voters, who question his age and fitness for the job. The party is striving to unite behind Biden to avoid divisions, but challengers like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. are still vying for the nomination.