Talk is intensifying about the 2024 Presidential Race. Will it be Biden v Trump? Biden v DeSantis? Harris v Trump or DeSantis? Biden v someone? Of even two as yet unknowns? There is even chatter about whether Kamala will be on the ticket again. Which has made me wonder?
What’s up with Kamala Harris?
I am going to be transparent in that she was never my choice as a presidential candidate in 2020. She also was not who I would have initially wanted as Biden’s running mate. Another woman, yes. Another woman of color, most definitely. But not Harris. However, once she became the running mate, I was all in and excited to see a woman, and one of color, as a first for the Vice Presidency.
Where is she though? Speaking for myself, I rarely hear about her anymore. There was a lot of enthusiasm right after the election. She was often on the stage with Biden, especially when speaking about efforts to combat Covid. Then a little when she went south of the border to speak about immigration, telling possible refugees and asylum seekers to stay put. She was also given the task of solving the border issue, but haven’t heard much about that. There have been reports here and there about how she can’t keep staff with her in the Office of the Vice President.
It seems, as often happens, the Democrats are again taking the Black and other People of Color’s votes after an election (telling also by the lackluster turnout in certain areas of the country for mid-terms). Harris should be out in public speaking about her progress on border issues. She should also be out there, using the bully pulpit, talking about how the administration is working on voting rights, civil rights, neighborhood crime, and other issues directly hitting Black, People of Color, and people living in poverty.
In the past, if I remember correctly, the Vice President was someone who could say some things the President couldn’t say—remember when Biden got ahead of Obama on same-sex marriage. The words had to be within the official line of the Administration, but had a little more free reign than the President. We’ve seen none of this with Harris. Why not?
Harris is a strong, intelligent, and savvy woman and politician. At some point she will run for President. She is more than capable and more than qualified based upon what she has accomplished so far. Will she win is the question of the day. If the election were today, she would not. The good news is, she has two to six years to reframe and reinvent her public persona. Harris, to be a viable presidential candidate must appeal to a broad coalition of voters. Swing and independent voters are the key. As many white male swing and independent voters in her corner is a must—they will be what puts her over the top against any Republican autocrat who will run in 2024, and if we still have a democracy, in 2028.
She must begin to speak out more on crime reduction, safe neighborhoods for all, income equality, civil rights, taxing the wealthy, and above all democracy and voting rights. If her staff are truly quitting due to how she runs her office, then she needs to clean house there as well, read some leadership books to put into practice (I can offer a few suggestions if I’m asked), to lead rather than dictate, and work on improving emotional intelligence.
I have faith she can make the pivot while remaining true to herself. Figuring out how to best use her intelligence, political savvy, and critical thinking and strategic thinking will push her across the election finish line. It is very much within her reach and possibility of becoming the first woman, and the first woman of color, to not only visit the White House, but to be its resident and sit behind the resolute desk as the leader of the free world.
There are two questions she must ask herself: 1) Does she want the job; and 2) Is she willing to put in the work starting today? I wonder how she would answer and will she take up the mantle of change to make it into the Oval Office?