Decryption | The sufferings of Kamala Harris

(New York) I would not fail to see Joe Biden entrust Kamala Harris with the mission of negotiating with the Taliban.

Posted on Aug 16, 2021 at 5:00 am

Richard Hétu Special collaboration

Last Wednesday, the American president highlighted a first anniversary that he could have kept silent if he hadn’t felt a little ungrateful towards his vice president.

“A year ago today, I made one of the most important decisions I have ever made: choosing my Vice President. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner and friend for this trip. Thank you [Madame la Vice-Présidente] whatever you do, ”tweeted Joe Biden.

Kamala Harris may not have asked that much. Since the beginning of her presidency, Joe Biden has inundated her with thorny or toxic problems. It must address the causes of the exodus of migrants from Central America to the United States; help counteract vaccine reluctance; lead the government’s struggle for the right to vote; and fight for police reform.

Obviously, it is too early for a final judgment on the work of the first vice president in American history. But it has to be recognized that voters view them more negatively than the president.

The Los Angeles Times, which pays close attention to the former California Senator and Attorney General, attributes her to 45% positive opinions versus 49% based on the average of polls compiled by the newspaper.

This means that after almost seven months in power, Kamala Harris is somewhat more popular than Mike Pence, Vice President of Donald Trump, but significantly less than Joe Biden, Dick Cheney and Al Gore, number two each to Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Some Democrats are concerned about this relative unpopularity. They are already wondering how their party will have to treat Kamala Harris in 2024 if Joe Biden decides not to seek a second term. We will come back to this later.

An “unhealthy environment”

According to data from the Los Angeles Times, it is evident that Kamala Harris’s popularity fell into negative territory last June after a controversial trip to Mexico and Guatemala.

PHOTO JIM WATSON, ARCHIVELY RELATED PRESS

Kamala Harris and Guatemalan Foreign Minister Pedro Brolo last June

The Vice President may not have helped her during an interview with NBC News chief Lester Holt while he was in Guatemala on June 8th. For weeks, Republicans had been counting the days she had not visited the southern border after inheriting the migrant file. The journalist asked her when she was going to go there. In response to the second question on the subject, the Vice-President said: “We have gone to the limit.

“No, you didn’t go to the limit,” replied Lester Holt.

“And I wasn’t in Europe,” replied Kamala Harris in an annoyed tone.

Republican elected officials and their media allies enjoyed this exchange and saw in it a certain arrogance on the part of the Vice President and a certain refusal of the Biden administration to face a problem or a crisis at the border.

Kamala Harris eventually visited the area. But the damage was done.

And she was not at the end of her troubles. At the end of June, the Politico news site published a long article about an “unhealthy environment” in the Vice President’s office. The environment is mainly attributed to the chief of staff of Kamala Harris, Tina Flournoy, a woman of color, but also to the boss herself.

“Everything starts at the top,” said an administrative officer Biden, who, like all the other critics cited, spoke on condition of anonymity, opposite Politico.

In a statement to the Axios site, a competitor of Politico, presidential adviser Cedric Richmond denounced a “smear campaign” aimed at sinking Kamala Harris.

Sexism and racism

In other words, the White House took the matter seriously. She’s not the only one. According to Axios, several influential women from the Democratic Party gathered in early August to plan Kamala Harris’s defense and stop the tide of negative media coverage.

The group’s best-known women included Donna Brazile, ex-president of the Democratic Party National Committee, Jennifer Palmieri, ex-Barack Obama’s communications director, and Stephanie Cutter, ex-Obama adviser.

In particular, participants wondered how to combat the sexist undertones that often color media reports of Kamala Harris. “It’s subtle,” one of the participants said to Axios. “But when a politician is not doing well, we ask completely different questions and they are not held accountable like women leaders. “

However, there is nothing subtle about what one can read or hear about Kamala Harris on some conservative media and social networks. We are dealing with a racism and sexism that do not suffer from complexity.

However, Kamala Harris’s candidacy for president in 2024 could create unease within the Democratic Party itself. Granted, there is currently no evidence that Joe Biden will not run for re-election. But if he resigned after just one term, the vice president would be his ostensible heir.

This scenario seems to worry some Democrats who haven’t forgotten the race for the Democratic nomination for the 2020 presidential election. Kamala Harris had even withdrawn from it before the first caucuses and primary elections were held.

“Many Democrats, including senior administrators, fear that they may not be able to beat the Republican Party candidate, even if Donald Trump is Donald Trump,” the Axios website wrote on July 2.

But could the Democratic Party afford to turn its back on the black First Vice President of the United States?

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