Could Vice President Kamala Harris be Biden’s Replacement?

By: May Man Published: Jul 01, 2024

Joe Biden’s faltering debate performance has left Democrats so worried that some are seeking an alternative to the 81-year-old president as the party’s nominee.

While Biden has shown no sign of exiting the race and his campaign has dismissed the idea, doubts remain about his suitability to face Donald Trump, a figure seen by Biden and his party as a significant threat to American democracy.

Obvious Successor

In the unlikely event Biden decides not to run, his 59-year-old vice president and running mate, Kamala Harris, would be the most obvious successor.

Kamala Harris at her desk smiling

Source: Wikimedia

However, her nomination would not be guaranteed, as other candidates might challenge her, given her low approval ratings.

Competition Among Democrats

Some Democrats are already considering other potential contenders.

A photograph of Gavin Newsom

Source: Getty Images

These include Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, Illinois governor JB Pritzker, California governor Gavin Newsom, and Maryland governor Wes Moore.

Little Support for Harris

The discussion about Biden stepping down without considering Harris highlights the lack of full support for her as Biden’s successor.

Kamala Harris talking behind a podium

Source: Wikimedia

Writer Tanzina Vega expressed this sentiment on X, criticizing the disregard for Harris, a woman of color.

Breaking Barriers

Harris, the highest-ranking female elected official in U.S. history and the first Black and Asian American vice president, was part of a diverse and progressive field in the 2020 election.

Kamala Harris standing next to a soldier at Camp Pendleton

Source: Wikimedia

Biden had then promised to be a “bridge” to the next generation of Democratic leaders, which many interpreted as a commitment to serve only one term and then pass the leadership to Harris.

Democrat’s Different Opinions

Despite this, Biden decided to run again, believing he was still the best candidate to defeat Trump.

A photograph of President Biden's administration and cabinet

Source: Wikimedia

Harris’s tenure as vice president has been divisive among Democrats.


Unpopular with Poll Voters

Negative press and a challenging policy portfolio have affected her public image, with nearly 50% of voters viewing her unfavorably according to 538’s polling average.

A woman is pictured voting

Source: Freepik

Despite this, Harris has become a strong advocate for abortion rights, a crucial issue for Democrats.


Harris Defends Biden

On the second anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, Harris issued a strong warning about Trump’s stance on reproductive rights.

Kamala Harris on left and Joe Biden on right

Source: @VP, X

Harris defended Biden’s debate performance, urging voters to consider his achievements over the past three and a half years rather than just the debate.


Slow Start But Strong Finish

During interviews on CNN and MSNBC, she acknowledged Biden’s slow start but emphasized his strong finish and significant accomplishments.

Trump on the left with eyes closed, Biden on the right looking at Trump with anger. Presidential debate

Source: @JoeBiden, X

At a rally in Las Vegas, Harris reiterated her support for Biden, highlighting his leadership in negotiating bipartisan deals and maintaining national security.


Crucial Second Debate

The upcoming second debate in September and a potential vice-presidential debate between Harris and Trump’s running mate will be crucial.

Trump and Biden in Presidential Debate 2024

Source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Polls indicate that in a hypothetical matchup against Trump, Harris performs similarly to Biden, with both trailing the former president by a few points. Harris fares better with Black voters but worse with Hispanic voters and men.


Age Won’t Stop Biden

Biden’s age has been a concern for voters, and his debate performance has amplified these worries.

A photograph of Joe Biden onstage

Source: Wikimedia

At a rally in North Carolina, Biden acknowledged his age-related challenges but insisted he was still the best candidate to defeat Trump.


No Time for Replacement

With the Democratic convention scheduled for mid-August in Chicago, some Democrats argue there isn’t enough time to replace Biden as the nominee.

A photograph of U.S. President Joe Biden speaking to a crowd

Source: @WPLG Local/YouTube

Bakari Sellers, a former South Carolina lawmaker and Democratic commentator, expressed that the choice is between Trump, Biden, or not voting, affirming his support for Biden.