6:40 p.m., October 27, 2022
No trace of Kamala Harris on the White House website, barely a few mentions of her name in the press… 15 days before the US midterm elections, Joe Biden’s vice-president seems more transparent than ever , as the Midterms campaign is in full swing. ” Kamara Harris is more than discreet, agrees Nicole Bacharan, specialist in the United States and author of the book The great days that changed America, with Dominique Simonnet. It is used very little by the White House for the campaign and when it is, it is far from going well. »
Traveling to Seattle on Wednesday to support the Democratic candidates in Washington State and defend Joe Biden’s climate policy, the Vice-President spoke at length about American school buses and their yellow color… A tasteless and clumsy speech, during which she -even seemed uncomfortable remarks Nicole Bacharan.
“A lot of Americans don’t know her”
” She does not exist, observes Nicole Bacharan. Many Americans don’t know her. For the moment, his vice-presidency is a failure. She failed to become a prominent political figure on the American political landscape. »
This discretion is not recent. The one who concentrated many hopes during the 2019 Democratic primary thus seems to have failed to build political stature since her accession to the post of vice-president. Since the start of her tenure, she has been rarely seen in the media and has made few notable decisions. Worse, she is one of the most unpopular vice presidents in the history of the United States: in mid-October, the polls gave her only 38.4% favorable opinions, according to the poll aggregator FiveThirtyEight.
She has no experience and remains inconspicuous
The fiasco is explained, according to the specialist, by the relative lack of political experience of the former California prosecutor, and the important turnover within her team: she is on her third speech writer (feather) in two years. ” She has trouble managing her teams and showcasing herself, emphasizes Nicole Bacharan. She has been a prosecutor, a senator, but in terms of the economy, social affairs, foreign policy, she has no experience and remains little visible. »
Failure on the migration issue
However, Kamala Harris showed at the beginning of her mandate the desire to be a “ general vice-president », in charge of various files. President Joe Biden has also entrusted him with two particularly significant ones: the delicate management of the migration issue, and that, no less central, of the reorganization of electoral constituencies. “These are two huge files, with enormous ramifications, but they are not flamboyantanalyzes Nicole Bacharan. Difficult to make a big announcement on the subject and to value yourself. »
Especially since Kamala Harris is expected at the turn by the Republicans, who have made the migration issue the main issue of the Midterms. Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent a busload of migrants near the home of Kamala Harris to denounce the Democrats’ supposed laxity on the issue. Beyond the despicable nature of such an act, involving small children and vulnerable people, it seems that Harris’ management has disappointed, including in his own camp.
A dysfunctional tandem
The main issue in which the vice-president seems credible remains the defense of the right to abortion, which she has promised to protect by federal law in the event of a Democratic victory in the Senate. But, here again, she struggles to really put herself forward: “ In the abortion file, the voice of Kamala Harris carries, she is impeccable, recognizes Nicole Bacharan. But she does not fully grasp it: she did not tour the country to campaign on the theme, for example. Obviously, the White House chose to put her on hold.t. »
Read our article – United States: Kamala Harris, a discreet but active vice-president
Beyond Kamala Harris’ personality alone, her relationship with Joe Biden could therefore also pose a problem: “ Traditionally, the role of vice-president is thankless: you must not put yourself forward too much so as not to eclipse the leader and at the same time try not to disappear, explains Nicole Bacharan. But, in addition, their tandem malfunctions. »
The vagueness of the next presidential
The balancing act inherent in the vice-presidency is in fact complicated by the lack of friendship between Kamala Harris and Joe Biden, whose relations were tainted during the Democratic primary, and by the vagueness maintained by the American president around his candidacy for a second term.
Because the question of succession is obvious: traditionally, the vice-president is the natural candidate for the next election if the president chooses not to stand again. But Joe Biden has not yet spoken on the subject: at 79, he is considered by many Democrats to be too old to run for a second term in 2024.
Read our article – Midterms: why these American midterm elections are crucial for Joe Biden
“ Joe Biden has announced he will say after the Midterms whether he is running again or not, concludes Nicole Bacharan. If he gives up, it would be in his interest to leave more room for Kamala Harris, provided that she knows how to take it… Because for the moment, beyond the Midterms, the presidential election of 2024 promises to be very complicated for Democrats. »