The Democratic Party’s unity, currently held together by a shared disdain for Donald Trump, is predicted to come apart in the near future. The anticipated clash between Vice President Kamala Harris and California Gov. Gavin Newsom for party leadership after President Biden’s term should prove to be quite intense.
Harris, who was seen as the likely successor to Biden, has struggled to establish herself as a strong contender for the presidency. Her speeches have been criticized as lackluster and her interactions with voters have been compared unfavorably to Hillary Clinton’s. Harris has failed to resonate with voters in more centrist states. Her handling of the immigration issue early in the Biden administration did not help her cause.
Despite Biden’s low approval ratings, there is little interest in Harris replacing him. Her own approval ratings are even lower than Biden’s and Trump’s. However, she faces little competition from other Democrats in Washington, with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren being much older. Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, and Cory Booker don’t appear as significant threats.
Newsom, on the other hand, has been actively positioning himself as the next Democratic leader. Despite endorsing Biden, he has maintained a high media presence and has been implementing progressive policies in California. His upcoming debate with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida is seen as a precursor to the 2028 elections.
Newsom’s approval ratings are not significantly better than Harris’s, but he is less well-known. As voters become more familiar with him, his ratings may change. However, unless the Biden-Harris ticket suffers a major defeat in 2024, Harris will remain a significant figure in the Democratic Party. Any attempt to sideline her in favor of another candidate, particularly a white male, would likely lead to a bitter struggle within the party.
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