by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
With Vice President Kamala Harris’s place on the 2024 Democratic ticket all but secured, some Democrats are eager to mollify her critics, fearing that a pile-on could hurt the party.
The concerns revolve around President Joe Biden turning 82 in the weeks after Election Day, with the possibility of leaving office at 86 if he serves the whole second term. The worry grows larger if the Republican nominee is someone other than former President Donald Trump, particularly as the case for a generational shift gains steam. Biden is expected to formalize his reelection plans in the coming months with Harris at his side.
“We know they’re not going to nominate Trump; age is going to be a real thing,” one swing state Democratic Party chairperson told the Washington Examiner. “Given the opportunity for [Biden] to go out on top or get taken apart by somebody 30 years younger, I don’t want to see it happen to a guy that I respect as much as I do.”
In an op-ed earlier this month, Donna Brazile, a longtime Democratic strategist who was Al Gore’s campaign manager when he ran for president after serving as vice president, argued that critics continue to hold Harris to unreasonable standards and credited her with holding “more experience in elected office than several past presidents and vice presidents.”
Brazile also discussed the possibility of Harris as Biden’s successor, saying, “Questions have been raised about the fitness of just about every vice president to move into the Oval Office should the president die or is unable to continue serving for another reason.”
Brazile was among a group of Harris confidants and Democratic strategists who met less than a year after the vice president took office to discuss how to defend her from a torrent of unflattering headlines.