by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Vice President Kamala Harris is hitting the campaign trail as her party seeks to keep the White House for the next four years. The question is which other Democrats can help her out.
Harris is seen as an important surrogate for President Joe Biden in reaching black, Latino, and younger voters. She made an appearance last week before a group of union members and will launch a nationwide abortion rights tour on Jan. 22, the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
“More than most of her recent predecessors, she has embraced a role as public spokesperson for the administration regarding issues of importance, such as reproductive rights, climate change, gun violence, [and] inclusivity,” Saint Louis University professor Joel Goldstein recently told the Washington Examiner. “And she has played an important diplomatic role, handling presidential assignments regarding central global and bilateral issues.
”Speaking to the party’s base is a traditional role for vice presidents, one that Harris may be especially attuned to given her status as the first female and minority vice president.
But Harris is stumping for the 81-year-old Biden, who ran four years ago promising to be a bridge to the next generation of Democratic politicians. The fact that he still commands the spotlight today may speak to the weakness of the party’s younger would-be candidates.
Harris has faced her own questions about electability and whether she can connect with voters. Her approval rating sits at 35.9%, per the RealClearPolitics average, a historically low figure that lags below that of her boss. She is also tasked with reaching a wide swath of voters and could use help from state-level Democratic surrogates.
Plenty of figures have drawn at least some buzz about a future presidential campaign, mostly notably Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA). But Newsom has built so much of a national profile that he often draws questions about when his own presidential campaign will start.