From the Washington Post, a headline reads “Harris and Buttigieg under the spotlight amid uncertainty over Biden’s future.”
Some quotes from the article:
- The prospect of former president Donald Trump making another White House bid has put Democrats increasingly on edge, sharpening their scrutiny of Buttigieg and Harris.
- …over time, many Democrats have grown more anxious about Harris’s performance and prospects, citing factors both within and beyond her control. Some say Biden has done his vice president few favors.
- As the sitting vice president and a historic figure, Harris is likely to remain at the center of the conversation about Biden’s successor. But many Democrats increasingly see Buttigieg, the country’s first openly gay Senate-confirmed Cabinet secretary, as part of that conversation as well.
- “I expect [Biden] to run again,” said Steve Westly, a California investor and top Biden fundraiser in 2020. “If he doesn’t, I think Harris is clearly the favorite. But I think we’ve got a deep bench. I think people like Secretary Buttigieg. … He now has additional seasoning in a position as secretary of transportation, with a national profile.”
- When it came time for Biden to choose his running mate, he broke with Obama and Bush’s example and chose a candidate with a clear political future. He announced early on it would be a woman, and the then-77-year-old repeatedly described himself as a “transition candidate,” implying that a second term might not be in his game plan.
- Biden never pledged to serve just one term, but he also hasn’t said if he will run for a second. There are plenty of reasons to think Biden is still running in 2024…..Which is why Biden’s choice to give Harris one of the thorniest portfolios ever handed to a VP— the crisis at the Southern border—matters. Biden handed her a nearly impossible task of getting the sprawling U.S. government’s response to the flood of asylum seekers to heel. And, to put it bluntly, there are no good options at her fingertips.
- Biden has also handed a political skunk to another member of his Cabinet with White House ambitions. While Pete Buttigieg’s office at the Department of Transportation is nice, there’s little doubt he’ll be looking for an upgrade in the not-too-distant future. On one hand, he gets to trot out the good news of Biden’s massive infrastructure package as Harris flew to France on an unrelated mission. On the other, he is also the face of the supply-chain mess that could end up Grinching the holidays.
And at The Hill, Meet the red state governor Democrats should nominate in 2024 instead of Biden or Harris
So who could come off the Democratic bench to help the party keep the White House, an especially important task given that the House and Senate will likely flip back to the GOP in 2022? Here are two obvious alternatives and a dark horse who may be the Democrats’ best option.
- Pete Buttigieg: The former South Bend mayor’s donors are reportedly positioning him as a Plan B under a scenario in which Biden doesn’t run again and Harris isn’t elevated to the top of the ticket. At 28 percent approval, it’s hard to see the party rallying around Harris the way Al Gore cruised to the nomination after eight years as President Clinton’s VP. But Buttigieg is just 39 years old and looks even younger, which will prompt many to ask, “Can this kid who was mayor of a college town really be leader of the free world?”
- Stacey Abrams: The Democratic Party rising star narrowly lost her Georgia gubernatorial bid in 2018 but checks off the same boxes as Harris in terms of race and gender. She is infinitely better than Harris on the stump and in interviews. Agree or disagree with Abrams, she is relatively authentic (unlike Harris) and has a talent for fundraising. But like Buttigieg, she lacks experience.
- Andy Beshear: As witnessed in Virginia earlier this month, the Democratic Party is hemorrhaging independent voters as it continues its march away from the center and toward the AOC/Squad wing of the party. Beshear won his gubernatorial race in deeply red Kentucky because of moderate policies, particularly on police and crime.
- Beshear is a unifier who worked with state Democratic and Republican leaders to pass legislation to appropriate funds to build better schools, expand broadband and invest in hard infrastructure improvements, including clean drinking water.
- He can also point to a successful economic record: At 4.3 percent, Kentucky’s unemployment rate is well below the national average. Kentucky is also among the top 10 states people are moving to.