This is following up a bit on AP’s post on Joe Biden’s popularity in South Carolina but it appears black Democrats are accepting the ex-Vice President with caveats. POLITICO reports the notion of a Biden-Kamala Harris team-up is becoming pretty ideal with Congressional Back Caucus members.
Harris is everything the 76-year-old Biden is not. The freshman senator from California is younger, a woman and a person of color. As Biden gets dinged for his bipartisan bromides, Harris is winning applause from progressives for her merciless cross-examination of Trump officials.
Democrats are also desperate to boost black turnout in 2020, blaming the drop-off from Barack Obama’s wins as one reason for Hillary Clinton’s defeat.
“Either combination there, I’d love,” said Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.). “I think he’s going to look to balance his ticket so that the ticket itself is more appealing. … I think it would make sense and it wouldn’t surprise me if he picked a woman of color.”
Missouri Democrat Congressman Lacy Clay even called it a “dream ticket” for the party while fellow Missouri Democrat Congressman Emanuel Cleaver suggested Biden would have grabbed more Congressional Black Caucus support if Harris and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker weren’t seeking the nomination.
The notion Biden has everything wrapped up should not be immediately taken as gospel. Vanity Fair praised Harris for her fundraising prowess and lamented with plenty of hand-wringing why her poll numbers were still in the single digits.
[A] Harris insider says internal polling shows a more important data point than her underwhelming public polling numbers: that since her campaign launch, Harris’s positive name I.D. has increased 15 percent while her negatives have not moved. “Right now the horse-race numbers are the least important numbers out there,” says Cornell Belcher, a pollster and strategist for both of Barack Obama’s successful runs. “You’re trying to establish a narrative that connects with baseline attributes that Democratic primary voters care about—fighting for working people, fighting for justice, and expanding opportunity. You need to move those numbers before you can move the horse-race number.”
The other notion from Vanity Fair is Harris’ major focus is knocking down the idea only white men are electable.
“There has been a lot of conversation by pundits about ‘electability’ and who can speak to the Midwest,” she said. “But when they say that, they usually put the Midwest in a simplistic box and a narrow narrative, and too often their definition of the Midwest leaves people out. It leaves out people in this room who helped build cities like Detroit. It leaves out working women who are on their feet all day—many of them working without equal pay. And the conversation too often suggests certain voters will only vote for certain candidates regardless of whether their ideas will lift up all our families. It’s shortsighted. It’s wrong. And voters deserve better.”
Her unnamed target seemed to be Joe Biden, who had officially entered the contest 10 days earlier, and whose strength is that many perceive him as the most electable. But Harris was also aiming at the other top-tier candidates who happen to be white men: Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, and Beto O’Rourke. She wants to dispute the current “electability” framework before the media hammers it into the heads of voters for the next eight months, including those voters who are crucial to Harris. “The most opportune pathway she has to the nomination is dependent on her ability to galvanize African-American voters, particularly African-American women,” Belcher says. “She better be able to beat Biden by a couple of points among those voters or her chances are probably limited.”
This seems rather shortsighted given the fact America sent Barack Obama to the White House twice with only Indiana flipping from Obama to Mitt Romney in 2012.
The reality for Democrats is Biden may be popular because he knows which buttons to press. Via POLITICO:
“I don’t think people should underestimate the significance of this older white guy playing the role of second, a supportive second, to a younger man who is African American,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.). “And people felt this was real and authentic, [Biden] wasn’t faking it. There was a real friendship there.”
Biden also has a natural ease in the black community in a way that other white Democratic candidates don’t, according to some caucus members.
“Biden is very comfortable in African American circles. Sometimes a white politician in an all-black setting, you can feel the seed of nervousness,” Cleaver said. “With Biden, he’s just right at home. You can see it and feel it.”
His “[Republicans are] going to put y’all back in chains,” comment from 2012 comes to mind – even if it was a clear lie.
Would a Biden-Harris ticket win in 2020? Maybe? It seems almost like McCain-Palin or Romney-Ryan in looking to bring in more hardliners by teaming a young politician with an elder statesman. It’s still debatable whether vice presidential nominations actually seal the deal with a wide range of voters. George W. Bush picking Dick Cheney did seal my vote as a young college student and I know someone who decided John McCain picking Sarah Palin was an extremely bad idea. Those decisions may be more the outlier than the actual truth of the matter.
It could end up being Democrats are trying to accept the fact Biden will most likely be the nominee for 2020. It’s still months until voters are counted and you never know what’s going to happen. After all, Jeb Bush was the leader this time in 2015 and we all know who won the Republican nomination and the presidency.