Buttigieg has an edge over Kamala Harris as a 2024 presidential candidate

It’s a job that isn’t particularly vulnerable to controversy. Crucially, infrastructure is one of those extraordinarily rare realms of policy in America that hasn’t become poisoned by polarization (yet). Infrastructure still codes as relatively apolitical, and the prospect of dropping cash on roads and bridges and trains still garners remarkable bipartisan support — the infrastructure bill received the votes of nearly 20 Republican senators when it passed. Buttigieg gets to do ribbon-cutting and tour the Sunday morning talk shows while discussing tangible accomplishments — all while avoiding the kind of pushback that tends to accompany most major policy breakthroughs in our era.

Buttigieg is also using his position to tout anti-racist bona fides by pointing out how doing things like rerouting highways that were designed to help segregate cities is good for racial equality — perhaps an asset for a politician who struggled enormously with Black voters during his presidential candidacy.

Harris’ work as vice president is in some ways the precise opposite of Buttigieg’s. When Biden assigned Harris a sprawling, high-stakes policy portfolio, it was seen as a sign of esteem and an attempt to bring her into the fold on the biggest issues of the day. Harris was tasked with a number of hard jobs, including working on immigration policy, police reform and voting rights. But as my colleague Hayes Brown wrote in June, the complicated and thorny nature of these policy spaces have often put Harris in an awkward spot.