Kamala Harris Is Why We Should Stop Glossing Over The VP Slot

Nikki Hailey told George Stephanopolous on August 24, 2023 that Joe Biden would not only not finish his term, but the next President of the United States would be Kamala Harris and “that should send a chill up everyone’s spine.” We can continue to talk about Joe Biden’s cognitive decline and the White House’s “Edith Wilson” attempt to cover it up, but what we really need to start thinking about as a nation is why we have relegated the Office of Vice President to an ornament of the presidency.

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It has been 60 years since the Vice President has had to assume the role of President, and that seems to be enough time for Americans to forget how crucial the VP pick is. None of us knows which breath will be our last but when it’s time for us to depart this life, the world will keep on turning and the U.S. government will continue full-steam ahead.

Yes, parties build a presidential ticket based on amassing the biggest voting block possible because they want to win, and that’s arguably the most important thing in politics — not ideology, implementing change, or driving progress, just winning. When Joe Biden selected Kamala Harris as his running mate, it was 2020 and the country was wrapped up in Coronavirus, race riots, and the #MeToo Weinstein conviction. Her views fit the narrative like a hand in a glove:

Leave it to NPR to paint a rosy picture of the one-term Senator after she was named to the Biden ticket:

The Harris pick creates a Democratic ticket that in many ways mirrors the one Biden ran on in 2008 with then-Sen. Barack Obama: An older white man and Washington lifer with deep foreign policy experience is paired with a younger, Black running mate with immigrant roots who has been in the Senate just four years yet still has managed to carve out a national profile. Only this time, Biden is occupying the top spot.

-NPR, August 11, 2020

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How many boxes did Harris check? According to the entire article, seven: Black, Asian American, young, immigrant roots, victim of racial discrimination, liberal, and a woman. Put her up against Mike Pence on the debate stage and you have a staggering physical difference between the two candidates, but what substantive differences were put on display? Pence was articulate; Harris was not. Pence had actual leadership and policy experience; Kamala did not. Realizing that, however, would take more than a quick glance.

Consider Barack Obama and his VP pick, Joe Biden: a well-established and experienced politician who could appeal to Boomers, the working class, and Catholics. George W. Bush chose Dick Cheney who made up for the younger Bush’s foreign policy deficit. Bill Clinton used Al Gore to balance the womanizing, draft-dodging reputation he couldn’t escape. George H. W. Bush chose Dan Quayle because his credentials and face looked nice on paper. Reagan, a dyed-in-the-wool conservative chose the aforementioned Bush to appeal to more moderate voters. 

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Kamala Harris, for all of her faults, has given the country a valuable reminder: the Vice President is one heartbeat away from the Presidency. The most alarming bit about this whole circumstance is the amount of surprise Americans seem to feel recognizing Kamala might just be POTUS. 

Is it probable the Vice President will have to take the top job? No. 

Is it possible when the President is an octogenarian? Yes.

Donald Trump is as sharp as he’s ever been, but he’s still 78 years old. Men in the United States carry an average life expectancy of 76, a number both presidential candidates have surpassed. Vice President candidates should be vetted as thoroughly as their running mates, especially in this election. In an ideal world, the VP pick should be a sufficient reason to not vote for a ticket. But, let’s be honest, that’s a pipe dream.

Whoever President Trump selects will inevitably check the right boxes, but I hope that person makes it his or her mission to prove President Harris would be a national nightmare, assuming Biden continues the course. The Trump Campaign is already getting a head start, so they’d better be ready to hit the ground running:

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