Kamala Harris Is Not A Liability But Democrats’ Best Weapon, Says Political Strategist

by Gee NY

A political strategist is arguing that Vice President Kamala Harris is a vital asset for Democrats rather than a liability as some critics have sought to suggest.

In an opinion piece, Basil A. Smikle Jr., PhD contends that Harris can play a crucial role in securing victory for Democrats in the 2024 presidential race.

His views are coming at a time when there is a fragmented Republican landscape and internal debates among the Democrats over President Joe Biden’s re-election prospects.

According to Smike, despite President Biden’s declining poll numbers and discussions about his age, critiques of Harris’ readiness to lead have been influenced by tropes often faced by women and racial minorities in politics.

He emphasizes in the opinion piece that Democrats must fully support Harris and strategically position her for the 2024 campaign.

“In reality, Democrats have no reason to soft-peddle their support for Harris. In fact, if they’re smart, they’ll put Harris out front and center during the 2024 presidential campaign,” he writes in the piece that was first published by the CNN.

Smikle dismisses claims that Harris is a drag on the Democratic ticket, asserting that she may be a secret weapon for the party. While acknowledging that Harris faces challenges in public opinion, he highlights her popularity among nonwhite voters and voters under 30, essential demographics for Democratic success.

Basil A. Smikle Jr., PhD, is a professor and director of the Public Policy Program at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute of Hunter College – City University of New York. He is also a former executive director of the New York State Democratic Party.

He sees Biden campaign’s decision to have Harris lead the administration’s messaging on abortion as a strategic move to mobilize women, young people, and progressives. Smikle further underscores the importance of Harris’ appeal to voters of color, particularly as Democrats aim to secure support in these communities.

The political strategist argues that Harris’ unique background — a woman with Indian and Jamaican parentage who immersed herself in the Black community — makes her a valuable figure for Democrats. He sees her outreach efforts, including the “Fight for Our Freedoms” tour targeting Gen Z voters, as pivotal in securing their support.

Smikle also stated that Harris represents the embodiment of the Democratic Party’s aspirations for diversity and inclusivity. He urges Democrats to celebrate her achievements, viewing her as a competent leader and a transformative figure who has changed the permission structure within the party.

Image credit:  Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

In addressing potential criticisms, Smikle draws parallels to historical challenges faced by Black women leaders, noting that notions of weak political and substantive bona fides should be dismissed.

He also urges Democrats to defend Harris more forcefully against detractors, especially as Republicans seek to exploit any opening to damage her image.

The opinion piece concludes with a call for Democrats to recognize the significance of Harris’ vice presidency not only in advancing policy interests but also as a bridge to the party’s future, led by an unwavering Black woman.

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