• Thursday, July 25, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Kamala Harris in focus as pressure mounts on Biden to quit race

The 59-year-old has already made history by becoming the first African American and Asian person to serve as the vice president and would be the first woman to become the president of the US if she gets nominated for the November 5 polls and beats Trump.

US vice president Kamala Harris (Photo by STEPHEN MATUREN/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

GROWING pressure on US president Joe Biden to drop out of the race for the White House following an unimpressive show in the first presidential debate with challenger Donald Trump has brought his deputy Kamala Harris into the limelight.

She would be Biden’s natural successor if the latter bows out under the mounting pressure, top sources in the Democratic Party have said.

However, party donors, activists and officials are asking whether Harris has a better chance than Biden of defeating Trump, who is looking strong despite several legal challenges emerging against him over the last several months. Biden, who will turn 82 in November when the election takes place, has said repeatedly that he is not leaving the race.

Read: Biden says only ‘Lord Almighty’ can make him quit presidential race

The 59-year-old Harris, a former senator and California attorney-general, would be the first woman to become the president of the US if she gets the nomination in place of Biden and wins the election on November 5. She has already made history by being the first African American and Asian person to serve as the vice president.

Harris is the daughter of an Jamaican American father and Indian mother and was born in California.

Read: What if ‘fumbling & mumbling’ Joe Biden leaves US election race

Her time in the White House as the president’s deputy so far has not been inspiring either. In the last three-and-half years, her tenure has seen lacklustre start, staff turnover, and early policy portfolios, including migration from Central America, which has not produced any remarkable success.

In fact, many in the White House and the Biden campaign team expressed worry privately till last year that Harris was a liability for the presidential re-run. But the vice president has made a turnaround since then, Democratic officials have acknowledged, as she stepped forward on issues such as abortion rights and wooing young voters.

She “is proud to be his running mate and looks forward to serving at his side for four more years,” the Biden Harris campaign was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Some polls have also indicated that Harris could do better than Biden against the mercurial Republican opponent, even though there is no denying that it would be a tough contest.

Last week, a CNN poll found voters favouring Trump over Biden by six percentage points — 49 per cent to 43 per cent. Harris was also trailing Trump within the margin of error (45 per cent against 47 per cent).

Independents also back Harris more than Trump (43 per cent to 40 per cent) while moderate voters of both parties back Harris (51 per cent to 39 per cent) over the GOP leader.

Only Michelle Obama, the former first lady who has not expressed any interest in joining the race despite several assumptions, polled more among possible alternatives to the incumbent president.

Internal polling conducted by the Biden campaign after the June 27 debate showed Harris with the same odds as Biden of beating the Republican, with 48 per cent voters favouring Trump as compared to 45 per cent that backed the Democratic leader.

Influential Democratic leaders, including Jim Clyburn, who was key to Biden’s victory in 2020; Gregory Meeks, a New York congressman and senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus; and Summer Lee, a House Democrat from Pennsylvania have indicated that Harris would be the best option to lead the ticket if Biden chooses against contesting.

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