Critical politics: why Kamala Harris will embark on the election campaign
When the vice-president Kamala harris canceled his rally for Gov. Gavin Newsom ‘In Friday’s anti-recall campaign, politicians missed a glimpse of what is likely to be a busy year on the strain.
Harris’ advisers said she plans to embark on the election campaign frequently in 2022 on behalf of Democrats seeking to maintain their slim lead in the House and Senate.
Hello and welcome to Essential Politics: the Kamala Harris Edition. This week, I’ll discuss Harris’ expected role in the midterm election and why his advisers believe his poor poll numbers won’t hamper his ability to raise funds and generate excitement during The electoral campaign.
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The Newsom factor
Harris had no choice but to cancel Friday’s rally for Newsom, shortly after learning that 13 U.S. servicemen and dozens of Afghans had been killed in a terrorist attack in Kabul. The Harris team has not indicated whether the event will be rescheduled before the September 14 recall election date, but there is no doubt that the vice president believes the recall is a big deal for a multitude of reasons.
First, Harris and Newsom share California connections and political bases (she represented the state in the US Senate), San Francisco roots (she served as a city attorney), and have overlapping political advisers. Second, Harris understands that a Newsom loss in one of the country’s most solidly democratic – and most populous – states would be a major psychological blow to his party.
Third, an adviser to Harris told me that White House officials fear that if Newsom is recalled, a Republican governor will have the power to fill Sen’s seat. Diane finstein, the 88-year-old Democrat from San Francisco, if she retires or falls ill.
Such a move would give Republicans a 51-49 majority in the Senate. Democrats only control the 50-50 body because Harris can vote for a tiebreaker.
Republican control would almost kill the Biden administration’s legislative agenda, jeopardize court appointments, and make the Senate harder to win back.
It’s that kind of scenario that reminds Democrats that they have very slim majorities in Congress and adds more pressure on Harris to overturn the vote in California and across the country in November 2022.
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A robust campaign calendar
Which brings us back to Harris. Her advisers have yet to set a program for her in 2022, but promise a solid one. That’s because the House, where Democrats hold a 220-212 majority, could also fall under Republican control.
History is on the Republicans’ side because the party of incumbent presidents generally lost seats in Congress in the midterm elections.
Right now, Biden and Harris are planning to hold a version of the 2018 midterm election touting healthcare and the economy, while warning that Republican victories would jeopardize their platform. The strategy could change, depending on national and world events and the unique political factors that emerge in the House and Senate races.
Much will depend on the popularity of the president. Biden has fallen in recent polls, with around 47% of voters approving his performance and just under 49% disapproving, according to the Real Clear Politics average.
I was in Pennsylvania last week speaking to voters, and there is some evidence that the chaotic exit from Afghanistan may not be the determining factor in Biden’s decline in popularity. My testimony is anecdotal, of course, and the conversations took place before the US military was killed. But several voters have told me they think Biden has had a tough hand and that it is important to emerge from the two-decade war.
“He had a lot to do,” said Richard Zirpoli, 68, owner of a tutoring business in Bucks County, Pa. Who voted for former President Trump in 2016 and Biden in 2020. “The whole war was a great disaster. I mean, we fought the wrong battles.
Some polls suggest Biden’s decline in popularity could be due to the resurgence of coronavirus cases, which could pose a bigger political issue for Biden and Harris. As my colleague David Lauter wrote last week, foreign affairs tend not to steer public opinion, even though they are tragedies.
The poll is even worse for Harris, who on average is viewed negatively by 49% of voters, compared to 43% who give it a positive rating, according to a Times analysis of poll data.
The hits on Harris’ numbers have come from a variety of places, some surprisingly. Only 36% of voters under 30 approve it, for example, compared to 49% who disapprove, according to YouGov. This is a steady decline from the start of the year, when it garnered the approval of a plurality of younger voters.
You can read more about what voters in Pennsylvania said about Harris, including the people who officially told me they didn’t want a woman to be president, in the story I have. written.
A Harris adviser expressed full confidence in Harris’ ability to campaign for his fellow Democrats.
The advisor highlighted Harris’ success in raising funds for the campaign and the number of requests she had received from local candidates and parties. Data from the Democratic National Committee shows she is second behind Biden in fundraising via email and social media, with the ability to connect with 73 million people on such platforms. She raised $ 2.3 million in her first three speeches for the DNC this year and was well received when she campaigned in January for a pair of decisive Senate votes in Georgia that gave control of the Senate. to Democrats.
Former vice-president Mike pence had similar poll numbers at this point in his tenure and was widely seen as a valuable surrogate. He has often been deployed to groups in his chosen area, including evangelicals and business Republicans.
Harris can be deployed in the same way. But modern elections are based on the participation of major supporters. It is therefore argued that it can help get the vote out in hotly contested states, including Georgia, Arizona, Nevada and North Carolina.
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The latest news on Afghanistan
– In a speech on Tuesday, Biden called the evacuation from Afghanistan “an extraordinary success,” even though dozens of Americans and thousands of Afghan allies have been left behind, reports Chris Megerian. Biden defended his decision to withdraw US troops from the conflict.
– From Nabih Bulos and Laura King: With the roar of a US military cargo plane, the last US troops left the country almost at the stroke of midnight on Monday, ending America’s longest war and leaving wounds lasting but disparate that have crossed two nations.
– Days after a suicide bomber killed 13 U.S. servicemen, Biden traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to meet with grieving families who lost sons and daughters during the longest days of war in the United States. United States before the scheduled end, writes Chris Megerian.
Editor’s note: Friday’s edition of the bulletin made reference to the bombing in Afghanistan. Shortly after we sent it, the Pentagon said it determined there was only one suicide bomber and one explosion – not two explosions as it reported. for the first time.
The view from California
– In his struggle to keep his political life afloat, Newsom has staked his future on how he can emulate a budget-cutting tea darling: the former governor of Wisconsin. Scott walker. He is the only governor in American history to have managed to postpone a recall, reports Melanie Mason.
– Speaking of the reminder: Are you dropping off or in person? Madalyn Amato says where to vote in elections.
– With less than two weeks of recall elections, mail ballot returns so far show more than twice as many Democrats have voted as Republicans and liberal areas of the state such as the Bay Area have the highest return rates, writes Mason and Seema Mehta.
– Democratic lawmakers have scrapped a controversial proposal to tax vaccines in the state, a move that would have been difficult to pass in the final weeks of the legislative session, report Melody Gutierrez and Taryn Luna.
Subscribe to our California Politics Newsletter for the best of the Times State’s political reporting, including full coverage of the recall election and the last action in Sacramento.