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Surely the Democrats have a backup plan to Kamala Harris

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Vice President Kamala Harris speaks to reporters outside the Senate Chamber after passage of the Inflation Reduction Act at the U.S. Capitol on Aug. 7, 2022.

Between the embarrassing defeat of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), about whom the partisan left couldn’t care less other than to employ her as a tool to hammer Donald Trump, to Hollywood slowly but surely walking away from box office-crushing woke dogma, my reading of the tea leaves tells me that the political ground is shifting around us. Is that shift more to the Republican/conservative right? Some say yes; others will scream no. We’ll soon find out who’s correct.

Regardless of who benefits, though, I see a political recalibration taking place. It seems to be an emergency reassessment convened by the nation’s most powerful special interest group: the American people. These are Americans — and more to the point, American voters — who are being crushed by the real-life problems that those currently in power are creating or not solving.

Going back to Hollywood for a moment, in the movie “The American President,” fictional President Andrew Shepherd, played by Michael Douglas, rightfully declares from the podium in the White House press room: “Everybody knows America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. … We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them.”

Millions of voices on both sides of the political divide would agree that our country is burdened with some of the least-serious “leaders” in our history. Some of them are partisan political hacks who seem to be more concerned with their own reelection and the advancement of their party than with the welfare of their constituents.

But, like it or not, from within that political universe, we still have that ruling two-party system.  With regard to the 2024 presidential election, the Republican Party has all but inked in its dance card with the names of Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and possibly former vice president Mike Pence, along with a few outliers, such as former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who are trying to cut in.

Whoever does make up the final GOP ticket two years from now, most Republican voters are likely to eagerly vote for it. That begs two immediate questions: Who will make up the Democratic ticket? And will Democratic voters eagerly vote for it?

Some folks, including some Democrats, believe that the shifting political ground is tilting some once “guaranteed” Democratic voters more toward the Republican side of the landscape. If true, part of the reasoning for this is that voters have paid a real price for the past three years of pandemic and political turmoil and are quickly losing faith in not only President Biden — who even many in the left-leaning media now say should not run again — but also in Vice President Kamala Harris.

No matter your political affiliation or ideology, it would be foolhardy not to acknowledge that a seismic disturbance is taking place. One party not only seems ready for it but is hoping to capitalize upon it. The other may need to review the pros and cons of their expected presidential ticket, and also the issues that might appeal most to poor, working-class, and disenfranchised voters.

Some on the far left continue to push for the correct usage of pronouns and the recognition and punishment of microaggressions. Others from the more centrist, pragmatic wing of the Democratic Party are trying to identify commonsense solutions to help those going through tough times and to find the best standard-bearer to articulate their vision.

Is Harris that person? Some would say “yes,” but there may be a groundswell building within the party’s rank-and-file membership that a new slate must be presented in 2024 for the Democrats to have any hope of retaining the White House. And if that’s the case, what’s the backup plan to Kamala Harris?

Surely, the power brokers across the Democratic spectrum have a list of potential candidates, don’t they?

Douglas MacKinnon, a political and communications consultant, was a writer in the White House for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and former special assistant for policy and communications at the Pentagon during the last three years of the Bush administration.

Tags 2024 presidential election Biden-Harris Democratic Party Glenn Youngkin Kamala Harris Liz Cheney Mike Pence Nikki Haley Ron DeSantis

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