PAUL MURRAY: Democrats boxed themselves into corner with Kamala Harris who they must pick to face Donald Trump

Paul Murray
The Nightly
Ther Democrats need to back in Vice President Kamala Harris as their nominee now, writes Paul Murray.
Ther Democrats need to back in Vice President Kamala Harris as their nominee now, writes Paul Murray. Credit: John Raoux/AP

It took the front page of a glossy fashion magazine to put America’s political decay into perspective.

There was the unelected consort of the serving president laying down the gauntlet to the 72 per cent of Americans who think her husband should no longer lead the nation: “We will decide our future.”

Jill Biden, self-professed protector of the working poor, decked out in an ultra-expensive Ralph Lauren tuxedo dress, disclosed the power behind the throne as she preened for Vogue.

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The unwritten message in that picture: Let them eat cake.

The quotation run on the magazine’s cover came from a hurried phone call right on deadline and was included as an addendum to the article’s online version.

Vogue had committed to a long, nauseating puff piece on the First Lady, only to have its plans blown asunder by the president’s demented performance in the first election debate.

That defiant quote says it all. “We” will decide. The sense of entitlement is staggering.

She appears to be clinging to the White House life more than any outgoing First Lady in history, staring down the normal democratic processes by which politicians exercise the will of the people.

But it’s hand in glove with the ongoing Biden mantra that only he can “save democracy” against the perceived threats posed by Donald Trump.

The implication must be that those people intending to vote for Biden’s opponent are not interested in democracy. Which would make their voting undemocratic. Go figure.

Did the Democrats learn nothing from Hillary Clinton’s description of Trump supporters as “a basket of deplorables” which effectively wrecked her election chances in 2016?

And the Biden mantra ignores the reality that if democracy is in any way imperilled at the coming election, the best antidote would be to have a candidate who can win and then protect it in office.

Neither is applicable to the enfeebled Biden.

President Joe Biden is not fit for the job.
President Joe Biden is not fit for the job. Credit: Alex Brandon/AP

Those who swallow Biden’s line are clearly being asked not to trust the democratic process to get the result they want – without him.

Why would Biden be the only person who could beat a reviled felon? But that is his assertion.

It is hard to resist the conclusion that parts of the White House media, Biden’s closest staff and the senior Democratic Party leadership have been running a protection racket for the president which exploded over 90 minutes on prime-time TV.

Biden’s response the next day, read from a teleprompter at a campaign event, was not as arrogant as his wife’s, but equally ridiculous: “Like millions of Americans, I know when you get knocked down, you get back up.”

No one had knocked him down. He fell over, simply succumbing to age. Trump treated him with disdain, not as a punching bag.

Democratic strategist James Carville is the realist who came up with the Bill Clinton White House slogan: “It’s the economy, stupid.”

Now 79-years-old, Carville had no doubts about what he saw in the debate: “I am going through the same thing myself and I just know it doesn’t get any better.

“It’s like seeing your grandma naked. You can’t get it out of your mind.”

Long-time Biden ally Nancy Pelosi, who defined her speakership by petulantly tearing up a copy of Trump’s third State of the Union speech to Congress behind his back in 2020, continued the ruse on CNN the day after the debate.

The best she could offer in the face of Biden’s appalling performance was: “Is this an episode or is this a condition?”

Like no one had seen the footage of Biden’s progressively serious stumbles, brain freezes, location anxiety and lapses into incoherence in the middle of a sentence.

In another setting, what these people are doing to Biden – including his wife – would be regarded as elder abuse.

Host Dana Bash opened the Pelosi interview by citing a post-debate YouGov poll showing that 72 per cent of Americans believed Biden was no longer mentally capable of holding office.

The Democrats deserve a big return from the harvest of identity politics. You reap what you sow in the grubby game.

“Well, what do they think about the other guy?” Pelosi asked, brushing aside the outrageous prospect of returning to the White House a Democrat who has lost the ability to do the job.

It was deeply ironic for Pelosi to say that to Brash, one of the two CNN moderators of the debate who allowed Trump to get away with rhetorical murder on the night.

Those who argue that Biden didn’t need to debate Trump and could have refused on the grounds of denying him any credibility are dreaming. That would just have amplified the widespread concerns about his mental state.

But the suspicions about a debate so early in the electoral cycle do bear considering. Both Biden and Trump are only presumptive nominees until their parties’ respective conventions, more than a month away.

The two debates in 2020 were held on September 29 and October 22, customarily after the conventions which were in mid-to-late August.

So why did the Democrats agree to one in early July? It wasn’t ever going to knock Trump out of the race. All the downside was Biden’s.

However, exposing Biden to the debate at this stage of the campaign cycle would allow Democratic Party heavyweights time to arrange another candidate if things went awry. Was that the reason?

That might explain the stunned reaction by Democrat-friendly CNN and MSNBC panels on debate night when they were inundated by calls and texts from party insiders insisting that Biden had to go. It looked stage-managed.

Despite the initial stonewalling by the Bidens, there seems to be a certain inevitability to the scenario that his presidency is over, but he will see out this term in office.

So the attention turns to who gets the job of fighting off Trump.

The Democrats really have only one credible choice to replace Biden on the ticket in November’s election. And that’s Kamala Harris.

The Democrats deserve a big return from the harvest of identity politics. You reap what you sow in the grubby game.

The choice of vice-president is crucially important. The saying that the Veep is only a heartbeat away from the top job is true.

It follows that any person chosen for that position must be able to take over at a moment’s notice. As Lyndon Johnson did in 1963, becoming a surprisingly consequential president who introduced Medicare, voting reform and the Civil Rights Act.

Similarly, Harry Truman became president in 1945 when Franklin Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage. He won a second term in 1948.

Of the 15 vice presidents who went on to lead the nation, eight attained office on the death of a president, and four of them were later elected.

If Biden had been unable to continue at any stage of his term, Harris would be the president now under the US Constitution. So why not at next year’s inauguration?

Why is there any reluctance to put forward the woman who should be the chosen one? Potentially America’s first female president.

The answer tells you so much about the identity politics the Left uses as a battering ram and which has now boomeranged on the Democrats. Paymanesque actually.

In March, 2020, months before he began the selection process for his running mate, Biden pronounced he would choose a woman of colour. Harris emerged as that choice the following August.

Donald Trump
Did the Democrats learn nothing from Hillary Clinton’s description of Trump supporters as “a basket of deplorables”? Credit: AAP

Tracking by the Los Angeles Times of a basket of national opinion polls shows that Harris started her term as Veep on 48 per cent approval and 44 per cent disapproval. That now registers as 39-55, a 16-point deficit.

“Since taking office, Harris has been assigned one of the administration’s thorniest issues: stemming the influx of immigrants attempting to cross US borders,” the newspaper explains. “Republicans have sought to make her the face of an issue that they believe could help them politically.”

And what was the issue Trump hammered the most in the debate? Border security.

C’mon down Kamala.

Harris dropped out of the presidential race against Biden late in 2019 when she was trailing in fourth place in the Democratic primary in her home state of California. Bernie Sanders, the palest, stalest white male in the contest won that primary.

Added to her unpopularity, Harris performs badly in media outings, with constant commentary that no one quite understands what she is saying.

For someone who forged a reputation as a tough-on-crime prosecutor and later as a probing Senator during hearings of Trump administration officials, she can be strangely inarticulate under questioning herself.

However, if the Democrats had the courage of their convictions, Harris would automatically become the nominee.

Any other choice will raise legitimate questions about why a woman of colour wasn’t good enough to lead – only to be the deputy.

But, as we’ve seen in the flurry of legal proceedings that Democrat functionaries launched to knock Trump out of the race, they only want to apply political convictions to their opponent.

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Desperate Democrats look to comeback queen Harris.