I was wondering whether Harris’s reference yesterday to “the Harris administration” might cause some friction between her and Joe, but that now seems unlikely.
After all, as you’re about to see, they’re on the same page.
I know what you’re thinking — this proves Democrats are planning to replace Biden with Harris as president — but rest easy. It’s likely a simple case of the soon-to-be most powerful man in the world evincing senility.
Feel better now?
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 15, 2020
This clip plus the one of Harris will make fine fodder for a Trump attack ad accusing Biden of being a pawn of the left. Assuming the campaign can still afford ads, I mean.
Harris is certainly an easier target than Biden is, and Team Trump knows it:
Trump said this week that “nobody likes” Harris, feeding into a standard of likability that is applied to women in leadership far more often than men. He told voters in North Carolina it would be “an insult to our country” if Harris became the first female president. And Trump and his allies repeatedly mispronounce Harris’ first name, a pattern her supporters say amounts to a deliberate effort to portray the daughter of immigrants as someone who does not belong at the top ranks of politics…
Though Harris isn’t at the top of the ticket, running mates can help shape how voters perceive the presidential candidate, said Christopher Devine, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Dayton (Ohio), who has written a book on presidential running mates. By elevating and trying to define Harris, the Trump campaign is trying to change how voters view Biden.
“Clearly (Trump) doesn’t feel like he can demonize Joe Biden very effectively,” Devine said. “So they’ve been making this argument that he’s going to be a Trojan horse, a vehicle for elements of the far left to take over and so they’re trying to fit Kamala Harris into this slot.”
It might be easier for Democrats to repel the “Trojan horse” attack if the two people at the top of the ticket stopped reversing their places on the ticket in public comments. I agree, though, that the attacks on Harris aren’t really about Harris, and strongly suspect that they’d be much nastier if Biden had tapped, say, Elizabeth Warren as VP instead. Playing up Biden’s veep, whoever she may be, as a special threat is simply a way to suggest that someone more radical than Sleepy Joe will be in control in the White House even if it’s not the vice president herself. And that line of argument potentially has special salience in Biden’s case, precisely because he does seem to have “lost a step.” It might have been hard for lefties to manipulate Joe Biden in his prime to their will. Elderly Joe Biden could be an easier mark. Here’s establishment righty Danielle Pletka writing today at WaPo that she reeeeeally dislikes Trump — but feels pulled to vote for him anyway, precisely because of the “Trojan horse” risk:
What is there to be afraid of? I fear that former vice president Joe Biden would be a figurehead president, incapable of focus or leadership, who would run a teleprompter presidency with the words drafted by his party’s hard-left ideologues. I fear that a Congress with Democrats controlling both houses — almost certainly ensured by a Biden victory in November — would begin an assault on the institutions of government that preserve the nation’s small “d” democracy. That could include the abolition of the filibuster, creating an executive-legislative monolith of unlimited political power; an increase in the number of Supreme Court seats to ensure a liberal supermajority; passage of devastating economic measures such as the Green New Deal; nationalized health care; the dismantling of U.S. borders and the introduction of socialist-inspired measures that will wreck an economy still recovering from the pandemic shutdown.
I fear the grip of Manhattan-San Francisco progressive mores that increasingly permeate my daily newspapers, my children’s curriculums and my local government. I fear the virtue-signaling bullies who increasingly try to dominate or silence public discourse — and encourage my children to think that their being White is intrinsically evil, that America’s founding is akin to original sin. I fear the growing self-censorship that guides many people’s every utterance, and the leftist vigilantes who view every personal choice — from recipes to hairdos — through their twisted prisms of politics and culture. An entirely Democratic-run Washington, urged on by progressives’ media allies, would no doubt only accelerate these trends.
Trump, by contrast, is a known quantity at this point, writes Pletka. The wrinkle in that logic, as Tim Miller points out, is that she’s actually reversing the two candidates’ positions on the political spectrum. With the possible exception of Amy Klobuchar, Biden was the most centrist candidate in the Democratic primary and unquestionably the most establishment. Democratic voters rejected a dozen more left-wing options to make him their nominee. Trump, on the other hand, was the least establishment candidate in the 2016 primary, the hero of the populist right, and was embraced by the Republican electorate. She’s turning Biden into the radical (or tool of radicals) and Trump into the resolute establishmentarian in order to suit her natural inclination to vote for a Republican. She’s also kidding herself is she thinks that Trump is, or could ever be, a known quantity politically, especially once he’s term-limited and no longer has to worry about how voters might punish him for the things he says and does. If she wants to vote GOP because she’s a GOPer and that’s the end of it, fair enough. But she should at least do so with her eyes open.
In lieu of an exit question, here’s Reason showing how a proper attack ad is done, whether it’s Biden or Harris or anyone else in the crosshairs.