Drop Kamala Harris, 'Hollywood stars urge Joe Biden'
A group of Hollywood Democrats, including major stars, has reportedly urged Joe Biden to drop Kamala Harris as running mate.
CNN said the group voiced its doubts about the vice-president in a Zoom call with former California senator Barbara Boxer.
Oscar-winning actress Helen Hunt, actor Ron Livingston and Beverly Hills, 90210 star Gabrielle Carteris were on the call.
According to CNN, the group complained to Ms Boxer – who preceded Ms Harris in the Senate – that the vice -president was a political liability.
Ms Harris’s polling ratings remain negative, with 49.5 per cent of voters disapproving of her record and only 41.9 per cent supporting her, according to the Five Thirty Eight polling site.
It is not only Hollywood that has been lukewarm about Ms Harris remaining on the ticket.
In January, Massachusetts senator and former presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren was less than effusive about Ms Harris.
“I really want to defer to what makes Biden comfortable on his team,” she said – much to the annoyance of the vice-president’s supporters.
“Pretty insulting”, one of Ms Harris’s supporters told CNN as Ms Warren, who rivalled Ms Harris for the 2020 nomination, tried to limit the damage.
Ms Warren’s spokesman said the remarks were a fumbling, unintentional attempt to avoid stepping on a campaign announcement from Mr Biden.
Alarm bells among Democrat strategists
Hints of Hollywood’s disillusion with Ms Harris will ring alarm bells among Democrat strategists, given the long association between the entertainment industry and the party.
Not only does Hollywood provide glamour to the party but the industry digs deep into its pockets to support it. For example, the Biden 2020 campaign raked in $750,000 in one night.
Hollywood had hailed Ms Harris when she became the first woman and first American and south-Asian American to become vice-president.
“In tears watching this extraordinary moment for women in the US and the world,” tweeted Oprah Winfrey at the time.
Critics say she has been a disappointment, failing to deliver on tackling the immigration crisis on the Mexican border.
Her allies, however, argue that the assignment was virtually impossible.
Ms Harris’s office has seen an unusually high turnover in staff, with one former aide complaining to the normally supportive Washington Post, accusing her of bullying.
Given that Mr Biden will be 81 should he, as expected, run again in 2024, the choice of his running mate will be particularly significant.
“Right now, she seems to be an albatross,” one key Democratic activist told CNN.
Dropping a vice-president from the ticket is not unprecedented. For example, Franklin Roosevelt had three: John Nance Garner, Henry Wallace and Harry Truman.
Dwight Eisenhower was under pressure from some Republicans to drop Richard Nixon in 1956.
In recent months, there has been a concerted attempt to bolster Ms Harris’s standing, notably her high-profile appearance at the Munich security conference, underlining strong US support for Ukraine.
The vice-president has also been at the forefront of the administration’s defence of women’s reproductive rights following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade.
Democrats believe that their party’s stand on abortion could be pivotal in winning the support of women voters next year.
Ms Harris also has powerful allies on Capitol Hill.
New Jersey senator Cory Booker described Ms Harris as an invaluable asset.
“In some of the tough battleground states, she’s going to be pretty damn powerful, frankly.”