Kamala Harris is back in the spotlight

Kamala Harris is back in the spotlight

WashingtonKamala Harris came into the office of Vice President of the United States with great expectations: she was the first woman, the first African American, and the first person of Asian descent to hold the position. Within the Democratic Party, President Joe Biden's second term was expected to be well received by the more progressive wing and make headlines. Nothing could be further from the truth. During these years, Harris kept a low profile. But now that seems to be changing.

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The Vice President came into the spotlight this week when she called for a ceasefire in Gaza, in the US administration's strongest speech yet against its partner Israel. Although Harris was the face of some of the Biden administration's struggles – such as defending reproductive rights – many of his accomplishments did not have much impact. The strong criticism in Tel Aviv comes at a time when the hunger situation in the Strip has reached its peak, and Biden's popularity has declined due to his unconditional support for Israel, which has even caused him electoral erosion. These statements served as a prelude to Biden's announcement four days later about the establishment of a temporary port on the Gaza coast to be able to send humanitarian aid. After meeting at the White House with Israeli Minister Benny Gantz, a visit not permitted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Harris insisted this morning, in an interview with CBS, that “it is important to distinguish between the people of Israel and its government: it is the people who have the right In security.

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Reboot

Besides serving as a counterweight to voters turning away from Biden over his collusion with Israel, the vice president's words also sought to define a personal profile. “He wants to show that she could be a good leader,” explains Peter Slevin, a journalism professor at Northwestern University and author of the biography. Michelle Obama: A Life. He explains that with the possibility of Biden's re-election to a second term on the horizon, Harris is trying to relaunch and improve his image.

When he tried to compete for Biden's nomination in 2020, he did not campaign particularly well, and during this legislative period he starred in some scenes that turned out to be expensive. One was the visit to Guatemala in 2021, in which he asked residents not to try to go to the United States. “Do not come.” A statement that earned him a lot of external criticism and within the same party ranks, as happened with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The position of vice president is always a role relegated to a secondary role, and the fact that Harris took it in the middle of a pandemic didn't help her either.

As vice president, there's been an idea that's been floating around for a while and the US media has been wondering: If Biden reissues a new term and is unable to complete it due to age, it will be her turn to replace him. It's part of the vice president's role. If so, she would become the first African-American woman president of the United States. Biden is now 81 years old and will end his term at 85 years old. For this reason, with the possibility of re-election on the table, Harris “faces a major challenge.” “She has to show she's ready to be president of the United States. That's why she's making it clear she's strong on foreign policy,” Slevin points out.

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Beyond statements on Gaza, Harris has recently taken on more visible roles, including visiting Europe to attend the Munich Security Conference. There he met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other European leaders. In addition to being the visible face of the fight for the right to abortion (during his State of the Union address, Biden took credit for it), he is now also in charge of gun violence prevention.

Harris seems comfortable with the new spotlight and the idea of ​​the role she will play in the future. In an interview with Wall Street Journal She was asked whether voters' concerns about Biden's age meant she had to convince them she was ready. She replied: “I'm ready. There's no doubt about that.” The vice president's gallery doesn't just respond to the desire to show voters that the Biden-Harris tandem can be trusted. “In the long term, she is also thinking about her future as a politician,” Slevin points out.

Among the rumors circulating about Biden's candidacy following the Republican Party nomination is the possibility of him being replaced at the last minute by someone else from the party. One of the names that has been mentioned several times is that of Michelle Obama, although it is an unfounded rumor. “I assure you, Michelle is not interested in this,” explains Slevin, who spent months shadowing the former first lady to write the book. And Harris? Could this change happen at the Democratic Convention in August? Slevin explains that “the only possibility for Harris’ name to appear at the conference is that Biden decides to step down once he is elected,” stressing that this is also unexpected. “Everyone on Biden’s team says they are convinced they want to run in November.”

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