by Greg Valliere, AGF Management Ltd.
November 15, 2021
WASHINGTON WAS BUZZING this weekend over reports that President Biden’s aides are exasperated over Vice President Kamala Harris and her staff. This couldn’t come at a worse time for the beleaguered White House.
FRICTION HAS BEEN SIMMERING for weeks, and all the dirty laundry was aired on the CNN web site yesterday, detailing grievances from both camps. The Washington Post chimed in, with a piece on who might succeed the reeling Biden — Harris or rising star Pete Buttigeig?
IF NOTHING ELSE, THIS FRICTION HIGHLIGHTS a growing belief in both parties that Biden may not run again for the presidency. He would be 86 years old at the end of a second term.
HARRIS WOULD BE A LOGICAL SUCCESSOR, but she’s now in the middle of a controversy — has she been marginalized by Biden’s staff, or does she lack the gravitas for the job? She definitely has kept a low profile; her aides say she hasn’t been given much to do, while Biden’s team complains about her staff.
THIS COMES AS SPECULATION GROWS about who might be in line for the nomination in 2024 if Biden doesn’t run. Candidates other than Harris and Buttigeig probably would include Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro, Gavin Newsom, and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
A HUGE NUMBER OF REPUBLICANS ALSO may run in 2024 if Donald Trump, 75, surprises the political world and bows out. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is the most likely alternative, although a dozen other Republicans may run, including Chris Christie, who leads the “let’s move on from Trump” chorus that has recently gotten louder.
THE BELEAGUERED BIDEN should have a good day today, signing the infrastructure bill and talking with Xi Jingping at 7:45 p.m., a virtual meeting that could lower tensions between the U.S. and China, even if there are no dramatic results.
BIDEN CANNOT AFFORD any further foreign policy stumbles like the Afghanistan withdrawal. He also faces high inflation for a few more months, with the president’s Build Back Better plan stalled in the Senate even if the House passes it within the next week.
BIDEN’S BIGGEST IMMEDIATE HEADACHE is a shocking free-fall in his polling numbers. Republicans are likely to recapture the House — perhaps easily — next fall, and they have a chance to take the Senate as well. A year from now, after those elections, Biden will turn 80 and Harris inevitably will be in the conversation as Washington considers succession.
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This post was first published at the AGF Perspectives Blog.