Joe Biden has finally understood: Kamala Harris is the key to 2024

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Kamala Harris this week had clearly, finally and decisively won a slice of the action. Of course it took long enough.

After two years on the sidelines, grabbing headlines and championing some pretty obviously indefensible policies, the vice president deserved a good news cycle worthy of her role in helping President Joe Biden make inroads with women — especially women of color – and delivering the White Loger to her. So this week, the ex-senator made a quick stop at his home in California to help roll out what’s billed as the world’s largest semiconductor site, a direct product of the Biden administration’s successful campaign. for 53 billion dollars for the manufacture of new technologies included in the last CHIPS and Science Act of the year.

Finally, Harris was able to kick a soccer ball into his home end zone. It was a subtle sign that the West Wing is finally beginning to realize that the — at best — benign neglect given to the vice president’s office for much of Biden’s tenure could spell trouble for his prospects next year.

When a sitting president is running for a second term, the vice president’s role can be tricky. It’s like asking voters to vote twice: one for the top of the ticket, and one for the backup plan. It becomes even more difficult when the incumbent president is the oldest to have tried again.

Admittedly, Harris starts from an unenviable position. For the past two years, leaks and sniping from the West Wing have plagued her and her team. Turnover was rampant, morale was sinking more than it was sinking, and missteps were amplified by those looking for trouble. Harris, for her part, has done herself some favors with notable mistakes in interviews and speeches. Biden’s team made her even dirtier, tasking her with the politically impossible task of handling the immigration crisis at the US-Mexico border, even though it was unclear day-to-day if the White House would treat it as anything other than an annoying hiccup.

Slowly, however, Biden’s team began to realize that they might be unable to stay in power if they can’t use Harris strategically — and steer him away from no-win tasks like migration and giving him places where she can credibly make the case. Abortion rights, for its part, gave it a sweet spot. The right to vote is another. And, as was the case in his native California, the benefits of national spending plans like the CHIPS Act may give Silicon Valley workers — and tech donors — reason to stick with Biden.

All VPs go through such tension, especially if they have their own political ambitions. People without ambition rarely settle on the western facade of the West Wing, where the ceremonial offices of the Vice President are located. But usually, the gray-haired old men around an incumbent president realize that their own obituaries are tied to the fortunes of the person sitting in the vice president’s office; Biden’s team has sat in those club chairs before, but somehow missed that Harris is now heir to his boss’ own legacy.

At the grand opening in California, Haris spoke effusively about how “semiconductors are the brains of modern technology” and “essential to every electronic device we use today.”

It was all pretty bland, but soaring rhetoric wasn’t really necessary when Applied Materials’ $4 billion investment would need to employ 1,500 construction workers to operate the 180,000 square foot facility, and then host 2,000 engineering jobs once opened. This represents the biggest U.S. chip capacity upgrade in recent times, and it’s just one more point of evidence the Biden team can cite as they prepare to run for a second term. ‘next year. And, out there in Silicon Valley, Harris was finally cut in the victory laps that the White House for more than two years seemed to consistently deny to its own understudy.

It took seemingly forever for the vice president’s office to be integrated, but as is the case in Washington, in the words of one of his biggest boosters, “better late than never.” Scoreboards only really matter when the crowd is coming out of a stadium; everything seen before is a snapshot that lacks the tension of an ongoing contest. Harris finally getting his due can only be seen as a hint of a restart in an administration that has for too long missed one of its biggest assets stalled in the aisle.

From the start, Harris’ relationship with Biden was delicate. She made headlines early in the campaign by attacking Biden’s record on desegregation only to admit it was a stunt without substance. Biden’s pledge to pick a wife as his running mate left him with a handful of options, and Harris’ timing to connect into Biden’s orbit was far from smooth. The president, frankly, needed Harris far more than she needed him, but she smartly bided her time with Biden, and it’s finally paying off.

Perversely, Harris has never had so much power within the cozy boys’ club that Biden created. If the president is going to grab a second term, he needs Harris and all she stands for, the doors she opens and the symbolism that befits her very existence. There’s exactly a zero percent chance he could win a second term without her, the ÖVP knows, and is finally starting to soften its influence after two years of patiently watching the team from across the alley. operate in a cloud of disdain, paranoia, and delirium.

The task at hand now is to mend the fractured relationship between the two political teams who theoretically share an interest in having Harris as a player, both now and in the future. To cross the finish line. Biden may have to not only boost Harris in the short term, but fully accept that his legacy will be wrapped up in his legacy for the rest of his life.

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