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Democratic Congressman Stresses Danger of Rejecting Harris as Biden's Successor

 July 7, 2024

The first presidential debate has triggered a wave of requests for President Joe Biden to reconsider his candidacy in the 2024 election, and potential successors have been floated, stirring significant discourse within the Democratic Party.

Amid discussions on Biden’s potential withdrawal, backing for Vice President Kamala Harris as his successor has grown in some corners, suggesting crucial implications for the Democratic Party if any effort is made to bypass her for the role, as Fox News reports.

Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi has voiced a stark warning: sidelining Harris in favor of another candidate could severely harm the Democrats' chances in the upcoming presidential race.

Support for Harris Among Top Democrats

Thompson hailed Harris as "incredibly strong," positioning her as pivotal to the Democrats' success in the next election. His support is echoed by Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, who strongly advocates for Harris, whether she remains Vice President or ascends as the presidential nominee.

"We should do everything we can to bolster her, whether it’s in second place or the top of the ticket," Clyburn expressed in a discussion on MSNBC, emphasizing his commitment to supporting Harris in any capacity moving forward.

Thompson further solidified his stance by stating to Axios, "You can't say Biden has done a good job without saying she's done a good job," highlighting the integral role Harris has played in the current administration.

Alternative Candidates and Democratic Unity

While Harris receives significant support, other names have surfaced as potential replacements should Biden withdraw. These include California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

However, the urgency of choosing a suitable replacement, if Biden steps aside, has been stressed by Rep. Summer Lee of Pennsylvania. Lee points out the logistical challenges of organizing a primary at this stage, advocating for a swift decision.

"If our president decides this is not a pathway forward for him, we have to move very quickly. There’s not going to be time for a primary. That time is past," Lee explained during an appearance on Mornings with Zerlina. She firmly labeled Harris as the "obvious" choice, being "right there" and ready to lead.

Public Opinion and Democratic Strategies

A CNN poll has shed light on public perception, indicating that Harris might perform better than Biden in a hypothetical matchup against former President Donald Trump. This data adds another layer to the discussions among Democrats about the best strategy moving forward.

The implications of these poll results are not lost on party leaders, who recognize the need to unify behind a strong candidate to maintain their competitiveness in the presidential race.

With various potential candidates and a strong faction within the party backing Harris, the Democrats are at a critical juncture where decisions made now could significantly impact their future success.

The Critical Role of Vice President Harris

Her supporters suggest that the backing for Harris isn’t just about political alignment but also about recognizing her contributions and potential as a leader. Thompson's assertion that choosing someone other than Harris could be "the kiss of death for the party" underscores the high stakes involved.

Clyburn’s repeated endorsements highlight the growing -- yet still uncertain -- support for Harris within the party.

He added, "I will support her if he were to step aside, but I’m going to support her going forward and sometime in the future. I want this ticket to continue to be Biden-Harris. And then we will see what happens after the next election."

This sentiment reflects a strategic alignment within the party, focusing on continuity and leveraging the incumbent administration's achievements.

Conclusion: The Democratic Nomination Battle

The dialogue surrounding the Democratic nomination for the 2024 presidential election reveals a complex landscape of loyalty, strategy, and urgency—the endorsement of Vice President Kamala Harris by influential Democrats like Reps. Bennie Thompson, James Clyburn, and Summer Lee coupled with the practical challenges of organizing a primary, positions Harris as a central figure in this unfolding political drama.

As discussions continue and strategies are debated, the Democratic Party stands at a crossroads, with its future likely hinging on the decisions made in the coming months.