Kamala Harris v. Gavin Newsom: The Coming Democratic Civil War

The Democratic Party is united — for now. Fear and loathing of Donald Trump keeps the various Democratic factions in a precarious peace. But labor v. environment, Jewish vote v. Muslim vote, and center-left v. hardcore progressivism cannot remain at bay forever. The fiercest battle may well be the looming civil war between Vice President Kamala Harris and California Gov. Gavin Newsom for the party leadership once President Biden leaves the stage.

And it won’t be pretty.

When Biden named Harris his running mate, he conferred on her heir-apparent status. The pick made sense. VP nominees are mostly about pulling together party divisions or offsetting the nominee’s weaknesses. As an old, white male Catholic, Biden running with a minority female checked some important identity boxes. And, in 2020 with a campaign hobbled due to covid restrictions, Harris did just fine. The “not Trump” campaign worked.

However, given an opportunity to establish herself as the next Democratic hope, Harris has proven rather maladroit. Something about her isn’t quite right. Her speeches are mediocre, with poorly thought-out ad libs. Her awkwardness with voters is positively Hillary Clintonesque. After spending her life in the progressive hothouse of California, Harris has shown little ability to build appeal in the other more centrist 49 states. Given the unpleasant portfolio of illegal immigration early in the administration, she failed to distinguish herself. If she has any real policy responsibility today, it’s not apparent. . .

While Newsom fell in line endorsing Biden, he has ramped up his campaign to be the “Next Big Thing” for Democrats. His media appearances are unabated, and his public relations team is working overtime. A foreign policy trip to China to meet Xi Jinping, various progressive policy initiatives passed by a pliant legislature, all resemble the Gov. Ron DeSantis Republican playbook in Florida. Newsom will debate DeSantis at the end of November in a putative dry run for 2028. (Read more from “Kamala Harris v. Gavin Newsom: The Coming Democratic Civil War” HERE)

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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