Fallout or a Boost from a VP Pick?

Written by Micah Clark

Traditionally this should be a good week for the Democrat Party with their national convention. Traditionally too, the announcement of a running-mate, the Joe Biden and Kamala Harris ticket, should be a boost. But is it?

A new CNN poll now shows the presidential race at a virtual tie. President Donald J. Trump is down 4 points, but the poll’s margin of error is 3.7 percent, making it a possible tie. In many battleground states Trump is just 1 point behind, according to CNN, no friend of the President. What makes this poll interesting, are two things:

1) CNN’s last national poll in July showed the President trailing by 14 points.

2) This was the first poll asking about the Biden/Harris ticket versus the Trump/Pence ticket.

Where is the traditional boost from the Harris announcement?

It is possible that in spite of fawning media praise for U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, she does not resonate well with voters, at this point. She may be seen as too liberal as a San Francisco Democrat who was ranked by GovTrack as the most liberal U.S. Senator in 2019, to the left of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

The pick has been widely praised as historic, as the first woman of color on the ticket. That should have been a plus for Biden in the polls. (It is historic, but she is not the first “African American,” as some have said. Technically, she’s an Indian-Jamaican.  Her mother is from India and her father is Jamaican. Interestingly, according to her father, a Stanford professor, her great grandparents owned five sugarcane plantations, which had an estimated 200 slaves. Harris supports reparations. Maybe she should start with some of her own money with reparations in the Caribbean.)

Traditionally, when a candidate picks a running-mate from his field of opponents, he or she will pick someone who garnished a significant share of the vote as a means of coalescing the party. The Harris pick didn’t do that. She dropped out of the presidential race before a single vote was cast, due to lack of support from her own party.

Also, traditionally, a candidate will often pick someone with a geographic base helpful to his election. The Harris pick didn’t do this either. Biden was going win California, no matter who he chose.

And then there is this: A new Rasmussen Poll finds that a third of black voters say Biden’s pick of Harris will make them less likely to vote for that ticket. Rasmussen also found that 36 percent of blacks approve of President Trump. Traditionally, again, if that translates to votes, there is almost no way Joe Biden can win with only 64 percent of the black vote when Democrats typically receive over 90 percent of that demographic on Election Day.

If there is one thing that we know about 2020, it is that nothing is traditional or predictable. The Harris pick could be a boost to Biden, (and so could the convention). She is articulate and talented, even as a U.S. Senator of only 3 years. Time will tell if voters believe she should be “one heartbeat away from the presidency,” as the saying goes.

(Another poll finds most voters do not think that if elected, Biden, who would be 78 years old, will finish out his first term.  This includes 49% of Democrats who think Biden’s VP would become president before the 2024 election.)


This article was originally published by AFA of Indiana.