Harris Endorses Biden

The Democratic wagons continue to circle around Biden.

The latest one-time precandidate for the Democratic nomination has endorsed Vice President Joe Biden. This time, Senator Kamala Harris. So reports CNN: Kamala Harris endorses Joe Biden for president.

“When I started my run for president, I said America needs a president who reflects the decency and dignity of the American people; a president who speaks the truth; and a president who fights for those whose voices are too often overlooked or ignored. I still believe that to this day. That is why I am proud to announce I am endorsing my friend, Vice President Joe Biden, for President of the United States,” Harris said in a statement on Sunday.

The announcement came via Twitter:

It was just over a week ago that a Bernie nomination seemed the most probable outcome of this process and Biden seemed doomed to lose another nomination bid. Now, FiveThirtyEight has Biden with an 89% of winning the nomination, and Bernie only has a 2% chance.

The degree to which actors in the Democratic Party have moved to coalesce around a preferred candidate has been fascinating and impressive (and I expect we will learn more over time in terms of whatever happened behind the scenes). Clearly there were lessons learned from the 2016 GOP contests and, perhaps more importantly, party elites are just as focused as Democratic voters on ousting Trump via focusing on the candidate with e best chance to win in November. Fears that Bernie is not that guy obviously influenced this outcome.

Moreover, it is interesting to note that what has happened is key actors in the party, to include many of the precandidates, reacted negatively to the influence of individuals who were not traditionally part of the fold (i.e., perennial independent, Bernie Sanders and Democrat-come-lately, Michael Bloomberg, not to mention Tom Steyer). This was also true of primary voters, although voters’ choices were made easier by elite-level choices by Klobuchar and Buttigieg.

I think that if Bernie was a more mainline Democrat, those candidates would have stayed in the race on Super Tuesday. But no doubt internal pressure from within the party, as well as clear strategic choices on their parts, led to their dramatic and timely exits.

To return to Senator Harris, I usually do not make a big deal about endorsements, but I think this one is noteworthy, even if it is less significant than Klobuchar’s or Buttigieg’s. It demonstrates more coordination and consolidation around what is clearly the party’s preferred candidate. Indeed, the pattern of endorsements looks more to me like that of a general election campaign than one of a primary process not yet half done. But while it will make Bernie and many of the Bros unhappy, all of this behavior sums to clear signals to Democratic voters that Biden is the candidate the party prefers and, perhaps more significantly in the current moment, the best chance on the table to beat Trump in November.

A side note: I do think that Harris is almost certainly on the shortlist for veep. As I have noted elsewhere, I think that to be veepable one has to be someone in their 60s or younger (Harris is 55) and has to be either a woman or a person of color (or both). I would add, too, the veep cannot be a Senator from a state with a Republican governor who has the power to appoint a replacement/from a state that is purple, as the party cannot afford to risk a Senate seat. This leaves Elizabeth Warren out of the picture, by the way (not to mention that she, too, is a septuagenarian).

Speaking of Warren, her non-endorsement is interesting as, between now and Tuesday is probably the pinnacle of her influence. She could give the progressive wing a (likely futile) boost by siding with Bernie, but she also has to know that her political fortunes are going to be with the Biden camp. It will be interesting to see what she does.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. James Joyner says:

    I usually do not make a big deal about endorsements, but I think this one is noteworthy, even if it is less significant than Klobuchar’s or Buttigieg’s.

    Agreed. But my first reaction was “What, she hadn’t already endorsed him?” I know it has been less than a week since Super Tuesday but the Klobuchar and Buttigieg endorsements seemed to be the circling of the wagons with Bloomberg’s following suit a closing of that loop.

    Somehow, I don’t think Jesse Jackson’s endorsement of Sanders at this stage is going to change the momentum.

    5
  2. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I do think that Harris is almost certainly on the shortlist for veep.

    I think Harris would make a fine VP. I’d love to see her on the debate stage with Trump, but watching her destroy Pence would be almost as much fun.
    Klobuchar might make more sense. Minnesota also has a Democratic (DFL) Governor, so the Senate seat would also be safe, and she probably helps in some other Mid-West States as well.

    8
  3. Michael Reynolds says:

    I know, right? This is the party of the circular firing squad. The party of cat-herders. I am not a member of any organized party, I’m a Democrat. But somehow, we came together to try and stop the usual suicide.

    The Republicans who used to be able to do that joined a cult of personality instead.

    9
  4. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Steven

    Massachusetts changed its Senatorial replacement process in anticipation of John Kerry winning the presidency in 04. The Governor does no longer replaces the Senator and an election is required in (I believe) 90 days of the resignation. So Warren could be in play.

    Also, Amy made a slip yesterday that indicates she is the likely VP nominee for Biden.

    4
  5. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    This is where the Dems, being a party of allied interest groups have an advantage over the Rethugs top down purity. The whole RINO exile movement left the rethugs so narrow in their thinking that when a talented demagogue came along the party fell into line.

    To be a Dem, is by contrast, requires that you compromise on some issues to support other interest groups. Dem’s do have their purists e.g. The Squad and the Bernie Bros, but as loud as they are, exist only on the margins.

    2
  6. @Sleeping Dog: Doesn’t the governor still have an interim appointment prior to the special election?

  7. @Steven L. Taylor: Yep, as I was thinking, there is a period of 145-160 days during which an interim appointment is in place. As such, no, I don’t think she is in play.

    1
  8. Kylopod says:

    @Sleeping Dog: @Steven L. Taylor: According to Ballotpedia, the governor does appoint a temporary replacement. That’s what happened in 2009, after Ted Kennedy’s death: Deval Patrick appointed Paul G. Kirk, until Scott Brown’s election.

    1
  9. wr says:

    @Sleeping Dog: “Dem’s do have their purists e.g. The Squad ”
    AOC has already publicly committed to whole-heartedly supporting Biden should he win the nomination, so maybe we can stop reciting right-wing talking points about “the Squad.”

    13
  10. Tyrell says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: I would go with Tulsi Gabbard, but Kolbuchar would be okay. It would be better for Biden to choose a Southern Democrat.
    I was shocked that Harris endorsed him, considering the spat they had over the “busing” issue.

    2
  11. @Kylopod: Yep–that law dates back to 2004. But even a temporary appointment could lead to a change in control of the chamber for months.

    1
  12. @Tyrell:

    I would go with Tulsi Gabbard

    Ok, I’ll bite. Under what scenario would that be a good idea?

    15
  13. John M Carter says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: If I recall correctly, it is because our fictional friend only wants to support a Democrat with military experience. He also always conveniently forgets that Mayor Pete served.

    6
  14. Mister Bluster says:

    …good idea?

    This may give him something to think about while he is waiting by the restroom door for someone to open it.

    4
  15. Michael Reynolds says:

    @wr:
    I agree, the Bros are one thing, AOC has been a good Democrat with her eyes on priorities.

    3
  16. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    waiting by the restroom door for someone to open it.

    Oooh, that is nice. I may steal it.

  17. Jen says:

    @John M Carter:

    If I recall correctly, it is because our fictional friend only wants to support a Democrat with military experience. He also always conveniently forgets that Mayor Pete served.

    There are plenty more, too. Tammy Duckworth of IL, and Jason Kander of MO are two more right off the top of my head who would make light-years more sense than Tulsi-frickin’-Gabbard.

    2
  18. MarkedMan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Under the scenario where T gets to be amused at everyone’s reaction to his posts? FWIW, I think he is brilliant

    3
  19. wr says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: “Under what scenario would that be a good idea?”

    Lulz?

    2
  20. Mister Bluster says:

    steal it.

    Give Tyrell all the the credit.
    Of course he may have heard it from Kellyanne “I’m not in the job of having evidence” Conway.

  21. Sleeping Dog says:

    @wr:

    AOC is supporting the challenge of moderate Dem house members through the Justice Democrat PAC, so her party support is situational.

    4
  22. wr says:

    @Sleeping Dog: “AOC is supporting the challenge of moderate Dem house members through the Justice Democrat PAC, so her party support is situational.”

    She is doing that in primaries. And then she supports the winner of the primary.

    There’s a difference between supporting the Democratic candidate in every race and blindly supporting every D in a primary. The former is the way you retake power; the latter is simply conceding control over the agenda to the DNC. There are some Dems who should be primaried, especially right-wingers in safe blue districts. And an election to a seat in congress should not come with a lifetime guarantee…

    2
  23. Paine says:

    I think Biden/Harris would be a formidable ticket. Klobucher is a bit bland and being Minnesota-nice I don’t expect she has the attack-dog instincts.

    2
  24. Scott F. says:

    Back in January, Biden himself said that he would need to chose a running mate who was clearly ready to assume the presidency since he is “an old guy.” He’ll also need to balance his “return to normalcy” message with someone who evokes a new day if he wants to energize the base enough to help down ballot. He’ll want to pick someone who won’t alienate Sanders supporters who aren’t purist Bernie Bros., because every vote will matter.

    He’s got choices, but that’s a lot of boxes to check.

    1
  25. EddieInCA says:

    @Scott F.:

    I said way back in July on this very site, that I thought it should be Biden/Harris. Not gonna change now. I still believe that is the Dems best bet for 2020.

    But….

    I’m “Vote Blue. No Matter Who.”

    4
  26. Michael Reynolds says:

    @EddieInCA:
    You’re pretty close to clinching the Pundit Prize. Ceremony to be held at a Muleshoe*, Texas Travelodge this year.

    Harris is an attack dog, not a great inspirational type. That’s probably what we need. Plus black and female.

    *Yes, that’s a real place. I’m sure it’s lovely.

    2
  27. Jen says:

    @Paine:

    I don’t expect she has the attack-dog instincts.

    Well, she has one of the highest staff turnovers in Congress, mostly because she is apparently not “Minnesota nice” to those she works with. She’s considered one of the most toxic bosses on Capitol Hill.

    I think she’d do just fine in a VP debate.

    2
  28. Scott F. says:

    @EddieInCA:
    I’m “Vote Blue. No Matter Who” also, but I wanted Harris at the top of the ticket back in July. I thought then that the best way to run against Trump was to hit him hard on his corruption and Harris could have spent the general campaign prosecuting him.

    It now seems clear that generally Democrats want the election to be about competence and with COVID-19 in the headlines for the coming months, that may be the more pertinent message to run on. Biden seems well suited to that.

    Biden/Harris is a two-fer.

    1
  29. Sleeping Dog says:

    @wr:

    She is doing that in primaries. And then she supports the winner of the primary.

    If you primary a moderate incumbent in a swing district and beat that incumbent, then lose to the rethug in the general, you’ve lost the seat for the Dems.

    AOC is a smug little twit who owes her congressional seat to the white liberals who gentrified her district. Crowley won the blue collar, minority precincts in her district. She won the white liberals who turn out to vote in greater percentages than working class voters.

    2
  30. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    ,,,Muleshoe*, Texas Travelodge…

    Travelodge’s are the most decrepit rundown motels of any chain. They’re cheap and since most were old Howard Johnson’s have a ptomaine quality restaurant attached. But the beer is cold.

    2
  31. dmichael says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I’ll answer for Tyrell: None. She is an useful idiot for the Russians and couldn’t even get all the delegates from American Samoa when she has Samoan ancestry. She deserves to be forgotten although I do wonder why she is still officially a Dem candidate. Maybe money from somewhere?

  32. Teve says:

    Let me explain something to you about Joe Biden and why some of the shit that he’s done in his past doesn’t matter. This old rich white man played second fiddle to a black man. Not just any black man but a younger black man, a smart black man. Not just for a day. Not 1, not 2 but eight years. He took his cues from this black man who had more power than him and was virtually unknown when he took the presidency and Joe Biden had been around forever. He was willing and proud to be his wing man. Not once did he try to undermine him, this black man. Instead Joe walked in lockstep with him, he respected him, he loved and trusted him. He was lead by him and he learned from him. And Joe did not have a problem with it. You tell me what 40+ year “establishment” white politician has ever done that. Joe Biden is cut from a different cloth. And black folks understand that and for good reason. He has shown it. This is what showing up and being an ally looks like. When black people say they know Joe this is how we know.

    -Laurie Goff

    6
  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I never give that much consideration. On the other hand I’m one of Tom Beaudet (from Motel 6)’s “99% of the time [I’m] in the room my eyes are closed” people.

    ETA: Still, I almost never stay at a Travelodge. They charge too much. I can always get a better deal.

    1
  34. wr says:

    @Sleeping Dog: “If you primary a moderate incumbent in a swing district and beat that incumbent, then lose to the rethug in the general, you’ve lost the seat for the Dems.”

    And if you never primary a “moderate” incumbent in a safe blue district, you end up with an anti-abortion crusader posing as a Democrat in a Chicago district.

    “AOC is a smug little twit who owes her congressional seat to the white liberals who gentrified her district.”

    Ah, I see we’ve been watching Fox again. Be sure to remind us she’s stupid because she’s just a gurl and she used to be a bartender, oh and she occasionally wears clothes which we can all decide are too expensive for her. And she danced once!!!!! As for which of her constituents voted for her — she won the district.

    2