Replacing Kamala Harris

Yves here. In a bit of synchronicity, a few days ago, Lambert and I backed into the idea that Kamala Harris has been a central obstacle to Team Dem 2024 prospects. Lambert pointed out if Biden slipped a cog, as he likes to put it, before the Democratic Party convention, not to worry, the Party could simply install Gavin Newsom or Jay Pritzker. I pointed out that that was highly unlikely to be a winning strategy.

I pointed out there was an effort to get Biden to exit (recall the David Ignatius op ed?) but Biden really would need to have agreed to go by early November at the latest for fundraising and other purposes. But even if the various effort had succeeded, Kamala Harris would be heir presumptive, even before the idea that Biden, out of ego and general cussedness, would have backed her. So she would have needed to be sufficiently tarnished so as to be pretty quickly dispatched. The post below points to plenty of kompormat….and I am sure there is more if one looked.

But yet another problem: Kamala would need to get a damned good consolation prize to step aside. But what could one possibly gin up? She’s been largely missing in action as VP (even more so than customary) so a book deal with a big advance would seem…..unseemly in the absence of what could be spun as a triumphal exit. She can’t even keep staff, so the usual high prestige admin job like a university president or head of a splashy foundation would be a non-starter. Readers?

By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at God’s Spies

In the exclusive piece below, Democratic Party donor Guy Saperstein argues that Kamala Harris’s presence on the 2024 ticket could be fatal to Joe Biden’s electoral chances.

I’ve said the same, especially here:

Trump (if he’s smart) pivots to Kamala Harris, dismisses Biden and makes her his opponent. … Biden improves his odds if he gets rid of Kamala Harris as a running mate.

What’s different about Saperstein’s argument is his bill of particulars — reasons why Harris should be dropped. Much of this is in the public domain. But much of it isn’t — the Willie Brown connection, for example, or her sloppiness and massive “chain of custody” problems as DA.

About the Willie Brown material, you may not want to think ill of Harris for her romantic life or its effect on her career, but progressives avoiding the discussion won’t stop Republicans from making sure everyone in the country is exposed to it daily. Saperstein’s point is the effect of Harris on the ticket. Willie Brown will be made part of that effect.

The piece deserves your careful consideration. To paraphrase Saperstein, “Imagine how Republicans are going to play this.” They won’t be silent.

Guy Saperstein is a former member of the Democracy Alliance, a progressive, and a major Democratic Party donor. From his Huff Post bio page:

[H]e founded a law firm in Oakland which became the largest plaintiffs civil rights law firm in America, in the process successfully prosecuting the largest race, sex and age discrimination class actions in American history. Guy also prosecuted False Claims Act cases against Lockheed Missiles & Space Co. regarding satellite surveillance systems, and against Raytheon, Boeing and TRW regarding the sham National Missile Defense Program.

In 2006, Guy helped write the “Real Security” plank of the Democratic Party’s New Directions for America, and in 2007, helped found the National Security/Foreign Policy New Ideas Fund, with funding from the Democracy Alliance. He also has been Co-Chair of the Democracy Alliance’s Strategy Group and was active in its National Security/Foreign Policy Group. In 2006, Guy was described by Bill O’Reilly as “a character assassin” and “a member of the nefarious Left-Wing Mafia,” along with four other DA Partners.

The Twitter insertions below are mine. The rest is Saperstein.


The Time to Replace Kamala Harris Is Now

by Guy Saperstein

2024 is going to consist of an attack on Biden for being too old and frail, combined with an attack on his VP, who would become president if Biden died. The attack on Biden will be simple: endless, repeated videos of him slurring words, misstating facts, stumbling, looking lost, forgetting names — all the classic signs of dementia.

The Republicans ignored Kamala in 2020, but they won’t in 2024 because of Biden’s age. They will be shouting from the rooftops, “Hey, people, this person could become your President!”

Remember that the person we are talking about entered the 2020 primaries polling 18% and, after four debates, fell to 6% and dropped out. I can’t remember any presidential aspirant falling so far, so fast, so there should be no argument Kamala is a truly terrible candidate.

But there is more, much more.

Harris as District Attorney

My career was as a trial lawyer in the SF Bay Area. The mayor and later Speaker of the California Assembly, Willie Brown, was a personal friend and political supporter of trial lawyers. I loved Willie. He was smart, politically gifted — he supported everything I ever asked him for — and funny. Willie defined the word “dapper.” We’d go shopping at the same store, Wilkes Bashford, where he was the King. He would always tell the staff, “Now, you take care of my white buddy Guy. Whites are not blessed with my good taste, so help the poor boy.” Willie had more charm than ten white boys.

Willie was married and estranged from his wife. It was well-known he had a young — 30 years younger — black girlfriend. He didn’t even try to hide it. The girlfriend was Kamala Harris, then a nondescript assistant city attorney. Next thing I knew, Kamala was running for District Attorney, supported by Willie’s powerful political machine against the then DA, Terence Hallinan, a progressive. Willie’s machine won and Kamala became San Francisco DA.

Next next thing I knew, assistant San Francisco DAs were calling me and asking, “Where is Kamala?” They knew I was a friend of Willie’s. Apparently, she wasn’t showing up for work.

A few months later, I read that Kamala had been read the riot act by a solid Democratic judge for not maintaining good chain of custody for evidence. “Chain of custody” is a legal term which means that the evidence you submit to the court is that same uncontaminated evidence you seized at the crime scene. Before I became a civil rights class action lawyer, I did 50 criminal jury trials, and chain of custody was never an issue because the DA would do his/her job competently and insure that the correct evidence was presented to the court. But that was before Kamala’s laziness set new standards.

Kamala was hauled before three liberal judges who were outraged by her sloppiness. In response, Kamala lied under oath to all of them, trying to blame it on the police department crime lab, but that was total bullshit. When an attorney presents evidence to a court, she or he vouches for it. Kamala should have been disbarred as a result, but San Francisco is a liberal “old boys” network, and liberals protect even lying, unethical DAs.

When the dust cleared, 1,100 FELONIES had to be dismissed — and by Democratic judges. In the history of American jurisprudence, I don’t think this has ever happened. Just think of what it means to have 1,100 felonies dismissed for defective chain-of-custody. Harris was willing to allow 1,100 people to go to prison for years because she wouldn’t admit her errors.

Pretty low-integrity, in my opinion. Now imagine how the Republican law-and-order zealots are going to play this!

Harris as National Candidate

In two Senate campaigns against weak opponents, Harris ran behind Democratic registration. And though Biden picked her for his VP, the first black woman to be so chosen, she is not well-liked in the black community. She is seen as “the black DA who put black men in jail.” Her parents were not inner city blacks; her mother’s heritage is Indian and her father is Jamaican. She didn’t really share the American black experience, having grown up middle class.

When she was California Attorney General, I interfaced with her many times, mostly around federal bail-out money for homeowners. She was uniformly terrible. She wouldn’t do a damn thing unless pushed to the wall and embarrassed politically.

My last direct contact with her was when she ran for her second Senate term. She came to my house and we talked in my living room for 1-1/2 hours. Partway through I said, “We’ve been talking for at least an hour and all I’ve heard are Democratic platitudes. Now I would like to hear one original idea.”

She couldn’t do it.

Time for Change

We may be locked into Joe Biden, but VPs get changed all the time.

Since Biden played race politics the first time, he may feel compelled to choose another black woman. Fine with me. My first two choices are Stacey Abrams and Karen Bass. Abrams is an accomplished author, incredibly eloquent, very likeable, very smart. And not just attractive to black women. I have heard so many white women comment about how they feel her compassion.

Bass had at least several terms in the House, some in leadership positions, and now is running an iconic major city, Los Angeles.

Gretchen Whitmer would also help Biden with women. She is younger, attractive, more robust, and she governed Michigan, a major state.

Of course, I think Newsom is the strongest candidate and Pritzker in Illinois is doing a great job.

Let the discussion begin, but let’s not assume Harris is irreplaceable.


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  1. Samuel Conner

    Clinton/Newsom at a brokered convention. Not that I’m rooting for that outcome.

    The prospect of further wars would incline me to look forward to HRC making history by losing to DJT twice.


    This part confuses me:

    > “When the dust cleared, 1,100 FELONIES had to be dismissed — and by Democratic judges. In the history of American jurisprudence, I don’t think this has ever happened. Just think of what it means to have 1,100 felonies dismissed for defective chain-of-custody. Harris was willing to allow 1,100 people to go to prison for years because she wouldn’t admit her errors.”

    I don’t understand how the dismissal of felony charges/convictions would result in people going to prison. Also, would admission of the errors have resulted in non-dismissal? Perhaps what was intended is that KH was willing to allow laws to go unenforced as the cost of whatever benefits were personally enjoyed due to sloppy work practice.


    The thought occurs that affairs of the heart can have major policy and political consequences. (Though, as the case of Monica Lewinsky and the then ‘grand bargain” illustrates, these are not always negative).

      1. Michael Fiorillo

        I love the look on #McResistance liberals’ faces when I tell them that Monica deserves the Congressional Medal of Honor, and why. At minimum, there’s a sour, constipated look on their faces, but often their heads simply explode.

      2. steppenwolf fetchit

        If Trump get re-elected, he could troll the Clintons by awarding Monica Lewinski the Presidential Medal of Freedom for saving Social Security. It could be a huge fancy ceremony at the White House held during TV Prime Time.

        And if he did that, he might find it harder to circle back and try to destroy Social Security later.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      I think the last part of that quote meant that she was willing to lie about chain of custody to make sure that that the 1,100 people went to jail instead of the admitting that she effed up and accepting the dismissals in the first place.

      1. JBird4049

        Well, it is different than, when as the state’s attorney general, Harrris made the argument that they shouldn’t release (non-violent) prisoners from the state’s prisons because they needed the slave labor.

        The point is that to Kamala Harris considers her mere convenience, or making her life easier just for her, as more important to her than the lives of others especially when one considers just how hellish American jails and prisons are.

    2. Big River Bandido

      That confused me at first as well. It was not the dismissal of the charges that would have resulted in prison sentences, but Harris’ continued insistence to prosecute. If you re-read the sentence in that light it makes sense.

      1. ChrisPacific

        Yes, it’s a framing thing. The article says 1100 felonies had to be dismissed. The author takes the view that all of those people were technically not proven guilty under the law and had thus been unjustly imprisoned.

        In the context of an attack ad by Republicans (who are not usually overly concerned about presumption of innocence) this would be framed as 1100 scumbag crooks getting let back out onto the streets on a technicality because Harris didn’t do her job.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          We have “technically not guilty” as in procedure. to protect the innocent. Your comment presumes guilty when the standard is innocent until proven guilty,, and Kamala’s sloppiness = not doing tha.

    3. Carla

      @Samuel Conner “I don’t understand how the dismissal of felony charges/convictions would result in people going to prison.” Thank you! I certainly did not understand that, either.

      Nor, frankly, do I comprehend any of the efforts in these comments to make it make sense.

      An explanation from Saperstein or Neuberger would be most welcome.

      1. Mike Hachey

        The author is saying that Kamala Harris knowingly pursued prosecutions with flawed evidence. The judges who dismissed the convictions undid her mistake.

        1. Carla

          “The judges who dismissed the convictions undid her mistake.” By sending the defendants to prison?

          That’s what Saperstein said.

          1. XXYY

            She was striving to imprison 1,100 people who should properly have been freed becuse of procedural errors in their cases by the DA.

            1. Even keel

              Usually what happens is the same procedural mistake is committed by the same people. For years. But it flies under the radar and the people get convicted and sent to prison.

              When the mistake is finally caught, in a live case, that defendant is then acquitted. But then they go back and find the other people who historically were convicted using the same bad pattern and/or people making the same mistakes. And set them free early. Maybe pay them a bit for wrongful conviction.

              So, if Harris had reviewed the procedure properly, when she first took charge, or if one of her subordinates had, then these wrongfully convicted people would never have been convicted.

              At least that’s my understanding. I don’t know the facts. And they weren’t detailed. It’s just an opinion piece.

    4. ambrit

      “…affairs of the heart…” is doing some heavy lifting there. The Lewinsky “Affaire” demonstrated the essentially sociopathic nature of Bill Clinton. He displayed absolutely no “empathy or comity” in his exploitation of young women. “Heart” has nothing whatsoever to do with anything Bill Clinton ever did.
      I’m seeing the odds of a spate of small aircraft crashes involving politicos of all stripes in 2024 increasing daily.

      1. XXYY

        I don’t know why the Clinton Lewinsky affair is always interpreted with Monica Lewinsky being the “victim.”

        Both the people involved were consenting adults. If anything, single woman Lewinsky was the bad actor for repeatedly sleeping with someone she knew very well to be married. My recollection is she looked forward with great enthusiasm to her meetings with Clinton, and was obviously thrilled and excited to be having sex with a powerful man.

        I have absolutely no brief for Bill Clinton, but it seems archaic to claim the female is always the exploited victim when two people have sex.

    5. Vicky Cookies

      The heat Bill Clinton took from the Monica Lewinsky scandal led him to ask the DoD to find him some foreign chemical weapons labs to hit with cruise missiles; the ensuing destruction of the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan – not a chemical weapons lab – wreaked untold destruction on the region’s medical and agricultural infrastructure, and contributed to the Sudanese government withdrawing an offer to give some of Bin Laden’s people, who they were holding, to the U.S. for questioning. One of the gross-er episodes in modern American politics.

      With regard to affairs of the heart and their effect, I was just reading about the XVIII Dynasty Pharoh Amenophis IV, or Ahknaton. His father married a Syrian woman named Tii who, it is said, hated the cult of Ammon Ra, and raised their son with the same distaste for the state religion. He attempted to consolidate the Egyptian religion in an early experiment with monotheism, and moved the capital from Thebes to Tell-el-Amarna, changing his name to remove the ‘Amen’ part.

      I pray to Aton, the solar disk, that our next batch of leaders includes those whose mothers have a dislike of our state religion, American exceptionalism. Obama’s mother, who was in Indonesia in 1965 – innocently, I’m sure – is the counterexample in this case.

    6. IMOR

      They had been wrongfully convicted, regardless of guilt or innocence. Kamala’s denials and lies if accepted would have kept them imprisoned, rather than getting the vacated judgments, retrials, or dismissals her office’s mishandling of evidence had earned.

    7. Lambert Strether

      > Clinton/Newsom at a brokered convention. Not that I’m rooting for that outcome.

      The Democratic National Convention has plenary powers. It is the ultimate governing body of the Democrat Party. If Michelle — or, better, Oprah — emerges from the smoke-filled room, habemas candidata. And you can bet all the loyalists will start cheering, and will immediately fan out, talking points in hand, to the precincts, the platforms, etc.

  2. SocalJimObjects

    Perhaps an Ambassadorship to the United Nations or a country of her choice. Just to be clear, anything other than a Presidency will be a come down anyway, so …..

  3. The Rev Kev

    Stacey Abrams may be gun-shy about going for the job of VP this time around. When old Joe was looking around for a black, female Veep back in 2020, he publicly humiliated her be letting her know that she was not going to get that job while live online with no warning to her at all. Her face was a study but this was just Biden being Biden – unnecessarily cruel and nasty.

    As for Kamala and her future prospects, it could not be a job inferior to the job of being VP so not even a job as an Ambassador will do it. It will have to be something on the international stage but not one where she will be required to do actual work. As we say here, she’s so lazy that she wouldn’t work in an iron lung. So with that the World Bank and the IMF are probably out.

    And then it occurred to me. How about the same place that Finland’s party girl Sanna Marin went to? She too could also take up a position as a strategic advisor at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. She would be out of the country, it would be an organization that not one in a hundred Americans have ever heard about to know if it was a step up or down and she and Sanna could have a great time partying in London where they speak English as well.

      1. juno mas

        I suggest you read her Wiki page. She has a JD degree, and been involved in politics, and public affairs for most of her life. Unlike Kamala, she thinks coherently and speaks in complete sentences. Losing an election is not a sign of incompetence; just as winning an election doesn’t make one smart/effective.
        See: many US Presidents/VP’s.

        1. Big River Bandido

          If having a law degree and “being involved in politics and public affairs for most of [one’s] life” makes a good candidate for President, then I assume you’d be satisfied with Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Ted Cruz, or Marco Rubio, all of whom meet the same criteria. Or Hillary Clinton. Hell, even Hunter Biden. Practically anyone in Washington would suffice if that’s your metric. Personally, I think that’s a pathetically low bar.

          And a candidate who loses two elections at a low level of government has given proof of having no political constituency and no political future. Certainly they have no credibility in races for higher office. The Democrats run such candidates anyway, which allows them to spin their ID pol bona fides, without any fear that such a candidate might actually win. I refer you to Amy McGrath as Exhibit B. Deidre DeJear would be Exhibit C, but she doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page, which tells you how irrelevant she is.

          Only two U.S. Presidents were never a Governor, U. S. Senator, or equivalent of a 4-star general. One of those was a Congressman. The other was a billionaire.

  4. Dave

    Kamala isn’t going anywhere. She lived her entire life in politics. She isn’t going to derail her shot at the presidency for a book deal. Biden isn’t going to lose the election because of her. Biden will lose because of Biden and a Democrat Party beholden to corporate interests making them unable to address issues impacting Americans in any meaningful way. This has caused an erosion of the Democratic base to identify with Trump (not the Republican Party) and weak voter turnout in traditional Democrat strongholds which flipped Republican in 2016 (you can thank Obama for that).

    1. juno mas

      Oh, yeah?! Kamala is nowhere to be found because she is a political liability. I live in California and have seen her operate up close. The Saperstein article is being kind to her.

  5. Big River Bandido

    Thanks, Yves, for that tasty read. Saperstein’s analysis of the problem is clear-headed but once he starts recommending solutions he’s off in loonie land. He probably cannot see that at the level of presidential politics, “California Democrat” is a powerful epithet and, for wide swaths of the country, disqualifying. The only heavyweight candidate he named — the only one the Democrats have, IMO — is Pritzker, who, after all, owns his own jet. My own reading is that over the last 3 years the Democrats have blown it so badly that their 2024 presidential nomination will be worthless. Pritzker might look at the landscape and conclude that he’ll have a clear field in 2028 and better to wait.

    The typical consolation prize for a former VP that the party wants to bury is an ambassadorship. (Pretty sure both Mondale and Gore went that way.) Harris is as unqualified for that job as she is for all the others she’s ever held. That suggests it would not be a plum appointment (UK, France, Japan, etc.) unless the host country were quietly alerted to pay her no mind. That might indeed be what happens, since it’s not like Washington is interested in keeping Europe happy anyway.

      1. Big River Bandido

        Pritzker has his own jet, not his own time machine. ;-) Sorry, Carla, I couldn’t think of a better jest.

        Considering how bad the last 3 years have been, I think the country can survive 4 more years of Donald Trump. Whether we will survive the Blob is the question.

        1. GramSci

          I’m afraid The Donald is just another blob prop, except, he doesn’t get it. Just like Joe doesn’t get it. They both think they’re the main event. Until we get people like FDR, who openly ran against “organized money”, nothing’s gonna turn this ship around.

          1. Lefty Godot

            What we really need is another Huey Long. A rabble-rouser for whom FDR was too “centrist”. It still may not be enough, unless the CIA decides to “lone nut” Trump out of the picture, but there are not sufficient electoral votes to be had relying on a PMC-acceptable, coastal states candidate. I think Obama’s administration and its continuation under Biden destroyed any further chance of that. The problem would be funding and publicizing the campaign of someone running against the people who typically fund campaigns and against those that spin the campaigns in the mainstream media.

  6. ALM

    As S.F. District Attorney, Harris also refused to upset the leadership of the S.F. Catholic Diocese by making good on the assurances of her predecessor (Terence Hallinan) to assist victims of clerical sex abuse. At the time, the Catholic Church, a real power in S.F., successfully exerted itself to oust Hallinan in the D.A.’s race due to his strong support of victims of clerical sexual abuse.

    And Harris was a big zero as California Attorney General. Her own staff of attorneys leaked a memo to the press complaining about her failure to prosecute One West Bank for extreme mortgage fraud.

    Harris has serious baggage which includes her relationship with a married Willie Brown, notorious for his many girlfriends. Brown jump-started Harris’s political career by placing her on state Boards, etc. It’s a wonder that she passed the V.P. vetting process. Her only apparent talent appears to be a superlative ability to ingratiate herself with the wealthy and powerful. As V.P., she has impressed me as someone who has a drinking or drug problem due to her many nonsensical, rambling, and incoherent public statements. She was not as spaced out before her V.P. term.

    1. Tom Stone

      Haris has had Covid several times and I suspect that’s what’s causing the word salad, it’s shocking to listen to her now, this is not the same woman who went from nowhere to VP.

    2. IMOR

      I hate to be the one, but the offense/failure isn’t the jump start from the Speaker- your own next clause references the environment and double standard of the times- but how negative, substandard, and worthless her subsequent ‘work’/career has been.

      1. Even keel

        I reluctantly read the whole intercept article. I did not find anything that supports the claim that the church supported her candidacy. I did see that a DA refused to release for civil use evidence it had gathered using prosecutorial power when that prosecution was later ruled unconstitutional.

        1. ALM

          From “Profiles in Corruption” by Peter Schweizer: “According to San Francisco election financial disclosures, high-dollar donations to Harris’s [D.A.’s] campaign began to roll in from those connected to the Catholic Church institutional hierarchy. Harris had no particular ties to the Catholic Church or Catholic organizations, but the money still came in large, unprecedented sums.”

          The Catholic Church exerted its power through wealthy Catholic laity including its attorneys who represented the diocese.

  7. Christopher Fay

    President/Chairman of Apple. Tim Cook takes one for the team. Company is in decline might as well confuse the waters

        1. KLG

          My late grandmother, who was a card as they say in these parts, once said of a particularly dim bulb on the family Christmas tree: He couldn’t boil water without scorching it.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Not TV — NPR! Give her This Splendid Table. Then, after she’s ruined it, give her another NPR show. And then another. And when she’s destroyed NPR, give her a PBS news show.

  8. John

    To sum up, there is no one to replace Harris and no one to replace Biden. The Democratic well is dry of even remotely viable candidates.

    1. Lefty Godot

      The only ticket I could see having any credibility for traditional Democrats would be Sherrod Brown, who has some pro-labor and anti-billionaire form, and Ron Wyden, who has some anti-Big Tech background. But even they probably couldn’t beat Trump the way things are looking now. And there is no one replacing Harris that will save Biden from going down in an historic Electoral College landslide loss.

  9. DJG, Reality Czar

    Au contraire, brethren and sistren, I think that Harris isn’t going anywhere. She will remain as the vice-presidential candidate.

    Recall how much the Democrats have done to explain away the lack of career “growth” of the political liability whom NotTimothyGeithner regularly calls Mother. Yes, that would be Hillary Clinton, whose career includes wrecking the Democratic Party (with Bill), a set-up-job candidacy in NY State, a sinecure at the State Department where she came, she saw, she made messes, plus as collateral damage to the culture, the reduction of American feminism to a pile of steaming rubble.

    Let’s keep in mind the estimable Camille Paglia’s wonderful rant about Clinton, enabler of hubby the serial rapist, which applies to Harris as well.

    There may be some small skepticism about Harris’s sleeping her way to the top, but Clinton’s career is pretty much the same.

    Result: Neither of them is going anywhere.

    Also: Ahhh, race rears its ugly head, but not as one would suspect. Let’s see: Immigrant black father, non-black mother. Harris? Obama? Is that you? But this is how the Democrats now deal with race–it is class background wrapped in the enigma of U.S. racial classifications.

    Stacey Abrams? After that business in which she claimed that Joe Biden assured her that Tara Reade was just some looney, come on.

    Being way off here in the Chocolate City, I have to mention that I don’t envy U.S. residents at all. The next eleven months are going to be a pasticciaccio.

    1. Oh

      Her parents were not inner city blacks; her mother’s heritage is Indian and her father is Jamaican. She didn’t really share the American black experience, having grown up middle class.

      His parents were not inner city blacks; his mother’s heritage is Caucasian and his father is Kenyan. He didn’t really share the American black experience, having grown up middle class.

      And he became President and is held in awe by most Blacks. He was bankrolled by the financial sector and was aided by the CIA (presumably his mother’s connections). Now he still plays a huge role in the party. What a guy!

      1. Political Memories

        Also, Harris grew up in CANADA from 3rd grade through high school, and she is decended from Irish Jamaican slave owners.

        Some right wing confabulation?

        Nope, that’s what her father says:

        –“My roots go back, within my lifetime, to my paternal grandmother Miss Chrishy (née Christiana Brown), descendant of Hamilton Brown, who is on record as plantation and slave owner and founder of Brown’s Town,” wrote Donald J. Harris in a 2018 essay for Jamaica Global.

        Harris is an economist, scholar, and professor of economics, emeritus at Stanford University, according to his Stanford bio. And he is the father of Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris.

  10. Joe Well

    >>The Republicans ignored Kamala in 2020, but they won’t in 2024 because of Biden’s age.

    Sorry, I don’t see the logic of why Trump would ignore this issue the first time but not the second, and I wish this had been spelled out in the post.

    Also the age issue is vitiated by Trump’s own age. For some reason many people think it is okay to engage in age discrimination but not okay to talk about cognitive decline, so the discussion gets channeled into one of Biden’s age–and in a gerontocracy, that is a non-issue.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Um, please look at the what you cited. The post suggests that THE REPUBLICANS would go after Harris. That means op eds, ads, social media, etc. Harris may not interest Trump that much because you can get only so far going after her having (truly) slept her way to the top. Trump was a reality show host for 14 years and has a very well tuned sense of where to land punches (even though he can also let his big fat ego get in the way). Biden didn’t look that bad in 2020 while now there is plenty of evidence of his decaying state.

      And I am sorry, Trump looks high energy and robust, as did the older Sanders when he ran in 2020. Biden’s flat affect says he is hyped up on drugs.

    2. Big River Bandido

      This “ageism” argument is hollow, phony, and insulting — especially as it was deployed by the Democrat establishment against Bernie Sanders, twice. You know the Democrats are losing when they resort to Wokesterism arguments to defend the most depraved policy, and when their arguments are exactly the opposite of what they said before against someone they opposed. Don’t think for a minute that average voters won’t see the contortions.

      This line is also patronizing in its presumption that the average voter has no contact with 80 year olds and no ability to evaluate their physical and mental fitness. Voters know the difference between “old” and such adjectives as “senile”, “incompetent”, “callous”, “genocidal”, and “corrupt”. All of those and many more unflattering terms fit the incumbent, which is why his polling is so disastrous and why spinning those numbers as “ageism” ain’t gonna work.

      1. redleg

        I agree that age is not the issue for Biden any more than it is for Trump, Clinton, Sanders, et al.
        Instead it’s the mental and physical condition that he’s in compared to the other aforementioned peers. The guy is barely there. I wouldn’t want (or trust) anyone in his condition to plan brunch, let alone be an executive of any type. He should retire, but the Dems are the world leaders in “There Is No Alternative” stupidity.

    3. Skip Intro

      ‘Age’ is the polite framing that the Democrats hope people will use to refer to the clear signs of dementia in their candidate.

    1. jefemt

      My son … South Park Gen whatever— mid 30’s, wrote in Turd Sandwich and Giant Douche.
      Straight outta South Park. And They Vote. And they DO care, but they have as little hope for the future-as written-by T P T B as do I.

      That “No Party’s” group is awfully quiet, and Manchin and Romney are being lightly-visible, but present.

      Imagine a ticket with those two. Talk about upsetting several apple carts… The money side would be fine with it, but the two parties and their machine: Stranded Assets?

      If Biden heads in for Impeachment trials, and Trumpo is in several trials, we will have both assumed nominees and front runners for leader of the free World in Court. Plenty Smoke- how could there be no fire?

      2024 – the year of Popcorn Futures. Did Soros and Buffett load up?

  11. Fred

    You all are making this much more complicated than it needs to be. It’s a lesser of evils vote (again) and as long as it’s not Trump I’ll accept it.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      You might accept it. But I am skeptical “anyone but Trump” is going to work again, especially when it’s the same two who have continued Trump’s trajectory.

  12. Arizona Slim

    My replacement candidate suggestions:

    Regina Romero, the current mayor of Tucson. On the competence scale, she ranks just ahead of Kamala. But she’s easy on the eyes, so to speak.

    Kyrsten Sinema. Yes, I know. The very mention of her name gives progressives the vapors, but she is quite popular in certain segments of the Republican Party.

    Katie Hobbs, the current governor of Arizona. Like some of our previous governors — Bruce Babbitt and Janet Napolitano, I’m looking right at you — she’s quite ambitious and may already have a significant case of Potomac Fever.

    1. Pat

      Why do I have a feeling that these suggestions might result in something like New Mexicans’ elation at Bill Richardson heading off to the heady climes of the Beltway. :).

      1. Arizona Slim

        Not only do you have that feeling, you are reading my mind, Pat.

        And let’s just say that, here in Tucson, Arizona, when one of our local pols is diagnosed with Potomac Fever, a lot of us aren’t sorry to see that pol disappear inside the Beltway.

  13. Feral Finster

    Everyone knows that Harris’ sole qualification for S.F. D.A. was that she was sleeping with Willie Brown. Everyone knows that Harris is incompetent, and I don’t need Saperstein (who probably is motivated by a political beef with Harris) to tell me that.

    What does anyone propose to do about it?

    1. Billy Cohen

      Rewrite the Horation Alger stories to encourage young women of color and loose morals to shoot for the moon.

      Instead of “bootstraps” make it “kneepads.”

  14. Pat

    For my part, blaming Harris for Biden’s coming loss will be good because unlike Clinton, she isn’t venal enough to be able to deflect the fallout. A forced retirement with no return to public service should happen to many more, but I will take them whenever they happen.

  15. JonnyJames

    Sadly, it won’t make much difference whoever the DNC selects to run in Elections Inc. in 2024. Our “choice” will be between DT (or another R) JB (or another D). Either way, the PR “democracy” will provide a big money spectacle, generate 100s of millions for PR firms, marketing/ads for BigMedia, consultancy, etc. Democracy Inc. is a great business – it distracts, it frames the discourse in a very narrow fashion, and generates big money. But, we cannot rationally expect any significant difference.

    The corruption we are faced with is both institutionalized, as well as illicit. A recent example is Congress completely ignoring the AECA, while shipping heavy weapons and money to Ukraine and Israel. But of course, what good are laws when they can simply be ignored when convenient.

    I’m not trying to be a jerk, but I can’t be bothered to speculate about the kakistocrats “running” in elections that are basically a sham and distraction to perpetuate the illusion of “democracy”.

    As others have done, I will write-in candidates and “waste” my vote. I refuse to “vote”, even though only symbolic, for an amoral genocidal crook, whether they have a D or R after their name. There is no lesser evil, only the more “effective evil”, and why vote for evil? Does that make the American electorate evil as well? Since we continue to “vote” for evil, many outside observers might think that the American public is evil for “electing” genocidal freaks.

    1. Lefty Godot

      As much as he’s a shady character with kooky positions on some issues, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. should not be discounted as a possible “none of the above” choice for voters. The question is whether the media can easily destroy his chances or whether he has the ability like Trump to get more popular the more negative coverage he gets.

      And the other option is not voting at all, which I think many people who (like me) turned out to vote against Trump in 2020 will weigh seriously this time. To me, in 2016, a vote for Hillary Clinton was a vote for nuclear war with Russia and China, and in 2024 a vote for Biden will be a vote for nuclear war also. I didn’t vote in 2016 and I won’t in 2024 with the current choices. Trump may be as bad as Biden on that front, a little harder to tell, but no way am I voting for nuclear war and a candidate who thinks holding onto the Empire is worth marching to that.

      1. Duke of Prunes

        RFK jrs undying devotion to Israel is tough to swallow. I can ignore a lot of his crackpot positions, but not that one. He also talks tough about the deep state, yet his campaign manager is former CIA.

        1. Lefty Godot

          Yes, there be less there than meets the eye with him. I think he’s more of a feint toward a non-Republican Trump Lite candidate who will rejoin the neoliberal/neoconservative herd once in office (if he somehow makes it). It’s easy to see that happening, though maybe not as blatantly obvious as you could predict with Obama. But then Trump’s version of making America great was to lower taxes on the rich and let neocons like Bolton and Pompeo take a turn steering foreign policy. Plus his son-in-law…strategic marriages do play a part. And as long as Citizens United stands, we are unlikely to get a non-Likudnik making the final ballot.

      2. Lambert Strether

        > Robert F. Kennedy Jr. should not be discounted as a possible “none of the above” choice for voters.

        If you live in a Swing State, and you really want to kick over the table, I would say that RFK is your candidate. No doubt that would throw the election into the House, but I did say “kick over the table,” did I not?

        1. JonnyJames

          If only we could “kick over the table”. I would welcome that, but I don’t see it. No matter, the status quo will prevail, just like before. It will not “be different this time”. The Palestinians will continue to be mass murdered, and the US will continue its downhill slide. No one really addressed the concerns I raised in my post above. But then again there are no easy answers.

          1. JBird4049

            If the table was kicked over by throwing it into the House, it would possibly shake the American nation into doing something besides accepting that they’re being rendered for profit.(note that I did not mention the captured state of the American nation-state) If JFK, DJT, Dean Philips, or even Cornel West were thrown into the House that would still not convince the Professional Managerial Class that it is anything other than the racists, bigots, and deplorables aka the disposables being Bad People for the unrest. As with Neoliberalism and modern Free Market Capitalism, they cannot be wrong, only everyone else.

            I do not expect any President to be able to change anything due to the corruption and interference of the Blob, but I do expect different reactions depending on who and how he wins. If it is Gavin Newsom, the Democratic Party will be finished as an acceptable mainstream political party. It will go join the American Whigs.

  16. North Beacher

    Today’s Honduran Fentanyl dealers in San Francisco and now spreading statewide, got their start thanks to The Kamaleon.

    July 1, 2008
    “An effort by San Francisco to shield eight young Honduran crack dealers from federal immigration officials backfired when the youths escaped from Southern California group homes within days of their arrival, officials said Monday.

    The walkaways are the latest in a string of embarrassments for city officials (D.A. KAMALA HARRIS) who are protecting illegal-immigrant drug dealers from federal authorities and possible deportation because of San Francisco’s 1989 declaration that the city is a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants.

    Until recently, San Francisco flew juvenile illegal immigrants convicted of drug crimes to their home countries rather than cooperate with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, a practice that drew national attention when The Chronicle reported it Sunday.”

    “Kamalala” is an appreciative name given to some young girls in a Honduran drug dealers’ village.

    Articles about the Honduran village that provides multiple generations of drug dealers to the streets of San Franicisco. Thanks to Kamala, Newsom and the Sanctuary City and State movements.

    “In August 2019, his daughter, Karol Erazo Reanos, and her husband, Andy Reanos-Moreno, were swept up in a federal crackdown on Tenderloin drug dealing, accused of running what prosecutors called a “vast network of street-level drug dealers in the Bay Area.”

    Reanos-Moreno pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 72 months in federal prison. But after Erazo Reanos posted a $50,000 bond in 2020, she didn’t return to court. She was rumored to have fled back to El Pedernal.

    An 18-month investigation by The Chronicle has documented the high concentration of people from the Siria Valley who have migrated to San Francisco to sell drugs in the open-air markets. Velasquez was the first from El Pedernal.”

    An entire series of high quality investigative articles about this:

  17. Susan the other

    We have plenty of evidence that obvious mental deficiencies are no obstacle to becoming president. Or staying in office. The country just rolls on. My creeping horror goes back to 1960. At the Democrat Convention the LBJ faction had blitzed favorite Adlai Stevenson and strong armed JFK into taking Johnson as his VP. Four years later LBJ was president and the United States became entangled in a foreign policy that continues to paralyze us. In 2000 Kamala was just a domestic political token, a place holder. If they are getting rid of her now it is because they want someone willing to take us to war against Iran. Just my guess, because Kamala isn’t stupid and she could easily be as good a president as Biden. So could a hot rock. The really frightening ticket would be Biden and Blinkin.

  18. playon

    Kamala is the ultimate example of failing upwards.

    For 2024 I think that Democrats are simply willing to let the Republicans have the ball for awhile… after all, a recession may be coming, and if that happens they can blame it on the other party. Things aren’t likely to get better for the average American no matter which party is nominally in power, they will just keep passing the ball back and forth until something breaks, then we could get a decent candidate… maybe.

    Too cynical? (Shrugs)

  19. Old Ghost

    For some reason, Beto O’rourke keeps springing to my mind as a possible 2024 Dem V.P. candidate. Yeah, I know, not a big resume, and maybe not a lot of experience. But a fresh face with robust energy (and from Texas).

    I liked the idea of giving Monica Lewinsky the Congressional Medal of Honor for saving Social Security. LOL. I hope to use it the next time one of my far right friends bring her up.

    I do not see Harris helping the Dem 2024 ticket here in Wisconsin. She should be replaced. The Republicans will be all over her If the 2024 slate is a repeat of 2020..

    I guess the thing to do is wait and see who the 1% will let us select from for 2024 elections.

    1. Lefty Godot

      Beto, the guy who campaigned on “Hell, yes, we’re gonna come take your guns” in Texas? Another blow-dried moron with looks and not much else. If anything, “gun control” is the biggest losing issue for Democrats once you get outside big cities and their immediate suburbs. And too many states are not majority big city population.

      1. Kali

        And that silver spoon fool speaks pretend Spanish which will alienate the Hispanic voters.

        Mockable to the extreme.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      Thanks. First time I smiled today.

      Stand (on the table)
      You’ve been sitting much too long
      There’s a permanent crease in your right and wrong
      There’s a midget standing tall
      And the giant beside him about to fall

      – Sly and the Family Stone’s Stand

      I added the ‘on the table’ part but otherwise that’s the second stanza and I love how it goes from simple declarative to second-person Revelations in the space of a few lines.

  20. Dr. John Carpenter

    It seems like the people in the smoky back rooms have quite a dilemma. The candidates they installed last time are an unpopular, dottering, sunsetting failure at the top of the ticket who might not even make it to the election and a VP who no one wanted to begin with and who has done nothing to improve her standing in the last three years. They’ve asserted their power to pick whoever they want, but are starting to realize, the bench is empty, even assuming they could muscle the current two out.

    That we are seeing more articles like this tells me the panic is really setting in. But what I don’t understand is, who is the audience for this? Do they think Kamala or Joe will “see the light?” I can’t see that happening and, as many have noted, it’s probably too late. Are they prepping the other monied factions for a fight? Or are they planting the seeds for an “I told ya so” when the bottom falls out? I guess time will tell…

    1. Lefty Godot

      They may be willing to take a strategic loss in 2024 so they can argue that “Biden was too liberal” and we need an even more right-wing candidate in 2028. That’s the playbook that Democratic funders have been employing since 1972. Admittedly, Mondale was slightly to the left of the Great Privatizer, Carter, but that made his crushing defeat all the more a confirmation of the need to keep becoming more conservative.

  21. Chris Cosmos

    Kamala or not it doesn’t matter. The Washington Empire is ruled by neither the POTUS or vice-POTUS or Congress (the Bribery Factory) has much agency as should be obvious by now. Real power lies with a diverse bunch of oligarchs and well-connected bureaucrats. The government is a kind of virtual Emperor that acts like a stock market in a way, i.e., an emergent intelligent network that works just fine for those it serves. It is, I believe, governed informally by a board that makes sure the bribery doesn’t get completely out of hand and the gunsels are kept in line. The rest is for show. State governments are not that different–as we can see that incompetent and corrupt pols keep getting promoted–Biden and Harris are prime examples of this dynamic.

    So it’s all for show and as far as that’s concerned this article makes sense. It looks bad for Dems except their entire campaign will consist of bad bad Trump! Me not Trump! Amen.

  22. Acacia

    So various Democrats are worried about Biden and now Harris being unelectable boat-anchors.

    Gee, ya think?

    Anyway, they should just relax. This is nothing the CIA can’t sort out.

    1. Thomas Neuburger

      This is nothing the CIA can’t sort out.

      There should be a bookmark capability for comments like these. Prescient perhaps.


      1. johnnyme

        Bookmarking comments here is super easy — if you right-click on the date/time link right below Acacia’s handle and select “Bookmark Link”, you’re golden. Works in Firefox and should work in other browsers but if that option doesn’t show up in the context menu, you can always open that link in another tab and bookmark it the usual way.

  23. Fastball

    Picture a giant multidimensional Rubik’s Cube, but an unsolvable one, with endless complex permutations. A vast overwhelming majority of the population, especially the brightest of the bright, and their wannabes, insist the problem can be solved if we just turn the puzzle this way or that. And ,we are told, once the puzzle is solved, vast seas of issues and problems will be solved, Hellraiser style, but in a “good” way.

    Decades pass, eventually centuries, and well paid puzzle solvers are elected, appointed, and have supporters, all trying to solve the puzzle. Big bucks are distributed this way and that. Entire corporations and institutions are born, live and die around the puzzle solving industry.

    Meanwhile, the streets decay, and no one gets health care. Wars are fought and untold millions die while the bright people and their standard bearers play at the puzzle for money, fame and power. Some puzzlers are so obviously bad at working the puzzle that they are promoted “up” into the legions of fame and fortune and power.

    When someone suggests throwing away the puzzle, and keeping the puzzlers far away from power, and solving the actual problems, the people saying that are regarded as insane and quizzed on whatever should we do except keep trying to solve the unsolvable puzzle? Surely, the puzzle will be solved any day now! Surely, BECAUSE the puzzle is so complex, vast riches lie in its solution, and when that happens, ordinary people will be able to get on with their lives, with puzzles of their own or without. And, after all, the puzzlemongers are very bright — there must be something to it.

    1. Pat

      So you think the Republicans are going to be so successful laying out the corruption case for Biden even Democratic Senators aren’t able to vote against the indictment, and Biden becomes the second President to be thrown out of office in the next year. Cool.

      I don’t imagine they could do it late enough so she could be the first female president and the president with the shortest time in office, but maybe being a double record holder could ease the blow and give her a hook for her post presidential speaking tour.

  24. ChrisRUEcon

    Haahahahaha! Can’t tell a lie … when I saw this post drop this morning, I made a little sqeeeeeeeeeeee noise!

    This has got to be my fave topic for the next year or so … LOL

    Yves here. In a bit of synchronicity, a few days ago, Lambert and I backed into the idea that Kamala Harris has been a central obstacle to Team Dem 2024 prospects. Lambert pointed out if Biden slipped a cog, as he likes to put it, before the Democratic Party convention, not to worry, the Party could simply install Gavin Newsom or Jay Pritzker. I pointed out that that was highly unlikely to be a winning strategy.

    Don’t be shy, you two! You both laid out the breadcrumb trail for the rest of us! That Peggy Noonan article (picked up by WSJ!) that Lambert included in the 11/21/23 #2PMWC was eye-opening! It was Yves’ “Too Late to Not Nominate Biden” post on 9/28/23 that set forth “Trump v Harris” as the real battle. I didn’t think it could get worse for Harris than Clyburn saying that she is “part of” the party’s future but that “it’s not a given” she will be the successor to President Biden (via The Hill), but it’s getting to be like a snowball picking up steam down a hill.

    But yet another problem: Kamala would need to get a damned good consolation prize to step aside. But what could one possibly gin up? She’s been largely missing in action as VP (even more so than customary) so a book deal with a big advance would seem…..unseemly in the absence of what could be spun as a triumphal exit. She can’t even keep staff, so the usual high prestige admin job like a university president or head of a splashy foundation would be a non-starter. Readers?

    Only in this dysfunctional timeline would one need to discuss finding a way for a vapid pant-suit pretender like Harris to fail upward somehow after an absolutely unremarkable veep stint. I suggested in a comment here earlier this year that she might be best served by essentially swapping with Oor Gav (Newsom), but that would be too complicated to pull off. Maybe the reverse Silicon Valley lobby can get her on the board of some FAANG entity. She can cool her heels there until she’s ready to retire from public life or hit the speaking tour circuit.

    I still think that replacing Harris is more a team Chappaqua thing than a team Kalorama thing, and we all know who is waiting in the wings should Kamala decide to step down. #StillWitHering

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