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VICTOR JOECKS: Kamala’s camp implies Biden is racist, sexist

Vice President Kamala Harris’ team has finally uncovered what’s causing her unpopularity — the Biden administration’s racism and sexism.

Most of the speculation about the 2024 presidential election has been on the Republican side. That’s understandable, but there’s good reason to pay attention to the Democrat race, too.

President Joe Biden claims he’s running for re-election. Normally, that’s a given, but he’ll turn 79 on Saturday. That would make him 81 years old during the 2024 campaign. To put it gently, age appears to be taking its inevitable toll. Biden has never been the smoothest orator, but his verbal stumbles are getting harder to ignore.

There’s a reason he lets his handlers shield him from the media.

What’s clear is that many Democrat power players believe they’ll need a new nominee in 2024 — and that Harris isn’t up for the job. In a recent USA Today/Suffolk University Poll, Biden’s approval rating stood at just 38 percent. That’s a disaster. Yet, Harris’s approval rating was 10 points worse, at just 28 percent.

The shadow primary has already begun, and the knives are out for Harris.

“Exasperation and dysfunction: Inside Kamala Harris’ frustrating start as vice president,” read the headline of a lengthy CNN piece from Sunday.

The report is full of juicy gossip about the tension between the Biden administration and Harris’ staff.

“Key West Wing aides have largely thrown up their hands at Vice President Kamala Harris and her staff — deciding there simply isn’t time to deal with them right now,” it states. Also, her interest in being president is a little too obvious. “Biden’s team (is) highly attuned to signs of disloyalty, particularly from the vice president.”

There are plenty of reasons for Harris’s political problems. She has decades less congressional experience than Biden, so she isn’t much help pushing legislation. Biden has given her some politically impossible assignments — such as immigration.

But that’s part of being vice president. Her main job is to make the president look good, even if it hurts her personal popularity.

But Harris’ team has a different view of her tanking poll numbers. They were upset after the White House defended Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for taking two months of paternity leave during a supply-chain crisis.

“It’s hard to miss the specific energy that the White House brings to defend a white man, knowing that Kamala Harris has spent almost a year taking a lot of the hits that the West Wing didn’t want to take themselves,” a former Harris aide told CNN.

It would take a heart of stone not to laugh at that. Biden pledged specifically to pick a woman as his running mate. South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, whose endorsement likely rescued Biden’s presidential bid, said he told Biden to pick an African American woman. Harris wouldn’t be vice president if not for her race and sex.

Democrats have long accused Republicans of racism or sexism when they can’t defend a policy’s merits. In 2012, Biden even accused Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney of wanting to put African Americans “back in chains.”

Perhaps Biden will acknowledge the problems with this approach when he’s the one accused. Until then, pass the popcorn.

Contact Victor Joecks at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.