4 Reasons Why Kamala Harris’s First Year as Vice-President Was Far From a Smooth Ride
Kamala Harris' First Year as Vice President Was Hardly a Cake Walk... and Here's Why
Opinions on Kamala Harris' tenure as the Vice President are varied, even among political experts. If Joe Biden is elected president again, Kamala Harris would also return to the second-highest office in the country. But as things stand now, her critics and supporters can definitely agree on one thing: she has definitely had to deal with some tough challenges in the past few years. Although Harris' popularity was high when she stood for elections initially—she once had 22,000 people in the streets of Oakland cheering her on in 2020 (reported Guardian)—support for her seems to have dipped in recent times. Besides, her office has also been plagued by high-profile departures. So, without further ado, let's dive deeper into the details of why Harris' first year as VP was no bed of roses.
1. The VP Has Been Given Two Immensely Important Yet Difficult Responsibilities
President Joe Biden assigned his VP Kamala Harris with a hugely important issue in American politics: she is to spearhead the administration's campaign to safeguard voters' rights. Moreover, since the United States is seeing an increase in refugees seeking asylum, she has also been entrusted with tackling, in particular, immigration from Central America. Both endeavors carry substantial danger, but Harris, who is being talked about as a possible future presidential contender, stands to gain significantly if she is successful. Immigrants from the 'Northern Triangle' countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras flooded into the United States during Biden's first year in office, and the administration sought ways to slow the influx while rolling back some of Trump's harsher immigration policies. According to the BBC, her duties include dealing with both immigration and border security, which is a problem that has been building up for decades and will probably take much longer to solve.
2. Kamala Harris's Approval Ratings Plummeted
Kamala Harris's approval rating was over 50% when she became vice president and entered the White House for the first time. According to the polling website FiveThirtyEight, her approval rating hit a low of 28.9 percent on November 8, 2021, the lowest point of her vice presidency yet. However, by the end of the same month, it had rebounded to the 40% threshold. American support for the vice president has fluctuated up and down over the past years due to the many problems that have plagued the Biden administration. These issues include the COVID-19 pandemic, rising inflation, Russia's war in Ukraine, and a growing influx of immigrants at the Southern border. Moreover, during her first few months in office, Harris' popularity rating took a hit because of persistent criticism and questions about why she hadn't visited the Southern border.
3. The VP Was Subjected to Frequent 'Political' Attacks
Biden's popularity ratings have dipped below 40% on many occasions, making him less well-liked than one-term presidents like Jimmy Carter and Donald Trump. And it's no secret that Harris has big dreams of becoming president; she ran for the post in 2019, too. She was hailed as the next generation of Democratic leaders, especially when Biden chose her as his running mate. However, she also became an easy political target due to her prominent position. Since Republicans expected her to be their next 'opponent,' it seemed as if they were eager to 'weaken' her defenses. CNN reported that many in the vice president's inner circle were angry that she was not being given the attention and resources she deserved, and she allegedly also expressed to close associates her frustration at being politically handicapped.
4. The VP's Office May Have Witnessed Some In-Fighting
Longtime supporters of Harris felt abandoned, and the public had no clear understanding of what Harris had, or been attempting to, accomplish in her role as the Vice President. Although she is proud to be the first woman and the first woman of color to hold a national elected post, she was subjected to intense scrutiny and was given no leeway for mistakes, no matter how little. In July 2021, the White House engaged in damage management in response to claims of 'instability' in Vice President Kamala Harris' office. Two people close to Harris' team claimed at the time that several staff members in the VP's office were dissatisfied with the way things had been going, characterizing it as a 'chaotic' operation that had been derailed at times by internal dispute. However, reports of infighting and instability inside the White House were deemed exaggerated or just inaccurate by senior White House officials and the vice president's aides, who went on the record to defend Harris.
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