Light Wave


Will Harris’ passion connect more than Biden’s experience with young voters?

By Jake Beardslee · November 20, 2023

In brief…

  • Tensions exist between Biden and Harris teams over her increased campaign role, with some concerned about diluting his messaging.
  • Harris looks to reboot her political image on the trail by tapping into her prosecutor roots and passion to connect with targeted voter groups.
Vice President Kamala Harris acknowledges the Biden administration will have to campaign hard to earn votes for reelection in 2024.  The White House, and United States Senate/Wikimedia

President Joe Biden remains optimistic about his reelection chances despite poor polling, but Vice President Kamala Harris acknowledges they will have to work for votes, according to an exclusive interview she gave to CNN.

Harris said, “We’re going to have to earn our reelect, there’s no doubt about it.” Polls show weakness among key demographics like young voters, Black voters, and other voters of color. However, some Harris supporters point to polls showing her outperforming Biden with nonwhite and younger voters, giving the campaign hope she can help with turnout.

This has created tension between the Biden and Harris teams. Some want Harris to play a larger role to shore up support among key groups, while others worry too much exposure could backfire. Her team wants to bring on a strategist to give her more autonomy, but Biden’s team resists diluting his message.

Democratic strategists believe most voters know little about Harris, representing an opportunity if she increases her profile. Emily’s List polling of battleground states found emphasizing her work on abortion, guns, and racial justice significantly improved views of her readiness to be president and her value to Biden among targeted voters.

Harris plans more tours and campaigning focused on these issues. “It is absolutely right in a democracy…that the candidates…have to make their case, and have to make it effectively,” she said. This plays to her strengths as a tough questioner and prosecutor.

Some Democrats see her passion and personal story as connecting better with Black, women, and young voters than Biden’s 1940s Scranton upbringing. “Where she is now…lets Black voters and women voters know there is a pathway forward for us,” said Nevada’s Democratic Party chair.