Kamala Swap Fan Fiction

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Vice President Kamala Harris speaks onstage during a Pride Celebration hosted by the Vice President Of The United States and Mr. Emhoff in collaboration with GLAAD on June 28, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for GLAAD)
From Peter Hamby's conversations with Democrats in and around the White House, the notion of dumping Kamala Harris is simply non-existent. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for GLAAD.
Peter Hamby
September 18, 2023

It brings me no pleasure to inform you that we have reached the “dumping” phase of Joe Biden’s presidency. This is an academic term, actually. A Rutgers historian named George Sirgiovanni—great Jersey name, by the way—wrote a scholarly article titled “Dumping The Vice President” back in 1994, when some columnists and fretful Democrats were calling on Bill Clinton to dump his veep, Al Gore, and replace him on the ticket with someone more exciting, in hopes of saving Clinton’s then-ugly re-election chances. Sirgiovanni cracked open some books and found that among the country’s historical roster of vice presidents, only eight had suffered the humiliation of being kicked off the party’s ticket heading into re-election. I guarantee that you can’t name half of them.

But in modern times, at least since the upheaval of Watergate, no sitting V.P. has been booted from a ticket. Not once. Nevertheless, as Sirgiovanni found, when rough political winds are blowing against an incumbent president, the pundit class almost always seems to float the possibility of trading running mates. These pre-election yelps have come for every vice president going back to 1984—Bush the elder, Dan Quayle, Gore, Dick Cheney, Biden, and Mike Pence just a few years ago. And now, with President Biden’s approval rating hovering barely over 40 percent, Vice President Kamala Harris is getting the dumping treatment, too.