By now you’re probably well acquainted with the current GOP party line for the 2024 election – the one about how a vote for (too old, almost dead) President Joe Biden is actually a vote for (too unprepared, heartbeat away) Vice President Kamala is Harris.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) launched his podcast earlier this week with the same hackneyed mantra — but then tested a prediction that appeared designed for maximum fearmongering.
“In August 2024, the Democrats will be kingmakers [will] “Drop Joe Biden and parachute Michelle Obama,” Cruz explained. “This should scare the hell out of anyone who is unhappy with the direction this country is going and doesn’t want us to go even crazier, in an even worse direction.”
I’ll spare you the details of Cruz’s nonsensical conspiracy theory, other than to explain how a shadowy cabal of Democratic power brokers will force Biden to drop out at the eleventh hour to engineer a dramatic change during the National Convention rested precariously on his admission that “I don’t know how the Democrats will implement this exactly.”
Still, Cruz maintains that choosing the former first lady as the Democratic nominee is “the most likely and dangerous” outcome. This is likely due in no small part to Cruz’s certainty that former President Barack Obama is “the puppet master” who is “already running the Biden administration.”
As it turns out, Cruz wasn’t peddling an entirely new craze of his own invention, but rather reading from a playbook that Republicans have been passing around among themselves for months in the hopes that it will resonate with conspiracy-minded GOP voters.
Back in May, Fox News host Rachel Campos-Duffy described the same delusional vision:almost literally Language, no less – saying, “I think that Biden won’t make it to the end and that Michelle Obama will be put in office. After all, the Obamas are essentially running this government.” She is among a long list of conservatives doing their part to help the completely baseless rumor gain traction, including Republican dirty tricksters Roger Stone, Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly, Newsmax’s Eric Bolling and rubbish tabloids from the UK like The Telegraph.
How convenient that this emerging talking point comes after party advocates have seized every opportunity to denigrate Kamala Harris, Biden’s obvious and constitutionally appointed successor –and also a black woman– as unfit for service.
Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, who is reportedly running against Biden, has instead touted the idea that the president’s age makes him a dead man and that a resulting Harris presidency would pose an existential threat to the country. “That’s really me running against Kamala Harris,” Haley said said recentlyadd one more Fox News interview that “the thought of Kamala Harris becoming president should send shivers down the spine of every American.”
It’s all too predictable that the GOP – now less a political party than a vehicle for racial grievances – has settled on an electoral strategy that involves, in large part, rousing white voters with the “threat” that they vote for everyone but one Republican will end up with a black woman, every black woman, as the next president. (This is no exaggeration; both conservative newspaper articles from the US and UK New York Post for the Daily Mail I’ve been trying to push President Meghan Markle’s idea lately.)
On the one hand, the strategy allows conservative activists to play on established, openly misogynistic fallacies about the inherent incompetence of black women.
There’s Haley, tirelessly pushing the idea that Harris — who went from being San Francisco’s first Black district attorney to becoming California’s first female attorney general and only the second Black woman to ever serve in the Senate to becoming Biden’s choice for vice president — has somehow “failed with everyone Job she got.” (I would be remiss not to take particular note of Haley’s semantic implication that Harris was “given” – meaning “handed over”) one of these roles.)
Not to be outdone, Fox News host Stuart Varney did this disingenuous and misleading claim that Donald Trump four indictments and 91 indictments are “above all” part of a larger plan by the Democrats to “distract from the obvious danger of a Kamala Harris presidency.”
Clearly there is uncertainty in the GOP ranks about the effectiveness of using Biden’s age. That’s 82 on Inauguration Dayas a deterrent factor for voters – an issue they only pretend to care about anyway, considering Trump is only three years younger.
Instead, they have focused on exploiting widespread anti-Blackness and misogyny among their base to win the election by amplifying concerns about the first Black woman to serve as vice president. And the only black woman Republicans hate more than Harris? The otherwise beloved Michelle Obama — whose husband sparked such fears of loss of status among whites that they voted for Trump the next time around, sparking a white backlash so angry that it now threatens to destroy democracy.
And while any day is a good day to exploit gender racism among Republican voters, I can’t help but think that the visibility of Black women in the leadership of Trump’s counterpart – New York Attorney General Letitia James, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan — particularly prepared her for revenge. You’re probably still pondering the nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, a black woman that conservatives also ridiculously claimed – as if we couldn’t all understand her outstanding resume– was given her job.
That’s probably why they not only use the names of Obama and Harris as jump scares for their base, but also blame black women as a whole for the whole endeavor. Cruz claimed that the The only acceptable replacement for Harris would be ex-FLOTUS because “you don’t make African-American women angry, which is a crucial part of it.” [Democrat’s] Constituency.” Stone suggested the same thing, claiming that “the only way in her party to replace a woman of color is to replace another woman of color.”
“…the strategy allows conservative activists to play on established, openly misogynistic fallacies about the inherent incompetence of black women.”
Here’s the former Fox News star Tucker Carlson is representing the case back in January:
“So here lies the problem for the Democratic Party. The current vice president is completely incompetent and universally loathed by everyone, including her staff and possibly her husband, who literally kissed her while wearing a mask. We don’t judge, but you can see for yourself. So you don’t want them. But you can’t just abandon them because of a white guy. Sorry, that’s not justice. So where do you go from here? Oh, good question. And it turns out that Michelle Obama has apparently been thinking about that question lately.”
Reader, it’s actually not a question Obama has thought about recently. Perhaps no one has said they are not interested in running for office more than Michelle Obama recently when April told Oprah she would do it “I never showed any interest in politics. Always.”
In any case, the whole thing is a huge farce, and every conservative involved in spreading this fable knows it.
Biden committed to running for re-election with Vice President Harris at his side. over a year ago. Sure, Harris’ approval ratings have remained stable around 40 percent, but that’s because they are inextricably linked to Biden’s and rise and fall at the same time. And anyway, among Democrats, Harris’s approval ratings are close to that 80 percentjust like the president’s.
I don’t ignore the many other white naysayers, including those who write from the left The Washington Postis David Ignatius, who inexplicably suggested that Biden should retire for reasons of age and that Harris should simply, as if he were interchangeable, be swapped with other women in politics.
But I will say that while these “allies” may not be using Harris’ race and gender to strike fear in the hearts of voters, they are probably unintentionally acting on misogynistic assumptions, just like the others.
The ticket is posted. Get on with your life.