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Harris lobbies to keep Nevada Democrats in Biden’s camp

Vice President Kamala Harris made a swing state appearance in an effort to rally her party around President Joe Biden as calls grow for her to take his place as the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee.

On paper, Harris’s visit to Las Vegas on Tuesday was an effort by the Biden campaign to ramp up outreach to Nevada’s large Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander population. But as many Democrats panic about the president’s perceived mental decline, Harris took the opportunity to stave off fears that Biden’s bid for reelection is doomed for failure.

“We always knew this election would be tough,” Harris admitted as she made a bid to win over prospective voters. “The past few days have been a reminder that running for president of the United States is never easy.

“But the one thing we know about our president, Joe Biden, is that he is a fighter,” Harris told the crowd. “He is the first to say: ‘When you get knocked down, you get back up.’”

Harris at a campaign event on Tuesday, July 9, 2024, in Las Vegas. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

Harris’s fight to stave off intraparty attacks against Biden comes after the president’s once-solid base has shown cracks. From deep-blue Hollywood to Capitol Hill’s top Democrats, party soldiers are taking a second look at their presumptive presidential nominee.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) support for the president’s reelection bid is less than enthusiastic, George Clooney wrote a damning op-ed calling for the president to step aside just weeks after he hosted a fundraiser for him, House Democrats’ internal uprising against the White House continues to ferment, and even Congress’s upper chamber has displayed concerns over Biden’s mental acuity.

The vice president attempted to convince her base that Biden could win reelection, even as some Democrats say their chances of keeping the White House would be better if Harris replaced Biden on the presidential ballot.

“In November, we will win,” she told Nevadans.

While Harris attempted to placate the audience with assurances that Biden can pull off another win, some in the audience weren’t convinced. A few voters told the Los Angeles Times that they favored a Harris presidential run this November. 

Alyse Sobosan, a college adviser for a Las Vegas charter school, told the newspaper that Harris is a “strong candidate” to replace Biden.

“He probably should step down,” Sobosan said of the president. “We can’t even talk about the issues or his stances on things, because all the conversation is just about him and his health.”

Meanwhile, Las Vegas residents Arlene and Joel Williams say they’re “in the anybody-but-Trump camp.” Whether it’s Harris or another Democrat, the Williamses simply do not want Trump in office again.

While Harris received support from several of the Democrats interviewed by the newspaper, it was conditioned with concerns that the vice president lacked the national profile and failed to clearly communicate her party’s message to voters.


Other Democrats at the event held out hope for Biden’s reelection, falling in line with Harris’s talking points on the president’s path to victory. 

“We just got to understand that he’s not a young man,” Abraham Camejo said. “But can he get the job done? And I honestly believe that he can.”

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