Potential Harris White House murky as VP 'never exhibited a core set of beliefs': Dem strategist

The Democratic Party is in the midst of coping with echoing calls for President Biden to bow out of the presidential race over concerns that his mental acuity has slipped and that he’s unable to serve as president for another four years if he wins re-election. 

As the party looks for potential replacements if Biden does in fact decide to conclude his political career, Vice President Harris sits atop the list of likely successors. Harris has a long history as a California liberal stalwart, serving as San Francisco’s district attorney in the early 2000s, then serving as the state attorney general under former Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown, and U.S. senator from the Golden State before her 2020 election as vice president.

If Harris takes up the party’s 2024 presidential election mantle, it is unlikely Harris’ policies would drastically differ from Biden’s platforms, though she could swing harder to the left on issues such as immigration, abortion and foreign policy. A potential Harris administration is a murky topic, however, as she’s not shown a “core set of beliefs on anything,” according to Democrat strategist Julian Epstein.

“[It’s] not clear what a Harris administration would look like, as she has never exhibited a core set of beliefs on anything as far as I can see, and her pre-VP federal experience is relatively limited. For the most part, she has been, like many politicians, [an] opportunist. She jailed lots of people for marijuana possession and then tweets about her support for legalization. She was a centrist prosecutor, then a social justice warrior,” Epstein told Fox News Digital. 


Kamala Harris speech

Vice President Harris gives a speech at the annual Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies Legislative Leadership summit. (C-SPAN)

Epstein said he expects a hypothetical Harris administration to be a continuation of the Biden administration, that the “creep of the intersectional far left would continue” under such an administration because Democrats need “a lot of spine, guile and moxie to stand up to the intersectional left,” which Harris has not exhibited on a regular basis.


Immigration woes have spiraled to crisis levels under the Biden administration, with a recent study finding that 16.8 million illegal immigrants are currently in the U.S. Out of that figure, more than 7 million people are not under supervision or detained, and more than 9 million are considered getaways or visa overstays, according to a study published by the National Immigration Center for Enforcement. The study found that less than 2% of illegal immigrants are in detention or enrolled in ICE’s Alternatives to Detention programs. 


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Migrants across the Rio Grande in El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 13, 2022. (Herika Martinez/AFP via Getty Images)

“Immigration has been a flop for her and the Democrats. Upwards of 80% of the public disapproves of the Biden record on immigration, and I still see no signs that the Democrats get this or, even if they do, have the gumption to stand up for what’s right here,” Epstein said, noting that Harris also flops among voters when delivering “word salads and odd non sequitur profundities.”

Harris’ immigration policies, if she runs for president this year, would likely, overwhelmingly follow those of Biden’s. Harris has also served as a point person for the administration on immigration, with the media frequently dubbing her the “Border Czar” – a title the White House spurned – after she was tasked in 2021 with identifying the “root causes” of migration in the Northern Triangle countries. 

When she ran for president in 2020, however, she established a more liberal immigration platform than her eventual presidential running mate, placing emphasis on offering citizenship and protections to children arriving in the U.S.


“As president, Kamala will fight to pass immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million people living in our communities and contributing to our economy. While she wages that fight, she will immediately reinstate DACA and implement DAPA to protect DREAMers and their parents from deportation. She will also restore and expand Temporary Protected Status for hundreds of thousands of immigrants who would face war or catastrophe if forced to return home,” her 2020 campaign website stated.

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A group of about 100 migrants is shown trying to illegally enter the U.S. by rushing a border wall on March 21, 2024. (James Breeden for New York Post/Mega)

She additionally called for the “overhaul” of “our immigration enforcement policies,” arguing they were “cruel and out of control.” 

“As president, she’ll close private immigrant detention centers, increase oversight of agencies like Customs and Border Protection, and focus enforcement on increasing public safety, not on tearing apart immigrant families. For Kamala, this is about making America a place that welcomes immigrants searching for a better life,” her 2020 campaign states. 

Biden’s immigration platform during the 2020 election focused more on reversing Trump-era immigration policies in his first 100 days in office, which also included a line vowing to protect “Dreamers and their families.” 

“Immediately reverse the Trump Administration’s cruel and senseless policies that separate parents from their children at our border. End Trump’s detrimental asylum policies. End the mismanagement of the asylum system, which fuels violence and chaos at the border. Surge humanitarian resources to the border and foster public-private initiatives,” Biden’s 2020 campaign platform reads in part.


Harris has been lauded by progressives for her vow to protect abortion access, immediately lambasting the leaked Supreme Court decision in 2022 that overturned Roe v. Wade and effectively ended recognition of a constitutional right to abortion. 

“How dare they?” Harris said in a speech for a left-wing PAC focused on electing pro-choice Democrats, EMILYs List, in May 2022 after the decision was leaked to Politico.

“How dare they tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her own body?” Harris asked. “How dare they try to stop her from determining her own future? How dare they try to deny women their rights and their freedoms?”

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Vice President Harris speaks at a campaign rally in Las Vegas on June 28, 2024. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Biden has also become a staunch supporter of abortion access after shifting his stance when he served as a Delaware senator in the 1970s, when the Supreme Court issued its landmark Roe v. Wade decision protecting abortion rights.

“When it comes to issues like abortion, amnesty, and acid, I’m about as liberal as your grandmother,” Biden declared in a June 1974 article. “I don’t like the Supreme Court decision on abortion. I think it went too far. I don’t think that a woman has the sole right to say what should happen to her body.”

Biden has since made a 180-degree turn on his abortion policies, vowing in his State of the Union address this year to “restore Roe v. Wade as the law of the land again.”

Biden, however, came under scrutiny from abortion activists after his disastrous debate against former President Trump, who said Biden’s nonsensical answer about whether he supports some restrictions on abortion “failed” the pro-choice movement.

“Look, no one who cares about abortion access felt good about Biden’s comments or his performance last night,” Kellie Copeland, the director of Abortion Forward, an advocacy group in Ohio, said after the debate, according to the Associated Press. “We need better, we need a lot better.”

Biden notably is Catholic, putting him at odds with the Church’s condemnation of abortion as murder. 

Harris, meanwhile, has taken the lead for the Biden campaign in advocating for abortion access; in March, she became the first sitting president or vice president to visit an abortion provider.

Kamala Harris speech

Vice President Harris kicks off her Fight for Our Freedoms tour of colleges across the United States.

“The reason I’m here is because this is a health care crisis,” Harris said when visiting a Planned Parenthood in Minnesota. “Part of this health care crisis is the clinics like this that have had to shut down and what that has meant to leave no options with any reasonable geographic area for so many women who need this essential care.”


As Harris makes abortion access a central issue in her run for re-election as vice president, if Biden drops out of the race, Harris would likely be more aggressive on her abortion stance.

“Abortion is her sweet spot,” Epstein said. “But that could go south if Dems” focus on “abortion on demand in third-trimester territory.”

“My guess is she has the compass to steer clear of those minefields,” he noted. 


Heading into the 2020 primary election, Biden and Harris did not differ on top foreign policy issues, such as returning to the Iran nuclear deal, strengthening NATO and pledging support to Israel. Harris, notably, was green on foreign policy upon her election as vice president, mostly focusing her political career on domestic issues such as law enforcement policies, while Biden had years of foreign policy experience through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and later as vice president.

Biden Harris

The article noted how Vice President Harris would take Biden’s place as president if the 25th Amendment was invoked against him. (Getty Images)

The pair would likely not differ much on foreign policy and relations if Harris were to win the White House. However, Harris was credited by the media and White House sources this year as pushing the White House to be more sympathetic toward the Palestinians as war raged – and continues raging – between Israel and the terror group Hamas in the Gaza Strip. 

The vice president reportedly urged Biden and the White House to be “tougher” on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Politico reported in December, citing anonymous sources familiar with the conversations. But Harris’ press secretary pushed back at the time that “there is no daylight between the president and the vice president, nor has there been.”


IDF operating in Rafah

IDF forces are seen operating in Rafah, a city in the Gaza Strip. (IDF Spokesman’s Office)

“People in Gaza are starving. The conditions are inhumane, and our common humanity compels us to act,” Harris said during a speech in March, calling for an immediate cease-fire. The comments were viewed as the strongest rebuke of Israel from a senior leader in the U.S. government.

Epstein said the Democratic Party overall has a “two-fold” problem with foreign policy.

“Their need to pander to any group [that] claims it affiliates with an ‘oppressed’ group like Hamas, even if all the empirical evidence shows they are in fact affiliating with the most vile, racist, ethnonationalist, Klan-like organization on the planet that promises genocide in its charter. Rather than telling the country the hard truths – that Israel’s war is just, and it has done more to protect civilians than any modern day army – it instead panders to the hard left, [which] shows only a sorrowful moral confusion on the issue. And that is the mindset that is hurting the Democratic Party,” he said.

He also noted that the Democratic Party’s platform of “appeasement” in foreign policy has compounded the issue.

“The problem in foreign policy with the Democrats … [is] a wholly naive belief that appeasement works with terrorist states like Iran. [There’s a] breakdown of American deterrence on every continent right now, but Democrats, for all their talk about global order, don’t seem to understand that order requires sticks and not just carrots. Our military is grossly underfunded relative to the threats of China and others. The lifting of sanctions on Iran clearly backfired. Iran, China, Russia and the lesser revisionist states all see weakened deterrence as an invitation for mischief. The old maxim attributed to Churchill – ‘You cannot negotiate with a tiger when your head is in its mouth’ – seems to be lost on Dems,” he said.


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President Biden and former President Trump recently held their first debate of the election cycle. (Getty Images)

Democrat calls for Biden to drop out of the race have mounted since Biden’s disastrous debate performance against Trump on June 27, when he tripped over his words, spoke in a subdued, raspy tenor, and lost his train of thought at times. Conservatives have long been sounding the alarm that Biden’s mental acuity was on a downward spiral, citing repeated gaffes by the president during public events, with Democrats now joining those calls of concern over the president’s 81 years of age and mental fitness.


Biden has vowed to remain in the race, including in his first sit-down interview with the media since his debate performance where he argued the debate was simply a “bad episode” and that he’s determined to win re-election. The interview, which was conducted by ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, was panned for failing to quell concerns over the president’s re-election viability.

At one point in the interview, Stephanopoulos pressed Biden three times on whether he would take a cognitive test and release the results to the public. Biden dodged the questions.


President Biden’s disastrous debate performance “changed people’s calculations about how candid they would be” about his cognitive issues, according to Olivia Nuzzi of New York Magazine. (Getty Images)

“Look, I have a cognitive test every single day,” Biden said. “Every day I have that test. Everything I do. You know, not only am I campaigning, but I’m running the world. Sounds like hyperbole, but we are the central nation in the world.”



President Biden raised eyebrows when he expressed uncertainty whether he had watched his debate performance in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. (Screenshot/ABC)

On Monday, the president sent a letter to congressional Democrats, calling on them to end their questions on whether he should end his re-election bid.

“I want you to know that despite all the speculation in the press and elsewhere, I am firmly committed to staying in this race, to running this race to the end, and to beating Donald Trump,” he wrote.

“I wouldn’t be running again if I did not absolutely believe I was the best person to beat Donald Trump in 2024,” he added.


At least 10 congressional Democrats have called on Biden to drop out, and an additional eight elected Democrats have raised concerns over Biden’s mental fitness and age, including former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Legacy media outlets such as the New York Times and Chicago Tribune were among the first to call on Biden to end his re-election effort.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

Fox News Digital’s Adam Shaw and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

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