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With regard to the coming presidential election in 2024 — the scenarios for which already are creating an escalating buzz — it is amazing to see the false bravado building among some in the Republican Party with regard to the fantasy of how easy it will be to reclaim the White House.     

In checking off that victory box, they are underestimating or ignoring the one political force that could crush their dreams: Vice President Harris. Maybe they assume they are going to face the woman who got next to no votes in the 2020 Democratic primary and was forced to end her campaign in late 2019. If so, they are making a mistake.   

While acknowledging that President Biden has made known his intention to run for reelection, let’s default to the politically probable. For age and health reasons, Biden may not run for a second term — and some believe there’s a possibility that Harris might very well become president before 2024.  

Whichever office she holds when the election cycle begins, Harris is likely to be a formidable force who should not be discounted by anyone on the right — despite her poor showing in the 2020 cycle. Each day in the White House teaches her how to more effectively wield the tremendous power of that institution and is making her more battle-hardened in the process.

It’s a process that is also punishingly political.

Harris knows that as well as anyone. For that reason, she has not only the best interests of the United States at heart but also the best interests of Kamala Harris at heart. 

Back in 1955, former U.S. submarine Cmdr. Edward Beach wrote a bestselling novel titled “Run Silent, Run Deep,” which became a 1958 movie by the same name starring Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster. Its obvious theme was to run silent and run deep so as not to give away your position until ready to attack.

When immersed in turbulent political waters, experienced and intelligent politicians quickly learn to “run silent and run deep” — they hold their cards tightly to their chests while giving deep thought to the obstacles before them.

Since she was chosen as Biden’s running mate, and most especially since becoming vice president, Harris, one could certainly argue, has been pragmatically “running very silent and very deep.”   

The political waters in which she finds herself are not only turbulent but unchartered in many ways. Her boss is the oldest person ever elected president in the history of the United States and someone who is seen as the face of the entrenched establishment by many on the left.

Common sense and the will for political survival would dictate that Harris tread lightly at first, a fair distance away from the Good Ship Biden, which might sail into a storm — self-created or otherwise — in the blink of an eye.

For Harris, two quick examples of damaging political and policy storms threatening to engulf her come to mind. The first is the increasingly untenable immigration issue along our border with Mexico. Last week, Biden finally used the word “crisis” while addressing the subject.

On March 24, Biden placed Harris in charge of managing the migrant surge that has been washing up to the border. Said a senior administration official that day, during a conference call with the media, “Starting today, the Northern Triangle nations and Mexico will know there was one senior official dedicated to this effort. To be very clear, this is an important task.”


OK, that’s one way to look at it. Another way, if one were just the least bit cynical, would be to conclude that Biden put Harris in charge of that visual, social and political hot potato because he knew it could be an eventual “lose-lose” for him and wanted to transfer ownership of that quagmire to her. Harris would understand this “honor” handed to her from the president better than anyone. 

For the past three weeks, much of the conservative media have pounded the fact that even though Biden put her in charge, Harris has not visited the border to address the “crisis.” Politically, why should she? Any competent political adviser would tell her that until she has iron-clad evidence of good news to report, she should remain silent and let the various federal agencies involved there continue their work.
The next example is a self-created storm that Harris did not need: Biden’s decision to call Russian President Vladimir Putin “a killer.”Again, if we assume that Harris might like to run for president in 2024, having Biden call a tough world leader “a killer” — a leader with whom she will have to deal in one form or another, a man who controls a massive nuclear arsenal, powerful military, first-rate intelligence service and small army of skilled cyber hackers — is clearly a headache she could do without.

At the moment, Harris is doing precisely what appears to be in the best interests of her political future. She is running silent and deep until she feels certain she has a firm hand on the controls. In the meantime, if Republicans continue to underestimate the vice president and her political strategy, their chances of winning the next presidential election could be sunk by a few well-placed Harris torpedoes come fall 2024. 

Douglas MacKinnon, a political and communications consultant, was a writer in the White House for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and former special assistant for policy and communications at the Pentagon during the last three years of the Bush administration.



McCarthy officially endorses Stefanik over Cheney in GOP House vote





Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy for the first time on Sunday officially endorsed Rep. Elise Stefanik to replace Rep. Liz Cheney in her leadership post, saying Republicans need a unified conference to battle the Biden administration’s agenda.

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Texas Senate approves bill allowing people to carry handguns without license





The Texas State Senate has voted to advance a bill that will allow people to carry handguns in the state without a license, setting up the state the be the largest in the country to allow permitless carry.

The legislation passed by an 18-13 margin along party lines Wednesday evening. The bill would allow people 21 and older who can already legally own a gun to carry a handgun in public without the license, safety course and background check current law requires.

The bill now heads to the House, which passed similar legislation earlier this year but will not consider changes the Senate made to the bill before sending it to Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) desk.

The Senate passage of the legislation marks a significant victory for gun rights activists and Republicans, who had seen permitless carry legislation go nowhere in previous legislative sessions.

“HB 1927 would recognize the United States Constitution as our permit to carry and allow all law-abiding adults, aged 21 years or older, to carry a handgun for the protection of themselves or their families, in public places, in a holster, without the requirement of a state-issued license,” said State Sen. Charles Schwertner (R), a sponsor of the bill.

“People who are prohibited from possessing a handgun will still be prohibited from possessing a handgun under this bill,” he added. “Nothing in this bill regarding possession is changed.” 

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) also hailed the passage of the bill, touting it as evidence of Texas’s strong support of the Second Amendment.

“I am proud that the Texas Senate passed House Bill 1927 today, the Constitutional Carry bill, which affirms every Texan’s right to self-defense and our state’s strong support for our Second Amendment right to bear arms. In the Lone Star State, the Constitution is our permit to carry,” he said in a statement. “We have moved quickly on this legislation and I want to thank all those involved who helped gather the votes needed to pass this historic bill.”  


Democrats panned the bill as dangerous, warning that criminals would slip through the cracks and end up carrying guns if they do not have to go through the licensing process. The Department of Public Safety denied 2,422 license to carry applicants last year, with the majority of denials stemming from past criminal convictions. 

“More criminals are going to walk around with guns openly, I promise you,” state Sen. Roland Gutierrez (R) said during floor debate, according to The Dallas Morning News. “More vigilantes are going to rise up.” 
Twenty other states allow some form of permitless carry.

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DeSantis signs GOP-drafted voting bill, legal fight begins





Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a sweeping elections bill into law Thursday that he and other Republicans said would place guardrails against fraud, even as they acknowledged there were no serious signs of voting irregularities last November. Democrats and voter rights advocates said the partisan move will make it harder for some voters to cast ballots.

The Republican governor signed the freshly passed legislation ahead of his impending announcement that he’ll run for reelection in the nation’s largest battleground state. He staged the signing on a live broadcast of Fox & Friends Thursday morning, flanked by a small group of GOP legislators in Palm Beach County. Other media organizations were shut out of the event.

DeSantis said the new law puts Florida ahead of the curve in preventing any potential fraud.

“Right now I have what we think is the strongest election integrity measures in the country,” the governor said as he signed it. “We’re also banning ballot harvesting. We’re not going to let political operatives go and get satchels of votes and dump them in some drop box.”

Republicans have previously said they know of know such problems in Florida, and elections supervisors across the state did not ask for any of the changes, warning that some of the new rules may prove cumbersome and expensive to implement.

Groups including the NAACP and Common Cause said they would immediately file a lawsuit in federal court alleging that the new law makes it more difficult for people who are Black, Latino or disabled to vote.

“For far too long, Florida’s lawmakers and elected officials have created a vast array of hurdles that have made it more difficult for these and other voters to make their voices heard,” the groups said in their lawsuit, which they planned to file in U.S. District Court in Tallahassee, the state capital.

While Georgia has become the current epicenter of the national battle over elections laws, other states — led by Republicans still unsettled by then-President Donald Trump’s loss in November — have moved to rewrite elections laws. The national campaign to do so is motivated by Trump’s unfounded allegations that irregularities in the election process, particularly in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Arizona, led to his loss — a baseless claim that inspired the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

The Georgia law requires a photo ID in order to vote absentee by mail, after more than 1.3 million Georgia voters used that option during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also cuts the time people have to request an absentee ballot and limits where ballot drop boxes can be placed and when they can be accessed.

Some of the changes in Florida’s election rules contain similar provisions. Democrats acknowledge that the Florida law won’t be as draconian as the one recently adopted by its neighbor to the north.

The GOP-controlled Florida Legislature passed the law without a single Democratic vote, even as Florida Republicans have hailed their state as a model for conducting elections. This disconnect has confounded Democrats, voter rights groups and statewide elections officials who see no need for the changes.


But Republicans countered that the new law is a preemptive move against those who would undermine the sanctity of the ballot box, even if they could not cite specific instances of widespread fraud. Republicans argue that the new rules do nothing to keep people from voting.

The newly signed law restricts when ballot drop boxes can be used and who can collect ballots — and how many. To protect against so called “ballot harvesting,” an electoral Good Samaritan can only collect and return the ballots of immediate family and no more than two from unrelated people. Under the new rules, drop boxes must be supervised and would only be available when elections offices and early voting sites are open.

It requires that a voter making changes to registration data provide an identifying number, possibly a driver’s license number or a partial Social Security Number.

The governor’s signature extends a no-influence zone to 150 feet (50 meters) around polling places. And elections officials would have to let candidates and other observers witness some key election night moments in the ballot-handling process. Any violations could prompt hefty fines.

DeSantis had pushed Republican lawmakers to deliver the sweeping rewrites of rules on voting by mail and drop boxes, and to impose new layers of ID requirements for routine changes to a voter’s registration record.

However, the proposals signed into law did not include some of the more severe provisions initially put forward by some Republicans, including the outright banning of drop boxes and preventing the use of the U.S. Postal Service for returning completed ballots.

Spurred by concerns that the pandemic would keep voters from voting on Election Day last year, the Democratic Party urged people to vote early and through the mail.

The result: Florida Democrats outvoted Republicans by mail for the first time in years as a record 4.9 million Floridians voted by mail. Democrats cast 680,000 more mail ballots than Republicans did.

In the past, an application for a vote-by-mail ballot covered two general election cycles. The new law requires voters who want an absentee ballot to apply for one every cycle. Republicans had initially proposed making this retroactive, which would have immediately erased the Democratic advantage, but they backed off that move in the final version.

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