Now that Joe Biden has made it official that Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) will be his vice-presidential running mate, the mainstream media have moved on to publishing glowing report after glowing report on Harris while also providing various “analyses” as to What It All Means.

In particular, CNN has gone full-court press in this regard, with fawning pieces about Harris like how she has “spent [her] career breaking barriers”, how Biden picking Harris was “a moment in history to remember”, and how her Indian relatives “helped shape her views on civil rights and civic duty.”

Sprinkled in the middle of CNN’s positive coverage of Biden’s selection of Harris was an analysis done by their editor-at-large Chris Cillizza. After running through a list of Harris’ supposed magnificent qualifications and alleging she “had no obvious weakness that the Trump campaign would exploit”, Cillizza suggested the reason Biden chose Harris was in order to have someone ready to take the reins “if and when” he “decides to step aside”:

What Biden did is make the pick that maximized his chances of continuing to make the race a straight referendum on Trump while also selecting someone, in Harris, whose resume suggests will be ready to step in if and when Biden decides to step aside.

This is what a writing colleague of mine correctly characterized as saying “the quiet part out loud” without actually saying the words regarding all the questions that have been raised – including from Democrats and even some journalists – about Biden’s age, health, and mental fitness to lead.

Cillizza’s report fueled speculation that was already out there about how Biden might already be planning to “step aside” sometime after the election and put Harris in the driver’s seat:

The New York Post also fanned the “step aside” flames by taking a ding at Biden on their front page:

In addition to the possibility he’ll step aside without serving a full four-year term, there have been reports that Biden sent “signals” to campaign aides last year hinting he’d only serve one term if elected.

Though the Biden campaign denied any such signals were sent, Biden had previously told reporters that even though he “felt good”, that he wouldn’t firmly commit to a second term.

“It doesn’t mean I would run a second term,” he stated in October 2019. “I’m not going to make that judgment at this moment.”

Whatever the case may be, the question about stepping aside before his first term is up or pledging to only serve one term needs to be asked in one of the three scheduled debates. I’d say it should be asked in a future interview between now and the election but we can’t be so sure that Biden’s handlers won’t cut his mic or claim technical glitches with the live feed before he has the chance to provide another incoherent answer.

Asking such questions is not a matter of playing partisan politics. We’re talking about electing the next president here, not a president in waiting, and voters deserve to know where Biden is at this point on stepping aside after the election and if he’ll commit to a second term.

— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —


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