Election 2020Lauren Victoria BurkePolitics

Harris Effect on Biden Campaign Evident as Debates Loom

ANALYSIS:

Democrats are enthusiastic about getting rid of Donald Trump. But a nagging issue regarding the Biden campaign keeps finding its way on to panel discussions and into think pieces about the 2020 campaign: Whether Joe Biden can cause the type of excitement around his campaign that will get voters inspired enough for him to win.

Over the past few months, Biden has received impressive polling results. More importantly, Biden has done well in polls in states he must win on the electoral map. By Sept. 1, Biden’s polling was solid. Five polls released on Sept. 2 demonstrated the following: Quinnipiac: Biden 52%, Trump 42% (+10), USAT/Suffolk: Biden 50%, Trump 43% (+7), Reuters/Ipsos: Biden 47%, Trump 40% (+7), Grinnell/Selzer: Biden 49%, Trump 41% (+8), Economist/YouGov: Biden 51%, Trump 40% (+11).

The question of enthusiasm has been a popular one since Barack Obama took the 2008 campaign by storm as an insurgent candidate who motivated young voters and took on the party establishment. As Biden and Trump move closer to Election Day, the topic of whether Trump will come up with another shocking win has worried some Democrats as outlier polls showing the race tightening occasionally pop up.

But the selection of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) certainly drove excitement for base Democrats. Democrats raised $26 million, including from 150,000 first-time contributors in the 24 hours after Harris was announced as Biden’s running mate. Black women are the most reliable voting bloc for the Democratic Party.

Biden himself could make a difference in the excitement differential during the three presidential debates. One will be held in late September and the last two will be held in October.

On Sept. 29, the first presidential debate will take place at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Fox News anchor Chris Wallace will be the moderator. On Oct. 7, the one and only vice presidential debate will be held at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. USA Today’s Washington bureau chief Susan Page will moderate.

On Oct. 15, the second presidential debate will be held at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. Steve Scully, senior executive producer and political editor of C-SPAN Networks, will moderate. On Oct. 22, the last presidential debate will be held at Belmont University in Nashville. Kristen Welker, co-anchor of “Weekend Today” and NBC News’ White House correspondent, will be the moderator.

Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist for NNPA and the host of the podcast BURKEFILE. She is also a political strategist as principal of Win Digital Media LLC. She can be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on Twitter @LVBurke

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