Three ways President Biden just helped Kamala Harris close in on Donald Trump

President Joe Biden has just gone from being his own worst enemy to being Kamala Harris’ greatest asset. I say that because the bumbling, unsure Joe Biden of three and a half weeks ago and since the disastrous presidential debate was absent on Wednesday night. 

To be sure, there were a few moments, indeed more than a few moments, where he stumbled over his words and expressions in his Oval Office address to the nation. But far more important was the brief 10-minute or so summary Biden offered Americans of his accomplishments. On Wednesday night, in the absence of a partisan political campaign, they suddenly seemed far more compelling than they did in the course of the now ended Biden-for-President effort. 

I say that because every point that Biden’s approval goes up from here on out will undoubtedly translate into additional support for Vice President Kamala Harris in her race against Donald Trump. 

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In his brief address, Biden convincingly made a case for his leadership — both domestically and overseas — without direct partisan attacks or shrill and harsh rhetoric.

Most tellingly, Biden struck a theme that neither he nor the Democrats could have articulated while he was a candidate: “Passing the torch to a new generation.”  The president sought to inoculate Harris, perhaps not entirely convincingly, on her greatest liability — the Southern border and unfettered illegal immigration. 

Similarly, Biden made what I thought was a strong case for unity, stability and, most of all, democracy. 

Still, I don’t believe, nor would I mean to imply that this speech in any way changes or fundamentally alters the campaign to come. But it suggests that Joe Biden has been revitalized and can play three important roles for Vice President Harris.

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First, as chief advocate for the Biden domestic and foreign policy. Second, as chief advocate for a new, and frankly untested, face on the national stage – the sitting vice president. And third, not to be underestimated, after Wednesday’s speech, there will be a revitalized and resurgent ability to raise vast sums of money to combat Donald Trump and the Republicans.

Make no mistake, Joe Biden, with his brief 10-minute address, has gone from being a pariah among donors to a likely celebrity again. The president, who just one short week ago was shunned by the party’s richest and most influential donors, will undoubtedly be welcomed back into living rooms from the Upper East Side to West Los Angeles as he makes the case simultaneously for his administration and that of his hoped-for successor.

Finally, the president’s speech gives Democrats an asset they frankly lacked until Wednesday night: a sitting president who can make the case for the Party. Biden no doubt will join with former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama to demonstrate newfound Democratic unity both at the convention and beyond. Harris now has an opportunity at that convention, both on her own and with her choice of vice president, to lay out her own vision of the America she hopes to lead.

I still regard Donald Trump as the front-runner in the 2024 election, as the polls narrowly show. But with a newly compelling Joe Biden, a united Democratic Party and three presidents to advocate on her behalf, Kamala Harris has a far better chance of winning this election than anyone thought possible just a few days ago.

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