The near-term future is not looking particularly bright for the Democratic Party, in large part due to President Joe Biden’s dismal approval ratings, and it is widely expected that the party will get trounced by Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections in November.
All of that is undoubtedly a factor in anonymously-sourced reports claiming that Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Jaime Harrison is considering vacating his position prior to the election, so as not to be scapegoated for the party’s anticipated losses.
The assertion of Harrison’s potentially imminent departure from the DNC also comes amid reports of a “strained relationship” between the chairman and the Biden White House, according to Fox News.
An early escape?
Those claims were made Friday by NBC News in an article that purportedly cited “more than two dozen current and former DNC officials, White House officials, fundraisers, donors and Democrats in touch with the White House” about the relationship between Harrison and the Biden administration and concerns over the job Harrison has done thus far as DNC chair.
On one hand, there are numerous complaints that Harrison is in over his head as chair of the DNC, that he is not doing enough to meet with donors or fundraise or assist other party officials and that he predominately stays at his home in South Carolina instead of traveling the nation to do the work his position requires.
On the other hand, though, there are also assertions that an “overbearing” Biden White House has marginalized and micromanaged Harrison and not deployed him in an effective manner that would make use of his abilities and strengths.
“There’s blame to be shared,” one unnamed source said of the “dynamics” between Harrison and the White House. “Has he demonstrated that he’s going to move heaven and earth to raise money and defend the administration? No. But it’s pretty impossible to defend what’s happening and not happening.”
Will he do it?
According to NBC, all of that and more is said to have frustrated Harrison to the point that he has reportedly considered ditching the DNC ahead of the midterm elections, given the likelihood that he will be shouldered with much of the blame if/when Republicans reclaim control of the House and/or Senate in November.
He is supposedly hesitant to make such a drastic move, though, not only because it might prove harmful to the party and president, but also because it could hinder his opportunity to run as the successor to House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC), a close ally of Biden, whenever he decides to retire from Congress.
Harrison, as some might recall, gained a measure of national prominence when he set fundraising records during a 2020 bid to unseat Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in 2020. According to Politico, despite enjoying a massive financial advantage and national support for his campaign, Harrison was soundly defeated by Graham by 10 percentage points, 54-44%, or about 250,000 votes in that election.
For what it is worth, all public comments on the matter from various individuals and officials downplayed or denied the reported tension between Harrison and the White House, including from Harrison himself, both in the interview with NBC as well as a Twitter thread in which he called out the “unnamed bulls–t in politics,” and defended his record as DNC chair over the past year.
He further told NBC that his “goal” was to serve the entirety of his four-year term as DNC, saying, “I made a commitment to the president.”