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What Kamala Harris as Biden’s Running Mate Means for the 2020 Election

Last updated on April 4, 2021

Las Vegas, Nevada, April 2019. U.S. Senator Kamala Harris speaking with attendees at the 2019 National Forum on Wages and Working People. (Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore)

Remember, let’s be polite; let’s be respectful, but most of all, let’s be outspoken.

On August 11, 2020, presumptive Democratic nominee Joseph R. Biden Jr. selected Senator Kamala Harris to be his Vice President. According to the New York Times, Biden first announced in a text message and a follow-up email to supporters: “Joe Biden here. Big news: I’ve chosen Kamala Harris as my running mate. Together, with you, we’re going to beat Trump.”

According to the New York Times, Kamala Harris is “the first Black woman and the first person of Indian descent to be nominated for national office by a major party, and only the fourth woman in history to be chosen for one of their presidential tickets.” 

Born in California, Kamala Harris is of Indian and Jamaican descent. She started her career as a prosecutor before becoming the San Francisco District Attorney in 2003. She later became the California District Attorney in 2010 and then a California Senator in 2016.

During her term as a junior senator, she sat on the Intelligence and Judiciary committee, which oversaw high-profile hearings like the Congressional confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. In January 2019, she announced her bid for the White House but ultimately suspended her campaign in December.

For months, the anticipation for Biden’s vice presidential pick was very high. Normally, the attention is focused on the presidential candidate, but now, everyone looks towards the vice-presidential candidate because of Biden’s age and mental state. Given this fact, Biden thought Harris (55) would be the best pick.

Yesterday, I published an article saying unless Biden says or does something incredibly damaging to his campaign, he will secure the Presidency. Today, he did something incredibly damaging to his campaign. I only say this with such criticism because Kamala Harris is an easy target to the boundless insults and attacks of President Trump.

This is due to the fact Harris lacks broad public appeal and has a questionable history. In the first Presidential democratic primary debate, Harris attacked Biden on opposing a mandate on federal busing. This allowed the Senator to climb to 15% in the national polls for a brief period. However, her numbers went down when she contradicted herself by saying she “and Biden held similar views on whether busing decisions should be made on the local or federal level.”

She also dramatically changed her opinion on private insurance when she said she “supported abolishing private insurance in favor of a government-run single-payer alternative,” but then later said she supports preserving supplemental private insurance.

To add insult to injury, she lost major support among donors when she underperformed in the preceding primary debates. Harris is not widely known as a tremendous orator or debater like Obama. This may hurt the Biden campaign when she debates in the Vice Presidential debate against Mike Pence, who arguably decimated Tim Kain in the 2016 Vice Presidential debate.

Furthermore, she struggled to gain the African-American vote during the election because Biden received tremendous African-American backing. By November, she was polling in the single digits and did not have enough money to continue her campaign.

Trump can use all of this to attack Kamala Harris over Twitter, rallies, or speeches. Knowing no boundaries or filters, he can paint her as a weak failed presidential candidate that is self-contradictory and hypocritical.

To add on, Biden is trying to portray his campaign as a force that ushers in political unification, and one that serves as a transition to a better society. Nominating Harris does not portray that sense of unification because of their heated relationship and lack of chemistry.

Earlier in 2019, Biden was accused of inappropriately touching or kissing by four women. All of them said his behavior was inappropriate and made them uncomfortable. Biden denied the allegations, and a bevy of Democrats rushed to Biden’s defense. However, Harris openly remarked, “I believe them, and I respect them being able to tell their story and having the courage to do it.”

This remark and the widely known attack on Biden in the first presidential debate provides another talking point for the Republicans and may spark uncertainty for the effective teamwork between Harris and Biden.

In reality, the Democrats are propping up Harris for the election. In many ways, Biden is a placeholder and a familiar face, but Harris is the one who will gain all the attention.

Her record, resilience, strength, diplomatic skills, debating skills, and overall appeal will be a testimony to the strength of the Biden campaign and the threat to the Trump campaign.

Remember, let’s be polite; let’s be respectful, but most of all, let’s be outspoken.

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