It's official: Joe Biden has announced Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, putting a Bay Area native daughter in the national spotlight once again. And she is the first Black woman ever to join a major-party ticket — in addition to being the first person of Indian descent to join such a ticket in our country.
Calling her "a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants," Biden announced Harris as his VP pick on Twitter, hours after rumors were swirling online that she was the final choice."
"Back when Kamala was Attorney General [of California], she worked closely with Beau [Biden]. I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse. I was proud then, and I'm proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign," Biden writes.
Many pundits have been putting their money on former national security advisor and UN ambassador Susan Rice and Rep. Karen Bass in recent days as the likelier choices — and indeed, a listing of speakers for the virtual Democratic National Convention next week, published today, threw everyone off because Harris was scheduled and Rice and Bass were not.
But none of the oft-mentioned candidates for running mate, with the exception of fellow Senator Elizabeth Warren, have the name recognition, national-level experience, and demonstrated charisma in front of the camera as Kamala, making her a shoe-in (IMO) from the start.
As the Times notes of Harris, "She brings to the race a far more vigorous campaign style than Mr. Biden’s, including a gift for capturing moments of raw political electricity on the debate stage and elsewhere, and a personal identity and family story that many find inspiring." And the Times writes that in choosing someone with clear ambitions for the presidency in the future, Biden "may well be anointing her as the de facto leader of the party in four or eight years."
Now debates will rage on her criminal justice history — you can read a pair of pieces in recent days, in the New York Times and an op-ed in USA Today by SF Deputy Public Defender Niki Solis for differing opinions on that track record.
But as a prosecutor and now a senator for several years, Harris has plenty of experience making compelling arguments on a public stage. And a running-mate in a campaign is generally just serving as a proxy for the presidential candidate on stage anyway.
In this case, with Biden acknowledging his advanced age, he has said he wanted to choose someone who could step into the role of president "on Day One," if necessary. And as a former fellow presidential candidate who developed a following of her own, Harris fits that bill in the eyes of many fans.
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