Biden Makes Historic VP Pick
Updated: Aug 12, 2020
A woman of color is on a presidential ticket for the first time in U.S. history.
Joe Biden has selected Kamala Harris to be his running mate in the 2020 campaign, marking the first time in 36 years that a female has been chosen to be the Democratic vice presidential nominee. It hasn’t happened since Walter Mondale picked Geraldine Ferraro to face off against Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush in 1984.
Harris, 55, will be the third woman to run for vice president, joining Ferraro and Republican Sarah Palin, who ran alongside John McCain 12 years ago. Counting Hillary Clinton’s failed bid for the White House in 2016, female candidates are currently 0 for 3 running for the country’s highest and second-highest office.
All indications are this time will be different.
Biden is smashing president Donald Trump in polls nationwide and in virtually every swing state as a result of the president’s disastrous response to the COVID-19 pandemic and his heavy-handed authoritarian-like approach to dealing with racial-justice demonstrations.
This decision should only improve Biden’s prospects.
Harris, the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, has served as the junior senator from California since 2016. The Oakland native and graduate of Howard University and the University of California-Berkeley’s Hastings College of Law first made her mark as the Golden State’s Attorney General. She then took advantage of Barbara Boxer’s retirement to run for her seat in the U.S. Senate.
Harris is currently the only African-American woman in the United States Senate, and she is just the second Black female senator in this country’s history. She has distinguished herself as an exemplary orator and champion for human rights and equal justice under the law.
Biden’s selection of an African-American woman is particularly meaningful at this moment, as the nation endures a racial-justice reckoning in the streets from coast to coast. The importance of having inclusive representation cannot be ignored, especially in a campaign against one of the most openly racist presidents in U.S. history.
Furthermore, had Biden not picked a Black running mate, it would have been a slap in the face to the community that rescued his presidential campaign. Biden appeared dead and buried after disastrous results in the very white states of Iowa and New Hampshire and the heavily Latino state of Nevada, where he finished in fourth, fifth and an extremely distant second respectively.
But Biden turned it around after he received a ringing endorsement from African-American South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn. Biden won that state big, and the momentum propelled him past then front-runner Bernie Sanders days later on Super Tuesday.
Black voters delivered the nomination to Biden, and the optics of picking a non-Black running mate would have been terrible. Going with Harris also gives us a glimpse into Biden’s character as a person. He isn’t holding a grudge against Harris for landing one of the most memorable shots against him during the primaries, when she attacked him for opposing school busing in the 1970s. Biden promised he would pick a running mate who would be ready to be president on day one. Given his age, and the fact that there is a deadly virus floating around that is particularly lethal to senior citizens, that is important.
He has succeeded. Harris would make a very capable leader in the Oval Office. This selection is a strong first step toward healing a bitterly divided nation.
He made the right choice.