Never fear, Fox’s News has returned. As much as I’d like to dive into the festivities of such an occasion, we have business to attend to.
Vice President Joe Biden has announced that Kamala Harris, California’s former Attorney General and current California Senator, will be his running mate for his 2020 bid to challenge President Donald Trump.
Because of his current poll numbers and age, Biden needed a running mate who presented a low risk for his 2020 bid with high political potential as a possible successor. He found that combination with Harris.
Harris may not sway the 2020 election one way or another (Vice Presidential nominees almost never do), but she is the perfect person to take the torch of Democratic politics into the next generation, making her the ideal pick.
Harris presents clear advantages over the other women on the shortlist, the largest being her possible future as the face of the new Democratic Party. If elected, Biden would be the oldest president in the history of the United States when inaugurated. It is entirely conceivable that the party may need a new nominee in as little as four years. Because of that, Biden needed a running mate with national campaign experience and the youth for the future, two things Harris alone possesses.
Harris is also somebody who can effectively challenge the sitting Vice President, Mike Pence. October 7 will be Harris’ first test as a running mate when she will debate Pence. That is, if his own rules allow him to show up. Overall, Harris has proven herself a shrewd debater and has used her prosecutorial style against political opponents in the past, making her a force to be reckoned with on the debate stage. Pence will certainly have his hands full.
Of course, Biden’s possible choices narrowed months ago and became about much more than political pragmatism when he stated in a debate with Senator Bernie Sanders that he would select a woman as his running mate. The decision then became as much about breaking barriers as it was about winning the election. Harris is the first running mate for either party of African American or South Asian descent and is one of three female running mates in the history of the United States, the others being Alaskan Senator Sarah Palin in 2008 and Representative Geraldine Ferraro in 1984. Both tickets failed to win the presidency.
Harris has her own issues, primarily surrounding her prosecutorial record. Since her tenure as Attorney General of California from 2010 through 2016 and as San Francisco District Attorney from 2004 through 2010, Harris has received criticism from both the right and left for her history as a prosecutor, with many citing over-protection of police officers and mishandling of evidence.
Harris is also a more traditional moderate, possibly frustrating a growing sector of Democratic progressives who already felt that the dramatic coalescing of moderates around Biden in March was the principal reason Sanders lost a once likely bid for the nomination.
Even so, Harris’ prosecutorial failures and moderate views are unlikely to sink the Biden campaign as they do not directly play into established right-wing attacks. The two other reported frontrunners, Congresswoman Karen Bass and former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, have ties to extremely sensitive events that act as powerful conservative talking points, including connections with Cuba for Bass and involvement in the Iran Deal and the Benghazi attacks for Rice. Harris thus was much less risky than her counterparts.
Harris’ selection also opens up a senate seat in California if Biden is victorious in November, to which Governor Gavin Newsom can appoint a temporary interim until a special election can be held. A seat from California holds serious weight in the Senate, and thrusting a new Democrat into national prominence and power is a major power play for the party.
In politics, you play to win. Harris has made her fair share of mistakes on the national and local stages but, despite some of her shortcomings, she is the candidate that gave not just Biden, but also the Democratic Party as a whole, the greatest boost into the future as he tries to represent the transition away from the past. Harris’ seat provides an immediate platform to elevate a future Democratic star and her aggressive debate skill will hit hard against Pence’s more conservative style.
Bottom line? Biden knows that if elected he must facilitate a transition to a new age of Democratic politics as well as serving as President, and Harris is to be the new torchbearer. If everything goes to plan, she will lead the next generation of liberal politicians, and that’s a good thing.