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Harris As Biden's Running Mate: A Pragmatic Choice

Armand Yazdani

Posted on August 21, 2020 19:31

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Presidential candidate Joe Biden's choice to pick Kamala Harris as his running mate will be of great benefit to Biden during this campaign. Whether too moderate or too progressive, Harris's prosecutorial skills and her diverse background could appeal to the minority Democratic demographic.

With presidential candidate Joe Biden choosing Kamala Harris as his running mate, new precedents have been set and Democrats divided. If Americans do elect Biden as their president, Harris would be both the first woman and first woman of color to be Vice President. The Californian senator would also be the first woman of color in the Democratic Party to be chosen as a running mate. 

That said, Biden's choice was met with bilateral backlash and praise. Some conservatives have lampooned Biden's decision, claiming Harris has pushed too far left. Progressives have criticized the pick, citing the Californian's rejection of legislation requiring police to wear body cameras among other issues. A member of Biden's search committee, Senator Chris Dodd, was stunned by Harris' response when Dodd asked her why she attacked Biden. Harris simply laughed "that’s politics." However, for many, Harris' unwavering, prosecutorial debate style along with the promise of a woman of color as Vice President makes her worthy. Even though her criminal justice record is questionable, the decision to pick her was both pragmatic and wise. 

Harris' career as a prosecutor and attorney general of California demonstrates she would be easily able to quarrel with Trump's Vice President, Mike Pence, and Trump himself. Amid the foreclosure crisis, the government offered California $4 billion in a national mortgage settlement. Harris didn't yield. She refused to sign the deal, quintupling that to $20 billion. Her unflinching resolve was especially evident in 2004, when Harris rejected using the death penalty on a man convicted of killing a police officer. Despite the blowback from fellow Democrats, then-district attorney, Harris never capitulated. 

Moreover, in today's Democratic Party, wherein diversity is increasing, picking Harris as a running mate is especially opportune. Her mother was Indian and her father Jamaican, making her the first Black woman or Asian to run on the presidential ticket of a key political party. With at least 40% of democrats nonwhite — according to data obtained through 338,000 interviews by Gallup — opting for a female Vice President of color could appeal to the large minority representation of the party. Her hopping onto the Biden ticket could energize the campaign, tapping into that 40 percent of racial minorities in the Democartic party. A CBS News Survey of 2,210 registered voters found that Democrats were largely satisfied with Biden's pick. Among black registered voters, 53% were "enthusiastic" over the decision, with another 36% of the black voters "satisfied." A slight majority of the self-described liberal voters considered themselves "enthusiastic" with the decision and 33% of surveyed moderates were enthused. Thus, Biden's choice both appealed to the minority vote and left the feathers of the moderate voters unruffled. 

Harris' prosecutorial debate style coupled with her diverse background and persistence demonstrates why she will serve Biden well. On the debate stage, she shall be aggressive with Pence, and she will always be aggressive with Trump. As a running mate, Harris will perfectly supplement Biden's soft demeanor with her brazen outspokenness. 

Armand Yazdani

Posted on August 21, 2020 19:31

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