Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden announced Kamala Harris as his running mate for the 2020 presidential election yesterday.
What We Know:
- Former Vice President Biden’s reveal has been highly anticipated since he promised to select a woman as his running mate if he won the nomination. California Senator Kamala Harris is a historic choice as she is only the third woman to be nominated as a vice-presidential candidate. Harris initially announced her own presidential campaign in January of 2019. She was viewed as a strong contender in the large mix of potential Democratic nominees; however, she suspended her campaign in December 2019. In March, she endorsed Joe Biden as the Democratic nominee.
- The Biden campaign conducted a months-long search for a running mate, doing several rounds of interviews and pouring over records before presenting Biden with a list of finalists. Amongst the finalists were six women, many of which being women of color with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) reportedly seen as the favorite among them. California Rep. Karen Bass and former national security adviser Susan Rice were two other Black woman contenders. Before the announcement, the campaign assembled a staff for Harris led by senior advisor Karine Jean-Pierre.
- Harris was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2017. Prior to becoming a senator, she served two terms as California’s attorney general. She was the first Black American and first woman to serve in that position. Harris is a Democratic senator, however, she has been criticized for her record as attorney general and for not being progressive enough. Critics point out how Harris failed to bring large-scale police and drug reform in California and often use the slogan “Kamala is a cop.” Her proponents emphasize how she refused to seek the death penalty and reduced many marijuana-related crimes to misdemeanors. Now, as racial injustice and police behavior is in the national spotlight, Harris is using her platform to amplify progressive voices.
- At age 77, many believe Joe Biden, if elected, would not run for a second term. That makes his Vice Presidential candidate a potential top pick to receive the party’s 2024 nomination. Harris, a national figure and former presidential candidate herself, may pose problems for a Biden administration for that exact reason. “I think some people fear that she won’t necessarily be a team player because she’ll always worry about her own interests,” a source close to Biden suggested.
Many in the Democratic Party view Harris as a solid choice. Her background as a prosecutor and senator provide essential experience for the role of vice president. Biden and Harris will formally accept the Democratic Party’s nominations during the virtual convention next week.