FINALLY, A SISTER

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Senator Kamala Harris makes history as Joe Biden’s running mate.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden and running mate Sen. Kamala Harris take the stage to deliver remarks at Alexis Dupont High School in Wilmington, Delaware, on Aug. 12.

DREW ANGERER/GETTY IMAGES/TNS

‘I’ve known Senator Harris for a long time. She is more than prepared for the job. She’s spent her career defending our Constitution and fighting for folks who need a fair shake.’
– President Barack Obama

BY HAZEL TRICE EDNEY
TRICE EDNEY NEWSWIRE

Democratic presidential candidate Joseph “Joe” Biden has announced his selection of U.S. Sen. Kamala D. Harris as his vice presidential running mate, bringing an automatic sizzle to the ticket.

A 55-year-old Black woman with Indian and Jamaican ancestry, Harris becomes the first woman of color nominated to the top of a major ticket in a U.S. election.

“I’ve decided that Kamala Harris is the best person to help me take this fight to Trump and Mike Pence and then to lead this nation starting in January 2021,” said Biden, 77, in an email Tuesday. The two made their first appearance together as running mates in Wilmington, Delaware on Aug. 12.

The announcement came after weeks of anticipation after Biden announced he would offer the vice presidency to a woman. The moment grew even more tense as Biden interviewed a string of women, including Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer who is white and former Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass, also of California.

Tense debate

Harris responded on Twitter: “Joe Biden can unify the American people because he’s spent his life fighting for us. And as president, he’ll build an America that lives up to our ideals. I’m honored to join him as our party’s nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief.”

Harris, a longtime friend of Biden, was not widely speculated to be Biden’s pick, particularly given her sudden attack on him during a June 27, 2019 presidential debate in Miami concerning remarks he had previously made about having worked with two segregationist senators.

Biden was making a point about civility and how he has been able to work across the aisles to pass legislation. But Harris tersely pointed out how segregationist politicians had affected her childhood. Though she made it clear that he is not a racist, she called Biden’s comments “very hurtful.”

Joe Biden poses with his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris with her husband Douglas Emhoff. They stood socially distanced after delivering remarks at Alexis Dupont High School in Wilmington, Delaware, on Aug. 12.

DREW ANGERER/GETTY IMAGES/TNS

Moved past it

Biden barely recovered that night but said Harris’ remarks mischaracterized “his position across the board.”

The tense moment clearly stung Biden, but mostly shed a negative light on Harris whose remarks were widely criticized as harsh and misleading. But, this week, Biden proved that he does not hold grudges, placing her alongside him at the very top of the Democratic ticket.

It remains to be seen whether Harris’ historic candidacy as a Black woman and as a woman will engender enough favor from a racially and gender-diverse constituency to defeat the Donald Trump – Mike Pence re-election campaign with the traditional two White males.

On to policies

Trump’s Republican ticket is seen as widely supported by right wingers and White supremacists as well as traditional Republicans.

However, amidst racial tension across America which re-ignited protests after the killing of George Floyd, Trump has slipped in the political polls, several showing Biden leading him with double digits. The coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 160,000 people, including a disparity of African Americans, has also illuminated questions about Trump’s political deficiencies.

America will now scrutinize the voting and policies pushed by Harris, who, since in the U.S. Senate, has become known for her sharp questioning during Senate hearings and for her criminal justice advocacy. But given that Biden is the presidential candidate, it is his record that must be scrutinized the heaviest.

Having served 36 years (1973-2009) in the U.S. Senate and eight years as vice president under President Barack Obama, the nation’s first Black president, it is believed that he has been thoroughly vetted. His judgment in choosing Harris as his running mate will now be his greatest decision under scrutiny. He is already receiving accolades.

‘Nailed this decision’

“Joe Biden nailed this decision,” said Obama in a statement Tuesday. “By choosing Senator Kamala Harris as America’s next vice president, he’s underscored his own judgment and character. Reality shows us that these attributes are not optional in a president. They’re requirements of the job. And now Joe has an ideal partner to help him tackle the very real challenges America faces right now and in the years ahead.”

Obama continued, “I’ve known Senator Harris for a long time. She is more than prepared for the job. She’s spent her career defending our Constitution and fighting for folks who need a fair shake.

“Her own life story is one that I and so many others can see ourselves in: a story that says that no matter where you come from, what you look like, how you worship, or who you love, there’s a place for you here. It’s a fundamentally American perspective, one that’s led us out of the hardest times before. And it’s a perspective we can all rally behind right now.”

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