About a week ago, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden chose his running mate: Senator Kamala Harris from California. When I heard the news, I was surprised by this choice. Kamala Harris was fierce on the debate floor, so Joe Biden is no stranger to this skill. Harris openly criticized Biden a number of times on policy which is why I initially found it somewhat puzzling that he chose her as his running mate.
Remembering her campaign and results this past year, I was concerned for how this might affect Biden's numbers, but I quickly remembered that the Vice President has minimal impact on voting. People seem to have this idea that a VP pick could turn the tides for swing states or secure electoral college votes, but historically, that has rarely been the case (https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/04/election-2016-vice-president-selection-matters-less-than-you-think-213805).
After being named the Democratic nominee, Biden promised to pick a woman, and constituents pushed specifically for a woman of color. While progressives wished for a candidate like Warren, I'm unsurprised by this choice. We've seen pretty clearly the power of the DNC (and RNC for that matter) to push a candidate they want, and Biden is a prime example of the establishment politician they hope can beat an incumbent like Trump in November.
Like Biden, Harris wouldn't have been my first pick for Vice President. She has a turbulent record with law enforcement in her position as Attorney General, and she doesn't have the most support from Black voters. Still, Senator Harris has had a long career in public service, and her policies are overall beneficial. With plans to reinvest in education, health, environmental sustainability, and a number of other issues that I hold dear, she definitely has promising aspects. What gives me the most hope about her, though, is her historical magnitude.
If Biden wins in November, Kamala Harris will be the first woman to ever hold the office of Vice President. As a vocal feminist and strong advocate for increased representation in government, I'm ecstatic at the idea of a liberal woman taking that honor. Not only is she a woman, she's also young. At only 55, she trails 10-20 years behind the majority white men who occupy the highest positions in the country. It's refreshing to see younger candidates slowly creeping into the ranks of the elected. Lastly, she's a trailblazer for racial diversity. With a Jamaican father and Indian mother, she is the first South Asian to every be featured on the presidential ticket. It's a groundbreaking step in our political system, and I'm thrilled about what she represents.
Now, with all of that being said, I previously wrote about the frustration and dissatisfaction I've experienced with the 2020 candidates; I still stand by some of that sentiment, but as this pandemic has worsened and our current administration has failed to improve circumstances, I've realized that I'm more willing to take Biden and Harris.
The way I see it, Democratic leadership is more than just the President and Vice President. They will choose a progressive cabinet that will advocate for increased funding for our education system, affordable healthcare, a green new deal, lessening racial and gender inequities, LGTBQ+ issues, immigration reform, and an end to mass incarceration. They will also choose replacements for Supreme Court justices like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and I want to make sure we have a voice as powerful as hers to speak up about what matters in coming generations. Overall, I see them as a pair that will heal some of the wounds that Trump and his colleagues have inflicted on the soul of this nation (as Biden likes to say), and pave the way for a better future for all communities.
So yes, they're not my favorite. They could be more progressive. They have skeletons in their closets. They're imperfect to say the least. But when it comes down to a choice between the corruption and disrespect on our current scale and the scale of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the choice becomes clear.