Biden Selects California Senator Kamala Harris As Running Mate

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Joe Biden named California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate on Tuesday, making history by selecting the first Black woman to compete on a major party’s presidential ticket and acknowledging the vital role Black voters will play in his bid to defeat President Donald Trump.

“I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate,” Biden tweeted. In a text message to supporters, Biden said, “Together, with you, we’re going to beat Trump”

In choosing Harris, Biden is embracing a former rival from the Democratic primary who is familiar with the unique rigor of a national campaign. Harris, a 55-year-old first-term senator, is also one of the party’s most prominent figures and quickly became a top contender for the No. 2 spot after her own White House campaign ended.

Harris joins Biden in the 2020 race at a moment of unprecedented national crisis. The coronavirus pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 150,000 people in the U.S., far more than the toll experienced in other countries. Business closures and disruptions resulting from the pandemic have caused an economic collapse. Unrest, meanwhile, has emerged across the country as Americans protest racism and police brutality.

Trump’s uneven handling of the crises has given Biden an opening, and he enters the fall campaign in strong position against the president. In adding Harris to the ticket, he can point to her relatively centrist record on issues such as health care and her background in law enforcement in the nation’s largest state.

Harris’ record as California attorney general and district attorney in San Francisco was heavily scrutinized during the Democratic primary and turned off some liberals and younger Black voters who saw her as out of step on issues of systemic racism in the legal system and police brutality. She tried to strike a balance on these issues, declaring herself a “progressive prosecutor” who backs law enforcement reforms.

Biden, who spent eight years as President Barack Obama’s vice president, has spent months weighing who would fill that same role in his White House. He pledged in March to select a woman as his vice president, easing frustration among Democrats that the presidential race would center on two white men in their 70s.

Biden’s search was expansive, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a leading progressive, Florida Rep. Val Demings, whose impeachment prosecution of Trump won plaudits, California Rep. Karen Bass, who leads the Congressional Black Caucus, former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, whose passionate response to unrest in her city garnered national attention.

A woman has never served as president or vice president in the United States. Two women have been nominated as running mates on major party tickets: Democrat Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Republican Sarah Palin in 2008. Their party lost in the general election.

The vice presidential pick carries increased significance this year. If elected, Biden would be 78 when he’s inaugurated in January, the oldest man to ever assume the presidency. He’s spoken of himself as a transitional figure and hasn’t fully committed to seeking a second term in 2024. If he declines to do so, his running mate would likely become a front-runner for the nomination that year.

Born in Oakland to a Jamaican father and Indian mother, Harris won her first election in 2003 when she became San Francisco’s district attorney. In the role, she created a reentry program for low-level drug offenders and cracked down on student truancy.

She was elected California’s attorney general in 2010, the first woman and Black person to hold the job, and focused on issues including the foreclosure crisis. She declined to defend the state’s Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage and was later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

As her national profile grew, Harris built a reputation around her work as a prosecutor. After being elected to the Senate in 2016, she quickly gained attention for her assertive questioning of Trump administration officials during congressional hearings. In one memorable moment last year, Harris tripped up Attorney General William Barr when she repeatedly pressed him on whether Trump or other White House officials pressured him to investigate certain people.

Harris launched her presidential campaign in early 2019 with the slogan “Kamala Harris For the People,” a reference to her courtroom work. She was one of the highest-profile contenders in a crowded Democratic primary and attracted 20,000 people to her first campaign rally in Oakland.

But the early promise of her campaign eventually faded. Her law enforcement background prompted skepticism from some progressives, and she struggled to land on a consistent message that resonated with voters. Facing fundraising problems, Harris abruptly withdrew from the race in December 2019, two months before the first votes of the primary were cast.

One of Harris’ standout moments of her presidential campaign came at the expense of Biden. During a debate, Harris said Biden made “very hurtful” comments about his past work with segregationist senators and slammed his opposition to busing as schools began to integrate in the 1970s.

“There was a little girl in California who was a part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day,” she said. “And that little girl was me.”

Shaken by the attack, Biden called her comments “a mischaracterization of my position.”

The exchange resurfaced recently one of Biden’s closest friends and a co-chair of his vice presidential vetting committee, former Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, still harbors concerns about the debate and that Harris hadn’t expressed regret. The comments attributed to Dodd and first reported by Politico drew condemnation, especially from influential Democratic women who said Harris was being held to a standard that wouldn’t apply to a man running for president.

Some Biden confidants said Harris’ campaign attack did irritate the former vice president, who had a friendly relationship with her. Harris was also close with Biden’s late son, Beau, who served as Delaware attorney general while she held the same post in California.

But Biden and Harris have since returned to a warm relationship.

“Joe has empathy, he has a proven track record of leadership and more than ever before we need a president of the United States who understands who the people are, sees them where they are, and has a genuine desire to help and knows how to fight to get us where we need to be,” Harris said at an event for Biden earlier this summer.

At the same event, she bluntly attacked Trump, labeling him a “drug pusher” for his promotion of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the coronavirus, which has not been proved to be an effective treatment and may even be more harmful. After Trump tweeted “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” in response to protests about the death of George Floyd, a Black man, in police custody, Harris said his remarks “yet again show what racism looks like.”

Harris has taken a tougher stand on policing since Floyd’s killing. She co-sponsored legislation in June that would ban police from using chokeholds and no-knock warrants, set a national use-of-force standard and create a national police misconduct registry, among other things. It would also reform the qualified immunity system that shields officers from liability.

The list included practices Harris did not vocally fight to reform while leading California’s Department of Justice. Although she required DOJ officers to wear body cameras, she did not support legislation mandating it statewide. And while she now wants independent investigations of police shootings, she didn’t support a 2015 California bill that would have required her office to take on such cases.

“We made progress, but clearly we are not at the place yet as a country where we need to be and California is no exception,” she told The Associated Press recently. But the national focus on racial injustice now shows “there’s no reason that we have to continue to wait.”

(AP)


29 COMMENTS

  1. Harris hardly registered a blip in the Dem primary. She is an inexperienced senator with a prickly personality. And she ate Biden in a debate, so this is the person who will be president when Biden steps aside after getting elected?

  2. Kamala Harris is total phony and a hypocrite. Apparently she does not mind to be a running mate to senile rapist, on camera child molester and a racist who referred to black kids as roaches.

  3. “they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” She iwas selected by the democrats for her race and female gender ( The democrats still recognize gender??). Hardly a reason to elect someone.

  4. This will be the first presidential election in which none of the candidates for either party for president or Vice-President have roots in the colonial period. Trump and Harris are 100% descended from recent immigrants, and Pence and Biden are from families that came in the mid-19th century.

    Harris is probably the least obnoxious running mate that Biden could find given that based on Democratic quotas and the need to “pay back” his supporters, he was limited to dark skinned women. It is interesting that Biden’s African American supporters seem content with “Blacks” whose ancestors were immigrants rather than slaves.

  5. MoisheinDenial: Have your IT department check out your keyboard….Some of the keys are stuck or malfunctioning. The senile rapist and age-agnostic molestor and racist is the TRUMPKOPF, not sleepy Joe. As to being a hypocrite, no one can lay a glove on the Trumpkopf. Last night while kevetching about Sen. Harris being “nasty” to Judge Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings, in the same breadth he used a racist slur against Sen. Warren.

  6. As opposed to Pence who was and is the running mate for a serial rapist who bragged about adultery, bribed porn stars and calls a simple dementia test “very difficult”
    Hypocrites? Maybe look in the mirror.

  7. From what I’ve seen of her, she intelligent, experienced, strong, honest, and kind. Americans deserve more than a vulgar, self-centered, impulsive, and petty failed businessman whose competence is proven by repeating the words person tv woman man camera a few times.

  8. Picking a running mate based on gender and race is more of the same Democrat identity politics, and just serves to spill more fuel on the racism dumpster fire.

  9. Fakehadorah. say hello to Tara Reade before you launch on Trump. Trump did not call black kids at the swimming pool cockroaches unlike your new hero senile Biden.

  10. @ElazarValk: Calling someone mulatto is a bit like calling someone a kike, I’m sure you wouldn’t mind.
    @Curiosity: Let me get this straight––Harris shouldn’t be considered for the job because she is a woman of color? How enlightened of you.
    @MoisheInGolus: People living in glass houses should think twice before throwing rocks.

  11. The nutty far left hates Harris. Former Bernie Sanders press secretary Briahna Joy Gray attacked Kamala Harris *yesterday*. Selecting a black former prosecutor as his running mate removes the Black Loves Matter extremists, and the Bernie or Bust crowd, from the mainstream and that is good. Now we just need to remove the extremists are the other side of the spectrum like Donald Trump and his cult. Biden and Harris will Make America Normal Again.

  12. “Biden chose you JUST FOR BEING A BLACK FEMALE??? For no other reason.”

    Actually she is better qualified, with more diverse experience other than foreign policy, than most of the other candidates for PRESIDENT. Sanders was a small city mayor and inconsequential Senator. Warren was a law professor. O’Rourke was an inconsequential congressman. Buttigieg was a small city mayor and nothing else. Bloomberg was at least a big city mayor but nobody has ever jumped from being a mayor directly to being President. Ditto De Blasio. Klobuchar comes closest as she has been an effective senator and before that was a prosecutor. But Harris was a prosecutor, State Attorney General and US Senator. Biden arguably picked the best person regardless of ethnic ancestry.

  13. “racist is the TRUMPKOPF”

    Trump also has spouted anti-Semitic memes, has endorsed a neo-Nazi for Congress, and has praised neo-Nazi protesters.

    Had any Democrat done any of those things, the entire comment page would be up in arms. But the Torah of HaShem has now been replaced by the Torah of Trump. Cheating in business is now mutar. Cheating on you spouse is now mutar. Lying is now mutar, especially if it is directed towards opponents of the Cult Leader. Using public positions for personal gain is now mutar.

  14. “I believe them and I respect them being able to tell their story and having the courage to do it,” Harris said in 2019.

    Harris made the comment after several women, including Amy Lappos, Caitlyn Caruso, D. J. Hill, and former Democratic state lawmaker Lucy Flores, all accused Biden of unwanted touching.

  15. It’s clear that liberalism is the religion of democrat-supporting Jews, even those that may proport to being orthodox. It has blinded them to the threat the democrat party has become for Jews, religious values, and individual liberty.
    Jews who support Prez Trump are not married to any party or person. They jut see more clearly that Trump’s actions support Jews and other minorities, that his policies work, especially for bolstering the economy, and that he is Israel-friendly. Voting for Trump is not an ideology as CH’s tirade claims – it’s common sense.
    CH – FYI, you might want to read some of the interesting biographies written about former presidents – unfortunately their personal lives were pretty degenerate, including your party’s icon FDR. Frum Jews obviously don’t condone this so let’s keep the conversation civilized and rational.