Joe Biden announced on Tuesday which he chose Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) Sen. Kamala Harris |
Why it matters: This is a historical choice. Harris is both the first Black woman and the first American woman to be named in a major US presidential party ticket, and potentially the first vice president if Biden defeats President Trump.
The big picture: Harris is probably the safest choice Biden could make with his running wife finalists. He has a national profile and experience in elected offices, has been vetted and tested on Democratic presidential primary presidents and may boost Biden fundraising.
- To arrive at the decision, Biden had to move the remaining tensions and make peace with a fierce main rival.
- The decision elevates Harris to the next generation of Democratic leaders and could give him a huge advantage in 2024, if Biden is elected and decides not to run for a second term.
What he is saying: “I need someone working next to me who is smart, tough, and willing to lead. Kamala is that person,”; Biden announced in a statement.
- “I need someone who understands the disease that so many people in our country are suffering from. Even if they lose their jobs, their business, a loved one with this virus. This president said he did not want to be disturbed by it. ‘ He does not understand that taking care of the people of this country – all the people – not a mess – this is the job. Kamala understands this. “
- “I need someone who understands that we are in a battle for the soul of this country. And that if we can join these crises – we need to come together and unite for a better America. Kamala gets that. “
- “I first met Kamala through my son Beau. They were both Attorneys General at the same time. He had a lot of respect for him and his job. I thought a lot about making this decision. No one’s opinion. someone I value more than Beau and I am proud that Kamala stands with me in this campaign. “
- “His record of fulfillment – fighting teeth and nails for what is right – is why I chose him. There is no door Kamala does not knock, no stone he will leave unchanged, if it means to make life better – for people. “
Harris tweeted after breaking the news: “Joe Biden could unite the American people because he spent his life fighting for us. And as president, he will build an America that lives up to our ideals. I am honored to join him as our party nominee. for the Vice President, and do what is necessary to make him our Commander-in-Chief. “
What’s next: Biden’s campaign said he and Harris would deliver comments in Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday on “working together to restore the nation’s soul and fight for working families to move the country.”
Between the lines: The choice gives Biden a running mate with strong prosecutorial skills, as Harris proved in Senate hearings and in his strongest moments of debate. That will help them make the case against Trump in the fall.
- But some Democrats will take a closer look at his political skills, after his presidential bidding and a piece of the New York Times describes a campaign full of bad decisions and backbiting.
- He also faced public and private questions from some Democrats about whether he also wanted to be more focused on running for the presidency again, though other Democratic operations said the questions about his ambitions were sexist and inappropriate.
The backstory: Harris, aged 55, is more than 20 years younger than Biden, born to an Jamaican Indian mother and father who moved to California.
- He attended Howard University – a historic Black college – and went on to become San Francisco district attorney, California attorney general and U.S. senator from California in 2017.
- Harris reaffirmed his national profile when he roasted nominees and administrators of the Trump administration, including Brett Kavanaugh at his 2018 Supreme Court confirmation hearing.
- President Obama recognized his talent early on, in 2013 popularly calling him “brilliant,” “focused” and “tough.”
He was seen as the front-runner when he announced his presidential campaign in January 2019, but he was no longer able to capitalize on early momentum – except for a brief spike in public attention after his confrontation with Biden in federal court. ordered school bus. a debate in June.
As a presidential candidate, Harris camped on a $ 500-a-month tax credit that he called “the largest employment and middle-class tax deduction in a generation.” She started out as a Medicare for All supporter, but then switched to an alternative to safeguarding a role for private insurance.
- In an October interview on “Axios on HBO,” he explained his decision: “I heard from people, ‘Kamala, do not delete my choice if I want a private plan. Please do not delete my choice.’ And I said, you know what? That’s fair. “
- “I told my team, I knew we would do a political thing for it. … I knew I would call a flip flopper for that.”
- She also said in the interview that “of course” others ran for president as a black woman because of the American experience there was “not a reference for who can do what, there is a lack of ability or a difficulty in thinking that someone we have never seen can do a job done, you know, forty-five times someone who is not that person. “
Harris also faces some criticism based on the cases he has argued and the policies he has implemented as a California attorney in general:
- He defended the death penalty as attorney general, despite being personal against it.
- He did not get a position on Proposition 47, which was approved by voters, which reduced some felony offenses to misdemeanors.
- He opposed a bill that would be needed in his office to investigate police shootings.
Reality check: It is Biden who sets the rules if he wins – but Harris’ note is relevant if he is elected vice president, especially if he takes ownership of specific issues and projects as did Biden when he was vice president of Barack Obama.
- It will also be appropriate for his political future.
What to watch: Harris’ speech receiving the Democratic convention nomination was his opportunity to introduce himself to an audience of general election voters – and to show how much he was like Biden working as a team.
Go deeper: Kamala Harris on issues