The New York Times referred to Kamala Devi Harris as a “pragmatic moderate” when referencing her as Joe Biden’s choice for his Vice-Presidential running mate. On Fox News, Mike Huckabee referred to the decision as a “total capitulation to the liberal mob.”
With a text message to his constituents on August 12, 2020, Joe Biden announced Harris as his running mate. On his Twitter announcement, Biden referred to Harris as a “fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants.” Reactions spewed from all corners, as Biden and Harris set out to rival President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence the 2020 Presidential election.Read More »
Responses to VP selection
Trump responded on Twitter, claiming Harris fled the presidential race with “almost zero support” and called her “the kind of opponent everyone dreams of.” In his press conference, Trump referred to Harris as “nasty,” “meanest,” “most horrible,” and “disrespectful.”
Former President Barack Obama Tweeted, “(Harris) is more than prepared for the job. She’s spent her career defending our Constitution and fighting for folks who need a fair shake. This is a good day for our country. Now let’s go win this thing.”
Harris’s Twitter response said, “(Biden) can unify the American people because he’s spent his life fighting for us . . . he’ll build an America that lives up to our ideals.”
Even the comedy world got in on the action within minutes of the announcement. While recording an Emmy-nominee, panel discussion, Maya Rudolph, who was nominated for her portrayal of Harris on Saturday Night Live, learned of the pick. Rudolph said, “that’s spicy” while flitting her eyebrows up and down.
Harris’s Senate website claims she lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Douglas Emhoff, and step-children Ella and Cole. According to Politico, Ella and Cole call her “Momala,” while supporters call themselves “KHive,” paying homage to Beyonce’s “Beyhive.” Harris and Emhoff honored Jewish tradition in their 2014 marriage, according to The Oprah Magazine, by breaking a glass at the Santa Barbara Courthouse. Kamala’s sister Maya Harris West officiated.
Harris’s Vice Presidential, Democratic Party nomination, makes her the fourth woman chosen for the presidential ticket and the first woman of color. As a 55-year-old daughter of a mother who immigrated from India and a father who immigrated from Jamaica, Harris made a career of groundbreaking roles. California elected her as the first African-American and female Attorney General. In 2016, California elected the Oakland native as the second African-American United States Senator and the first South Asian-American US Senator. Harris’s motto, “You may be the first, but make sure you’re not the last,” comes from her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, according to Politico.
Donald Harris, Kamala’s father, and Gopalan met as graduate students at UC Berkeley. They bonded through their shared passion for the civil rights movement. As a result, Kamala experienced protests from her stroller. According to her 2018 autobiography The Truth We Hold, Kamala means lotus flower. She states the lotus flower rises above the water’s surface while planting its roots firmly in the river bottom.
The lineage of her parents allowed her to attend a black Baptist church and Hindu temple as a child. Her mother’s heritage gave provided Kamala trips to India as a child as well.
Harris embraces and identifies her African-American and Indian-American heritages. Last November, actress, and comedian Mindy Kaling posted a Youtube video of her and Harris cooking and talking traditional Indian foods.
Harris and Gopalan divorced while Kamala was young, resulting in Gopalan raising Kamala and her sister, Maya as a single mother. According to Politico, the sisters attended middle and high school in Montreal when their mother taught at McGill University and researched cancer at Jewish General Hospital. The apartment building where they lived in Montreal set the stage for Kamala and Maya to lead their first protest. The protest resulted in children getting to play on the lawn of the apartment.
Howard University to VP candidate
Harris attained her political science degree from Howard University then earned her law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of Law. Once she earned her law degree and passed the bar, Harris worked in the Alameda Country District Attorney’s Office. In 2003, she began the first of two terms as district attorney of the city and county of San Francisco.
According to Politico, in Harris’s first three years as district attorney conviction rates jumped from 52% to 67%.
As attorney general of California, according to her Senate website, Harris acquired a $25-billion settlement for California homeowners during the foreclosure crisis, defended California’s climate-change law, protected the Affordable Care Act, helped win marriage equality for all Californians, and prosecuted transnational gangs for trafficking guns, drugs, and humans.
Biden’s campaign website claims Harris’s qualifications include her time as attorney general since she ran the country’s second-largest justice department with a $735-million budget and 4,800 employees. The website also cites a $1.1-billion settlement against for-profit education companies for scamming students and veterans.
The campaign website also cites her record as a senator introducing and cosponsoring legislation to:
- Help the middle class.
- Increase the minimum wage to $15.
- Defend the legal rights of refugees and immigrants.
- Reform cash bail.
Harris also sits on multiple Senate committees, including Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Select Committee on Intelligence, Committee on the Judiciary, Committee on the Budget.
“That’s exactly why I picked her: She’s ready to lead on day one,” Biden stated on Twitter.
After citing on Twitter the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic, the economic crisis, and calls for racial justice, Biden said, “I need someone alongside me who’s smart, tough, and ready to lead. (Harris) is that person.”
Her time as attorney general did not pass without controversy. The police shooting deaths of two Black men in 2014 and 2015, according to Politico, led to severe criticism from the left. The left also criticized her for not supporting a 2015 bill requiring the state Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor for police using deadly force.
Huckabee’s Fox News article claimed Harris is not moderate because of her stance on Medicare, minimum wage, open borders, gun control, and “much more.” Huckabee further previewed potential Trump arguments claiming she wants to repeal Trump’s policies. He also pointed out her seeming hypocrisy for criticizing Biden for not being liberal enough on race and immigration.
Georgia Democratic State Representative Vernon Jones added to the criticism of Harris on Fox News. Jones accused her of flip-flopping her views and said she’ll do anything to get elected.
Weight of VP choice on the election
Several groups demanded Biden choose an African-American female after George Floyd’s death. FiveThirtyEight contributors consistently claim, however, that vice-presidential candidates do not historically sway elections much. Perry Bacon Jr. argued the African-American vote is already in place for Biden and, therefore, doesn’t give the campaign a significant boost.
Many refer to Biden’s choice of Harris as the safe pick. The New York Times, among others, said an essential part of Biden’s selection is anointing Harris as the de facto party leader in four to eight years.
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