Image Courtesy of Politico

By Jeremy Perillo

Presidential hopeful Joe Biden has selected Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate for the upcoming 2020 Presidential election, on August 11. Harris, a Democratic Senator from California, will be the first Black and South Asian American vice presidential nominee. Her selection marks the fourth time a woman has been on a major party ticket, and the third time a woman will accept the nomination for vice president of a major party.

Behind her historic selection, came months of anticipation as Biden interviewed dozens of women for the role without a clear frontrunner. Harris always seemed like the probable victor, but given that the Biden campaign remained very tight-lipped, the public was left largely in the dark.

While the selection of the VP does not typically make or break the ticket, it sets the tone for the campaign, and potentially, the presidency. As Biden could be the oldest president elected to office, at 78 years old, it is logical for him to select a younger running mate to lead the Democratic party after him. Because Harris is a fifty-five-year-old freshman Senator, with enough ambition to carry on in the party, it would make sense for Biden to choose her, especially given her failed presidential campaign which ended in December of 2019.

Biden is also a moderate Democrat. He has been throughout his career and remains so. As the democratic party maintains burgeoning progressive factions, which have certainly pulled Biden and most of the party leftward, counteracting his moderate stances with a staunch liberal was not surprising. 

For the same reasons Harris fell in the polls during her presidential campaign, some in the progressive wing of the party remain unhappy with Harris’ selection. She has sustained criticism for the tough-on-crime policies she pursued while she was the Attorney General of California. To a point, wherein 2014, she argued the defense of California’s death penalty in court.

Despite the displeasure progressives have towards the ticket, there is no doubt that those in the Democratic party will support Biden and Harris to remove President Trump from office.

Minutes following the major campaign development, the Trump campaign released ads attacking Harris’ selection, and the Democratic ticket, like clockwork. The first round of attacks centered around Harris’ seemingly sheer opportunism and abandonment of principals. After several debate performances accosting Biden’s moderate stances and longtime moderate record, the Republican’s have given her the nickname “Phony Kamala.”

The Trump campaign has also decided to focus on Harris’s liberal voting record and ideology. However, their portrayal of her as “radical left” is not accurate. Biden is a moderate and Harris is certainly a liberal Democrat, but she is not as radical as Trump’s campaign is painting her to be. Many of the progressives and members of the “radical left” are not fond of Harris because of her past stances on crime. 

In a continued and unfamiliar effort to attack his opponents, Trump entertained a birther theory while answering questions on Harris’ citizenship.

“I heard it today that she doesn’t meet the requirements,” Trump said while referring to an op-ed in Newsweek which falsely asserted that Harris is unable to become president because her parents are from other countries. According to the U.S. Constitution, an individual has to be at least thirty-five years of age, reside in the U.S. for at least fourteen years, and be a “natural born citizen.” Harris was born in Oakland, California in 1964.

As the campaign takes a new turn heading into the Democratic National Convention on August 17, Harris and Biden will continue to campaign with less than eighty days until the election. Harris will debate against Vice President Mike Pence on October 7 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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