There could have been more knowledgeable candidates, like left-wing Senator Elizabeth Warren. There would have been women with more government experience, like Gretchen Whitmer, the governor of Michigan. Val Demings, the congresswoman from Florida, would have been a more interesting choice.
In the end Joe Biden chose Kamala Harris. The Californian senator will become vice president if the Democratic challenger wins the November election against Donald Trump, the first non-white woman to be nominated for this office. Her mother is from India, her father from Jamaica. She was Attorney General in California and has been a senator in Washington for four years. (Read more about her career here)She has had quite a remarkable political career, but for Biden the most interesting thing was what she is not: not too left, not too old, not too inexperienced, not white.
In the run-up to Biden’s decision, much has been written about what his candidates are supposed to be able to do: they are supposed to mobilize voters in the Swings States, it was said. It was supposed to bind African Americans to the party. All this probably played a role in Biden’s decision, but the decisive factor was something else. The democratic presidential candidate is ten percentage points ahead of Trump in the national polls. A white woman like Whitmer could have angered those parts of the African-American electorate that were loudly calling for a black candidate. A leftist like Warren might have scared off Republican voters in the suburbs who are turning away from Trump.
Main task: please don’t scare away any votersHarris does not scare away. It also does not inspire. She resembles Biden herself. He is the lowest common denominator that the party has agreed on in order to beat Trump. Why should he now choose a partner who would endanger this construct?
Harris’s own presidential campaign failed surprisingly early on, as the incumbent president was pleased to point out. It did not even make it to the first primary election in Iowa, and has not yet proved that it can inspire voters. But her task is above all not to alienate voters.
There is no doubt that Harris is flexible enough to fit quickly into her new role. During the Democratic pre-election debates, she accused Biden of an alleged proximity to racist senators, something she had taken personally and found hurtful. She was one of the first to stand behind Biden as soon as he was nominated as a candidate, and she was tough on Trump’s candidate for judges During her time as California’s Attorney General, she took a hard line in law enforcement, which in practice was mainly directed against blacks. Since the protests of the Black Lives Matter movement have rocked the country, she has marched side by side with protesters, demanding comprehensive police reform. At the same time, she is not a figure of attraction for the party left. She can be a very powerful advocate for a cause, but she is reluctant to be pinned down on substantive positions. she has cut a good figure in Senate hearings from the Democratic perspective, especially in the questioning of Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s Supreme Court candidate.
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