Joe Biden Picks Senator Kamala Harris: What to Know About the VP Nominee

Biden and Senator Kamala Harris first appeared on the ticket Wednesday in Wilmington, Delaware.

Biden picks Senator Kamala Harris (1)
PHOTO via @Shutterstock

After months of speculation, presidential candidate Joe Biden has chosen his deputy, Senator Kamala Harris. Harris is now making history as the first woman of color to create the presidential ticket to a major party.

  • Kamala Harris has served as a junior senator from California since 2017. Elected on the same night as Donald Trump.
  • In recent months, Harris has become one of the most vocal voices in the room for racial justice.
  • As one of the three black members of the Senate, Harris spearheaded efforts to pass federal police reform.
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The daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica was the first black woman to receive a major party nomination for the vice presidency, a symbol of the Democratic Party’s growing identity and voter base.

Who is Kamala Harris?

Kamala Harris has served as a junior senator from California since 2017. She was elected on the same night as Donald Trump, and in November 2016 promised to fight the Trump agenda in Washington.

But within two years of becoming a senator of the United States, Harris began a presidential campaign demanding the Democratic nomination of historically crowded and diverse candidates.

When Harris’ presidential campaign rallied more than 20,000 supporters in Auckland, California, her brief run was ultimately disappointing.

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Despite seeing her participation in the elections increase after the first Democratic debate, she popularly invited Joe Biden for her record on ethnic issues, and Harris struggled to convey a clear message for her candidacy.

Eventually, the Harris campaign ran out of money before the Iowa Caucus, and she withdrew from the race.

But her return to the Senate helped shape Harris’ image because she accepted the opportunity to create a deeper legislative record. The former attorney used her investigative skills as a virus-qualified examiner in several Senate hearings.

Among them, the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the Trump indictment and the endorsement of contacts with Attorney General Bill Barr and Jeff Sessions.

A leader for the moment

In recent months, Harris has become one of the most vocal voices in the room for racial justice.

As one of the three black members of the Senate, Harris spearheaded efforts to pass federal police reform.

She also spoke about the inequalities faced by black and immigrant communities during the coronavirus epidemic.

In early life

Before her term in the Senate, Kamala Harris served as Attorney General of California. In that role, she oversaw the country’s second-largest judiciary, second only to the US judiciary.

Before that, Harris served as San Francisco District Attorney. She grew up in Auckland with her mother, a doctor and her father, a professor of economics.

Both were active civil rights participants. One of her sisters, Maya, served as head of Harris’ presidential campaign.

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Why did Biden choose Senator Kamala Harris?

The process of selecting Joe Biden’s running mate is different from the past, mostly because he only pledged female candidates.

Since taking over Biden’s party nomination this spring, political junkies have been speculating who he will consider, and arguing who his best choice is. But from the beginning, Harris’ skills as a debater, her interesting application and her unique life story topped the racing lists.

Traditionally, the best running partner will do two things: help the campaign win the state they represent, and above all, not harm. But the role of the vice president has changed dramatically in recent years, as has the role of the vice-presidential candidate.

In the experience of Joe Biden as Barack Obama’s Vice President, he was one of the President’s most trusted confidants and a true partner in governing the country.

From the outset, Biden said he wanted a vice president and was “sympathetic” with him. That is, he is someone to be trusted, someone to support him as a trusted first lieutenant.

But considering Biden’s age (he will be 78 years old on the day of the inauguration), Biden agreed that his VP has to be ready to serve as president from day one.

Such a qualification made Kamala Harris a clear choice, considering the administrative experience she brought as a former Attorney General and her own time as a presidential candidate. Of course, her identity also played a huge role in her choice.

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Representative matters

Even before George Floyd’s death, she had been holding national demonstrations for weeks for racial justice, with key allies urging Biden to consider a black woman as his partner. They have formed an important constituency for Democratic candidates over the years.

In particular, in the case of Biden, they helped him win the South Carolina primary, which gave him the much-needed impetus to win the race that would eventually suggest his backward campaign. 

While conventional wisdom considers the running mate to represent a hard-to-win position, today, it is equally important for the running mate to represent a key figure.

Harris, a black woman and daughter of immigrants, shows these important voting camps where the party recognizes their importance and informs them that their voices will be heard in the Biden administration.

Biden and Senator Kamala Harris first appeared on the ticket Wednesday in Wilmington, Delaware.

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