Kamala Harris made history on Saturday with her election as Joe Biden’s vice president, becoming the first female, first black American and first Asian American to win the second-highest office in the United States.
Harris, 56, is widely seen as an obvious candidate for the Democratic Party nomination in 2024 if Biden, who will be 78 when they are inaugurated on January 20, decides not to run for a second term. She has not publicly weighed in on such speculation.
Edison Research and major U.S. television networks projected their victory on Saturday, based on unofficial final results, even though outgoing President Republican Donald Trump has vowed to continue fighting in court.
United States Senator from California, Harris has a proven track record of broken glass ceilings. She was San Francisco’s first female district attorney and was the first California woman of color to be elected attorney general.
His background in criminal justice could help a Biden administration tackle racial equality and policing issues after the country has been swept away by protests this year. She is expected to be one of the main advisers for judicial appointments.
Harris, whose mother and father emigrated from India and Jamaica respectively, intended to become the first female president of the United States when she competed against Biden and others for their party’s nomination in 2020.
She dropped out of the race last December after a campaign hurt by her hesitant views on health care and her indecisiveness about embracing her past as a prosecutor.
Biden looked past some of the harsh words Harris had for him in this campaign to name her his running mate in August. She has proven to be a valuable and refined replacement, particularly appealing to women, progressives and voters of color, all essential to the party’s electoral hopes.
Harris, who has developed an extensive fundraising network during his Senate and White House offerings, was instrumental in raising Biden’s record-breaking moneys in the final months of the campaign. His selection sparked an explosion of enthusiasm within the Democratic base and among party donors.
“Harris always made the most sense as a running mate for Biden because she had the ability to help him unify the Democratic coalition across racial and generational lines and was able to stimulate grassroots enthusiasm,” said Joel Payne, a Democratic strategist who worked for Hillary. Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.
A TEAM PLAYER
Accusations by progressives that Harris did not do enough to investigate police shootings and wrongful conviction cases while she was California attorney general helped defeat her own presidential election, but little has surfaced during her tenure as Biden’s running mate.
Harris has often defended her case, saying, as she did at a town hall last year, that she has worked her entire career “to reform the criminal justice system knowing that it is deeply flawed. and that it needs to be fixed ”.
Instead, Trump and his re-election campaign had sought to paint Harris as a tool of the Democratic left to wield power and influence behind the scenes of a Biden presidency.
Ahead of her selection, several Biden aides say Harris was able to allay concerns among some in the former vice president’s camp that she would be too personally ambitious to become a trusted partner.
Harris has shown himself to be a team player, taking on a low-profile role and hosting virtual and in-person political events that at times attracted little media coverage, while also often talking about what Biden would do for the country if he was elected and eligible. a passionate case against Trump.
“Joe and I were brought up in a very similar way,” Harris said of Biden during his October debate against Vice President Mike Pence. “We were raised with values related to hard work, the value and dignity of public service, and the importance of fighting for the dignity of all.
Harris juggled his running mate with his day job in the Senate. Living up to her track record as a prosecutor, she was a skillful cross-examiner for U.S. Supreme Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett at Barrett’s Senate confirmation hearing in October, incorporating the Biden’s campaign message on healthcare and climate change in his questions line.
As the only black woman in the Senate, Harris has emerged this year as a leading voice on racial justice and police reform after Minneapolis police killed African-American man George Floyd in May. She marched with protesters through the streets of Washington and won over some liberal skeptics.
When asked about “60 Minutes” last month why, given Biden’s age, he thought Harris would be ready to take the presidency if anything happened to him, the presidential candidate quickly dismissed five reasons.
“Number one, her values. Number two, she’s smart as a devil, and number three, she has a backbone like a wand. Number four, she really has principles. And number five, she has significant experience in the business. largest state. in the Union to lead the Department of Justice which is only second in size after the Department of Justice in the United States. And obviously, I hope that never becomes a question, “a he declared.
Harris is married to lawyer Douglas Emhoff, who was part of the election campaign. Her two children from a previous marriage call their mother-in-law “Momala”.