NY Times: Senator Kamala Harris emerges as the front-runner for Biden’s team in a short list of six

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The NY Times has issued an article that states that Senator Kamala Harris has emerged as the front-runner as Biden’s team has narrowed down the potential running mates to a shortlist of six. 

Kamala Harris is emerging as the front-runner to be Joe Biden’s running mate for one reason above all others: She is the only female African-American possibility who has the political experience typical of vice presidents. Stacey Abram’s highest job was in the Georgia state legislature. Susan Rice has never held elected office. Others have served as mayors or in the House. Among them, only Harris would avoid debate about whether she was ready to take over president, a relevant question given that Biden is 77 years old. Harris also has a classic vice-presidential skill- a talent for making a sharp case against the other party-and she seems to have a personal rapport with Biden.

The Associated Press wrote that Senator Harris and our presumptive nominee Joe Biden have been good friends.

Biden, Harris friendship faces the test of a campaign , WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly a year after Beau Biden died of brain cancer, Kamala Harris was still grieving. Speaking at the California Democratic Party’s convention in 2016, Harris spoke of Biden’s family as one that “truly represents our nation’s highest ideals, a powerful belief in the nobility of public service.”

She then praised his father, Joe, saying the then-vice president “has given so much to our country and on top of everything he has accomplished, he gave to us my dear friend, Beau.” Joe Biden later took the stage, calling Harris among the “great friends” he and Beau had in California.

Harris and Beau Biden formed a close friendship during their time as state attorneys general — Harris in California and Biden in Delaware. It was that relationship that drew Harris closer to Joe Biden and has come into focus now that they’re both vying for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Most of the two dozen White House hopefuls have pre-existing friendships from their time on Capitol Hill or other Democratic circles. But few are as complex — and potentially awkward — as the tie between Harris and Joe Biden.

They’ve bonded over their deep love and admiration of Beau Biden and a sadness over his loss that lingers four years after his death

Of course, they did have their differences as she righteously criticized Joe Biden for his views expressed on segregation and busing just as Senator Warren righteously criticized Joe Biden for his bankruptcy bill. Denise Oliver Velez wrote that black women are NOT interchangeable. She writes that

This is fueled by their enthusiasm to see a black woman on the presidential ticket, or holding a position of power in a Joe Biden administration, but black women are not interchangeable. Black women are a proven backbone of the Democratic Party, yet you do us a disservice if you think simply any black woman will do.

A vice president needs to be a person ready to step into the presidency on day one. Harris qualifies. She has both executive and administrative experience as the former attorney general of the nation’s most populous state. She has also worked tirelessly for down-ticket races across the country. There are other black women who fit the vp bill, however, in my opinion, Stacey Abrams, as much as I like the work she is doing with voter registration, is not one of them. I see her name being pushed forward as what looks like a “Kamala alternative,” for garnering the key black vote. There is nothing wrong with either ambition or pragmatism. What has to back it up is experience.

Demings’ lauded performance in the hearings, in and of itself, doesn’t mean she should stand next in line to be POTUS. If you think the vile (and erroneous) memes equating Kamala Harris’ time as attorney general with being a cop were bad—Demings was a cop. She has only been in Congress since January 2017. Demings is not ready to step into the presidency. I look forward to her continued re-election and garnering tenure in the House, and perhaps one dayrunning for the Senate from Florida.

I’ve also seen the name of Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms thrown into the black woman VP pool. Like Abrams and Demings, she is not prepared to take over on day one. Her previous service in Atlanta as a judge and city council member does not meet the qualifications for our presidency.

Of course, there is always the Michelle Obama name. Michelle for President, Michelle for SCOTUS, Michelle for veep. I’ve heard them all. Even the right-wing National Review has gotten into the act.

Others have pushed Stacey Abrams if Senator Warren isn’t chosen and never mentioned Senator Harris.

Former Georgia House Democratic leader Stacey Abrams has been getting some flack lately for “trying too hard,” which is utter bullshit. I’m not sure what’s so wrong with saying, “I’d be great at the job”—she would be! She ties Warren in my estimation as one of the two best choices Biden could make.

Abrams nearly won a governor’s race marred with voting irregularities. (The Republican candidate and current governor was the state’s secretary of state at the time, and used that power to suppress Democratic votes.) Georgia is a swing state at the presidential level and has a bonus TWO Senate seats in play. An Abrams pick would be smart. And her selling herself as a smart pick seems smart to me!

In fact, Abrams might be the safest pick of the lot—she rewards Biden’s Black support while remaining palatable to the party’s left flank. The poll above doesn’t reflect it, mostly having to do with name recognition (which is why Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer does so poorly). But she’d emerge as a popular figure if chosen.

He speaks of a “reward” for “Biden’s Black support” by choosing Abrams simply because she is black despite the fact that the highest level of elected office she has ever held is in the state legislature of Georgia and did NOT mention Senator Kamala Harris at all in the article.  This is the most amazing thing in the world. As Denise wrote, the two are NOT interchangeable and Stacey Abrams is not prepared to step into the presidency on Day One whereas undoubtedly Senator Kamala Harris is. Their elected office experience gap is profound. Promoting Stacey Abrams as a running mate for Joe Biden simply because she is black when she is unqualified and unprepared for the office and a black women who is qualified and prepared for the office on Day One exists is a great insult, as Denise wrote, to black women. So, I will quote her once again:

black women are not interchangeable. Black women are a proven backbone of the Democratic Party, yet you do us a disservice if you think simply any black woman will do. .There are other black women who fit the vp bill, however, in my opinion, Stacey Abrams, as much as I like the work she is doing with voter registration, is not one of them. I see her name being pushed forward as what looks like a “Kamala alternative,” for garnering the key black vote.

 

Stacey Abrams served in the lower house of the Georgia state legislature for ten years and in six of them served as the House minority leader. She ran for governor for Georgia, but lost albeit unfairly. She ran a voter registration drive in Georgia. She is organizing to fight voter suppression in Georgia. This is her experience. Her elected experience, as I mentioned above, is only ten years in the lower house of the Georgia state legislature and six years as the House minority leader. Now, let’s compare that to Senator Kamala Harris’ experience. She was hired as deputy district attorney, then served as an assistant district attorney in San Francisco, and then her elected experience begins. She ran for and won a position as district attorney for San Francisco in which she served from 2004 to 2010. Next, she ran for and won twice an executive branch position as Attorney General for the most populous state in the union which has the sixth-largest economy in the world. She served in this position serving a very diverse state from 2010 to 2016. She, then, ran for and won a position as US Senator from California. Stacey Abrams has no executive experience in government at all. Senator Harris has extensive executive experience in government at a high level, having served as the Attorney General for California from 2010 to 2016. Stacey Abrams has never held or won statewide office. Senator Harris has run for and won three statewide elections representing California. Stacey Abrams has never served in Congress or in the federal government in any capacity whatsoever. Senator Harris has served as US Senator representing California.  Comparing their elected experience, it is clear that Senator Harris is qualified and prepared to serve as president, if needed, on Day One whereas Stacey Abrams is not. Therefore, there is no excuse for pushing Stacey Abrams as the running mate to reward black voters rather than Senator Kamala Harris. As Joe Biden is 77 and will turn 78 when he enters the White House if he wins, then voters will take into account whether or not his running mate is qualified and prepared to serve as president on Day One.

 

It is not as if Senator Harris has a conservative voting record. She has the second most progressive score of all US Senators with a rating of 97.54, second only to Senator Ed Markey who has a rating of 98.13. Senator Harris graduated from Howard University, an HBCU, and joined a black sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha.  Her life experience as a black woman and her work history combine to make her the best choice at this time of racial unrest. She knows better than anybody the reforms needed in law enforcement to bring about racial justice and eliminate the police shooting and killing of unarmed black men. She can strike the perfect balance. Donald Trump is going to run a “law and order” campaign and promote the idea that Democrats want to defund the police, an idea that has only sixteen percent support. Senator Harris’s experience as a district attorney and as attorney general destroys that potential attack. This experience also will make her less scary to moderates in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania that will determine who wins the electoral college.

 

This country is growing more and more diverse. The Republican Party has become the party of racially aggrieved white men. The Democratic Party is becoming increasingly more diverse. The base of the Democratic Party, the demographic that more consistently and loyally votes for Democratic Party candidates, is black women. The demographic group that saved the Biden campaign is black voters. There are huge protests regarding racial injustice in which black men like George Floyd have been killed by white cops. Senator Harris has high-level executive experience in government that Senator Warren does not have and the presidency is an executive branch position. She has qualifications that Senator Warren does not. Moreover, it is long past time to post to choose a black woman when that black woman is more qualified by experience than any other potential running mate because of her combination of executive experience in government and her work as a US Senator in the Congress. It would be a mistake of the first order to choose to put another white northeastern septuagenarian on the ticket when one is already heading it. A black woman has never been on the ticket for either party for president and vice president. This would be the second straight all-white ticket put forward by the Democratic Party after finally having a black president. We would be going backward, not forwards, and at a time of racial unrest. Representative Demings is not yet qualified and any cop reservations would be multiplied with her as she was an actual cop. Susan Rice has never run for nor held elected office.  When voters do not have campaigns in front of them for a position, then polling them is of little use. A poll is only a snapshot of a view held at one point in time. It does not show what the respondents would think months later after having viewed the consequences of the choices. None of the potential running mates has run a campaign in front of the respondents of the polls so that the public can evaluate their ability to serve in such a capacity. Such respondents are unlikely to know the impact of the pick upon polling in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, the states that will determine who will win the electoral college. There are certain things that polls are useless for. Polling regarding gravity is useless. Polling for a running mate is useless. What will the polls look like after the ticket has campaigned for months? How will the ticket work together as a team? How will they complement each other? Polls are mostly now going to tell us who has the greatest name recognition. Performance in the primary clearly should not be the basis for this choice. It was not for President Obama when he picked Vice President Biden. Mayor Pete won one or two states depending upon your view. Bernie Sanders won several states. And Joe Biden won all of the others. No female won any state. Senator Warren did not even win her own home state. Relative to Biden and Bernie, Senator Warren won few delegates and zero states. She, therefore, can hardly credibly be paraded as the obvious choice based upon success in the primary when she won few delegates relative to Biden and Bernie and no states, not even her own. Mayor Pete beat Senator Warren in two states. Senator Harris certainly had her setbacks in the primary such as “Let’s talk about that”, but so did Senator Warren with her multiple Medicare for All presentations and her DNA test. This was a primary with several strong candidates who had established bases of support. Many wanted Senator Warren to run in 2016, but she did not. They were preparing to support her for four years. Joe Biden was a big name from the outset. Senator Bernie Sanders had his cadre of immovable support. Biden took up the moderate lane along with Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Senator Sanders and Senator Warren took up the progressive lane.

Although this cannot be known with complete certainty, I find it likely that Joe Biden, if he wins, will not run for reelection in 2020 due to age. His vice president will have experience that nobody else will have and will be the front runner for the nomination in 2024. Senator Harris would be a strong nominee in 2024.


Stacey Abrams is extremely intelligent, extremely well-educated, and has a great deal of political talent. She has a great future ahead of her. It is my view that with one complete term and at least the beginning of a second term as either governor or US Senator, then she would be a top tier candidate for president and I would be very likely to support her. I don’t dislike her. I do like her. It’s just a little bit early given the extent of her political history. Senator Harris is ready now.

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1 Comment on "NY Times: Senator Kamala Harris emerges as the front-runner for Biden’s team in a short list of six"

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chris whitley
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chris whitley
I believe in Kamala Harris. I think she’s ready to go. There was the debate where she blind sided Joe. That was a little unfair although from seeing them together she has made her amends for it. And with Kamala you get the true black experience. She grew up and went to school when there was bussing just to make it politically correct. And she has worked her way up the ladder. Everyone makes mistakes. What makes it is what you do now. I think both of these people are ready to listen and talk about change. Trump is a… Read more »