On Tuesday, August 11, Sen. Kamala Harris became the first Black woman to be nominated as a running mate on a major party ticket and the first person of Indian descent to be nominated as a running mate on a major party ticket.
It’s a fitting accomplishment for a woman who has been a trailblazer in almost every aspect of her career.
A child of immigrants from India and Jamaica, Harris was the first Black female Attorney General for the state of California and is currently the second Black woman and first South-Asian American to hold a seat in the United States Senate. She would also be the first woman Vice President.
Born and raised in California, she started kindergarten during the second year of Berkeley’s desegregation bussing programs. Harris went to Howard University for her undergraduate degree before attending University of California, Hastings College of The Law. After graduating law school, Harris devoted her law career to public service.
Harris’ younger sister, Maya Harris, is an established lawyer and public policy advocate who served as a senior policy advisor for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. Her niece, Meena, is a Harvard-educated lawyer who founded Phenomenal and Phenomenal Media, a platform elevating and celebrating women of color. All of this is just to say: the level of Harris women brainpower about to descend on the Eisenhower building in D.C. is truly more than we deserve.
Kamala Harris has a strong background in criminal justice issues. As San Francisco’s District Attorney, she was a vocal opponent of the death penalty and started a program called “Back on Track.” This initiative, launched in 2005, allowed first-time drug offenders to opt to get a high school diploma and job instead of prison time.
After serving as DA, Harris was elected in 2011 to be California’s Attorney General. In this position, she expanded her “Back on Track” program, mandated training to address racial bias, and, under her, the California Department of Justice became the first statewide agency to require body cameras. Additionally, she launched a program called OpenJustice, a data bank that highlights criminal justice initiatives and gave the public the ability to track police killings.
In the Senate, Kamala Harris serves on the Judiciary Committee, where she has famously roasted all manner of mediocre white men, from Attorney General Bill Barr to Justice Brett Kavanaugh. She’s a member of. the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues. She sponsored the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act, which passed the Senate but remains in the House.
In the wake of ongoing anti-racist protests around the country, Harris’ history of criminal justice policy is especially important to the ticket. Though Harris’ prosecutorial record raises alarms for those who want to reform the criminal justice system she helped oversee, Biden choosing Harris as a running mate hopefully is a sign of his understanding of the importance of Black and female voices in his administration. She also has a strong prosecutorial background which was made evident in several confirmation hearings during her term – including Brett Kavanaugh’s.
I, for one, literally cannot wait to cast my vote for Biden and Harris. In the meantime, I’ll be tuning in to watch her take on Pence in the Vice Presidential Debate on October 7.
Welp, after a truly wild primary season that started with approx. 666 thousand candidates of various backgrounds in the running, we have narrowed our option down to the old, white, Christian dude. What a breath of fresh air!
No matter your opinion on the man, Joe Biden is very likely to be the Democratic nominee for the 2020 presidential race, and humanity will be in much better shape if he beats Donald Trump. The good news is, Biden still has the opportunity to pick an exciting running mate.
Biden has already promised that he would be picking a woman as is vice-presidential nominee, both as a concession to disappointed progressives and to balance out his relentless straight-white–cis-maleness. Picks are typically announced around late June or July in the run-up to the Democratic National Convention (postponed to August this year), but given the extraordinary times and a campaign that could use a real shot of enthusiasm, we wouldn’t be surprised if the second name on the ticket drops sooner than expected.
Here are some amazing women on the shortlist:
Harris and Biden may have butted heads during the primary debates, but that’s all in the past. Harris was quick to endorse Biden early on, sparking early theories that she may top his VP shortlist. The California senator and former attorney general has name recognition, experience, and brings diversity to the table.
Plus, while she’s seen as a somewhat progressive pick, a lot of her politics are actually pretty moderate. For Biden, she could be the best of both worlds. Biden ran on being able to secure the Black vote during the primary, and having Harris as his VP could help him solidify that same strategy in the general election. Plus, Harris had a close friendship with Biden’s late son Beau — the two worked together frequently as attorneys. general.
And let’s be real, she’d add a much needed ~cool~ factor to Biden’s, uh, pretty straight edge image.
Liz! Liz! Liz! Warren and Biden certainly disagree on some things, but this could actually work in their favor. Warren is seen as a progressive, and Biden is seen as a moderate/centrist. If Biden wants to bring in Dems who are further on the Left, picking Warren as his VP could be a smart move. Plus, she has a plan for everything, and could be a very effective VP. Also, after endorsing Biden with a video, Warren told Rachel Maddow that she would say “yes,” to the question of whether or not she would accept the role of VP from Biden.
Judging by the complete lack of hesitation in her answer, it seems like something maybe she had already thought about. Makes ya think…
Abrams gained national attention in 2018 when she ran against Brian Kemp for the seat of governor in Georgia. The election was pretty controversial, since Kemp was Secretary of State at the time, meaning he got to oversee an election he was running in, something one could call a conflict of interest. Kemp ended up winning by a small number of votes, but that’s a whole other story. Abrams caught the attention of many Americans as she came close defeating Kemp in the red state of Georgia. She’s a captivating candidate, and she is a woman of color, which would, again, help with Biden’s saltine cracker image.
Klobuchar was quick to drop out of the race and endorse Biden back when Bernie was the frontrunner, making us wonder if she is working to get that VP spot. She and Biden also make sense as a team. They’re both moderates, yet they appeal to different demographics. Klobuchar has that Midwest vibe that does well with…Midwesterners, and liberal women across the country. She’s got a real moderate feminist energy, which appeals to white moms, AKA a big part of the voting pool. She’s well-liked amongst Dems, and people seem to enjoy her performances at debates. Especially her one liners that I am convinced she learned how to formulate at a $400 week long stand up comedy class at Caroline’s on Broadway.
Who? You may not recognize Whitmer’s name right away, but she has been in the news a lot lately. As the current governor of Michigan, she is receiving some criticism for her very strict measures for combatting COVID-19. People are pissed tf off about it, but as the saying goes…all press is good press. Plus, the main people she is pissing off are Republicans, so it could potentially gaining her some brownie points with Dems. She is def establishing herself as a woman in power who stands her ground, and there’s something to be said for that.
WILDCARD: Michelle Obama
Truly the only thing that could save 2020. And it’s not just pundits and stans fantasizing over a Michelle Obama vice presidency — the Bidens can’t resist the idea either.
“I’d love it if Michelle [Obama] would agree to it. I think she's had it with politics. She's so good at everything she does. That would be wonderful,” @DrBiden says when asked if the former first lady would consider being Joe Biden’s running mate. https://t.co/tAOTzVqh4T pic.twitter.com/DShgiFmj9D
— New Day (@NewDay) April 24, 2020
Jill Biden, wife of the presumptive Democratic nominee, said she would “love to see” former First Lady Michelle Obama join her husband’s ticket if she would agree to it. The former Vice President himself said he’d appoint Obama “in a heartbeat” but that he doesn’t “think she has any desire to live near the White House again.”
Well if Joe Biden doesn’t pick a woman, after all, it’s safe to say I have no desire to live near America again.
Images: Getty; Giphy