Kamala Harris is the Smart Pick for VP – Liberal Article
By choosing Kamala Harris as his running mate, Joe Biden has proven once again that he has better judgment than Donald Trump.
Her sharp mind and relative youth will bring on board some much-needed charisma whilst simultaneously shaping the future of the Democrats in a way that promotes rising talent and champions electability.
Here are five reasons why I think Harris is the smart pick for VP:
1. She is a seasoned professional with experience in government.
There’s little doubt that Harris is qualified to be VP. Although, that’s not to say that other candidates rumoured to be on Biden’s shortlist couldn’t also lay claim to that credential. But Harris is clearly a seasoned professional.
She has served as US Senator from California since 2017 and was also previously Attorney General of California and District Attorney of San Francisco. Her reputation for political savvy and competence inside the beltway is well-established.
This is hugely important as, given Biden’s age (he is 78 to Harris’s 55), the ability to take over as President has taken on greater importance in this year’s election. Harris’s CV makes it hard for Trump to criticise her as unfit for being a ‘heartbeat away’ from the Oval Office.
2. She provides the diversity that Biden needs.
It’s safe to say that Biden doesn’t really look like the Democratic Party of 2020, which is young and ethnically diverse. It was increasingly obvious that Biden needed to find someone younger and, well, less white to have a ticket that reflects the demographic of the people who will vote for it.
Harris, whose father was Jamaican and mother came from India, fits the bill.
She becomes both the first Black woman and the first Asian person to run on a major party presidential ticket. And, at 55 years old, she represents a younger generation of leaders, something that Biden said was a major factor in his choice.
3. Harris will bring the black vote.
Biden’s choice of Harris as his running mate signals one thing: he believes that Black voters are the key to his chances of winning. While he is certain to win upwards of 90% of the Black vote, the more pressing issue is Black voter participation.
Harris is best suited to increase the number of Black voters who will turn out for the election.
If she can help rebound Black turnout, which dropped seven points from 2012 to 2016, then Biden will be able to carry the states that Clinton lost by narrow margins (Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania). And, in choosing Harris, Biden may also be more competitive in purple and red states like Florida, North Carolina and maybe even Georgia.
4. She is an attack dog.
One of the traditional roles of a VP running mate is to get down and dirty with the opposition. While the person at the top of the ticket takes the high road, the number-two cracks out the brass knuckles for the opposition.
If this is a duty that falls on Harris, history suggests she will be up to the task.
As a former prosecutor, Harris is known as a fierce interrogator on Capitol Hill and has proven herself to be a sharp-edged debater. Biden knows this too well. He famously was her target in the first primary debate 15 months ago, when she confronted him over his position on mandatory school busing.
Harris has also proven to be a very determined and aggressive interrogator during her time in the US Senate. Trump clearly remembers this, claiming once that Harris was “extraordinarily nasty” to his second Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.
Trump may not like it, but nasty may be exactly what Biden is looking for.
5. She’s already been vetted on the national stage.
Politicians who have run for national office have said time and time again that it’s impossible to understand the pressure such campaigns create until you’ve actually gone through one.
Although Harris’s 2020 presidential bid was unsuccessful, she still knows what it’s like to be under such scrutiny. When she launched her campaign in January 2019, she was treated like a top-tier presidential contender. Harris has been through the fire and knows what it feels like. If there were serious skeletons in her closet, they would have come out by now.
So, the California senator may not have been the most dynamic candidate on the campaign trail, but at this point, she’s a known entity. And, for Biden, who is currently up in the polls, the fewer surprises the rest of the campaign brings, the better.
In my opinion, there was no one else on Biden’s VP shortlist that checked so many boxes.
Written by Junior Liberal writer, Libby Gilbert
Point of Information
Harris may be the ‘smart’ choice, doesn’t mean I like it – A Labour Response
Whilst I agree with everything Libby has said, it doesn’t mean I like it. Harris does fit the bill of a ‘smart’ choice for Biden’s VP; ‘smart’ in the sense that she’ll adequately balance the ballot.
But I say – like most things in politics – it is the manipulative thing to do. Like Obama, Biden is simply balancing the ballot. He is desperately trying to appeal to the centrist swing voters that lost the Democrats the last election. However, in the process, he is dragging the Democrat platform way further right. Whilst it may be good for electioneering, it’s not any good for meaningful policy reform; something Harris claims to be oh-so committed to.
To me, Harris stands for everything I dislike in Biden. They’re both staunch centrists trying to get the best of both worlds; presenting themselves as progressive to liberal voters whilst having conservative policies for their more right-leaning supporters. This encompassed Harris’ presidential campaign; her being seen as a “progressive prosecutor”, whilst she actually enacted harsh ‘tough-on-crime’ policies.
Her time in office as district attorney and attorney general were deeply harmful for the communities of colour she claims to represent. She was renowned for siding with police on all matters, failing to hold both police and prosecutors accountable for misconduct.
In 2014, she was lobbied to investigate the Orange County “Snitch” scandal (it was revealed prosecutors and deputies were misusing jailhouse informants and violating inmates’ rights to gain illegal confessions). She refused.
A few months later, she laughed at the suggestion of legalising marijuana. A drug for which many people were in jail because of her. Now, she vows to decriminalise it.
In 2015, she was asked by the Legislative Black Caucus to stand with them in support of a bill that mandated police officers to wear body cameras. She declined. They again asked her to support an investigation into lethal officer-shootings. She declined.
The list could go on. There is a just such a disconnect between selecting a controversially pro-police candidate for the ‘black vote’ in the midst of protests against systemic police abuse, to which Harris directly contributed.
Call me a cynic but, in my opinion, Harris is a mediocre candidate for any position. Yes, she is probably the most likely one to help Biden beat Trump. But, when running against the buffoon that is Trump, I sympathise with those who simply want the least-bad candidate. And that is all the Biden and Harris ballot is: not worse than Trump.
Written by Senior Labour Writer, Abi Smuts
Can she make up for her questionable past? – A Conservative Response
While my colleague Libby lists some interesting reasons as to why Senator Kamala Harris is a good pick, I must respectfully disagree with her. Here’s why.
Senator Harris is certainly a well-respected politician with a lengthy and impressive career. Moreover, she helped pave a path for other women of colour to enter into the world of politics. She is also the first woman of colour to be nominated as a Vice Presidential candidate of a major party.
On paper, Senator Harris proves to be a solid choice for the Democrats and definitely helps boost the lacklustre presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden is.
But my main issue with Senator Harris is her questionable past during her time as district attorney in California. As my Labour colleague states, during her time as a prosecutor, the African American community in California suffered the most as a result of her inability to support efforts to enact criminal justice reforms. She was consistently either indifferent or even fought against them.
Senator Harris even worked hard to uphold wrongful convictions. Even when she was fully aware that there had been serious misconduct from the justice system. Whether it was evidence tampering; false testimonies; or the suppression of very important information; she turned a blind eye and allowed extreme injustices to occur.
Another issue that doesn’t sit right with me is the assertion that Senator Harris will “bring in the black vote”. This may certainly be true and, obviously, it would be a wise decision for the African American community to vote for the Biden-Harris ticket. However, it once again shows the Democratic party’s tendency to take the black vote for granted. An example of this would be to look back at President Obama’s eight years in office, under which the nation-wide situation for African Americans worsened.
During his time as President, nearly 28% of African Americans lived in poverty, compared to just 10% for white citizens. Coupled with draconic deportation policies, the Democratic Party under Obama failed to improve the living situation for African Americans. What’s to say that the situation will get any better under a Biden-Harris presidency when Senator Harris has already proven herself to be a major issue for the African American community.
Unfortunately, as my colleague Abi puts it, the Democratic ticket seems to be the lesser of two evils. The Trump-Pence ticket would certainly not do any better helping minority communities. But, in their defence, Trump and Pence aren’t running off a platform pandering to minority communities, unlike Biden and Harris. Their priorities are unfortunately elsewhere.
Come 3 November, the American people will have a say in how these next four years will look. I myself quite impatiently look forward to 2024, and hopefully new beginnings for both parties.
Written by Junior Conservative Writer, Sebastian Calcopietro
Hello! My name is Libby Gilbert, and I am a third-year undergraduate studying Politics at the University of Exeter. From a young age, I have been passionate about all things political, getting myself into many a controversial conversation that I wish I’d never started.
Hi, I’m Abi, a final year at Uni of Exeter studying International Relations and English. To me, it was only in A Levels that I realised how important politics was, when I was stuck in my male-only, extremely conservative Politics class having to constantly justify and defend my opinions to them.