Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has made history with his selection of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California to be his running mate.
But this pick is about more than the symbolism of choosing the first Black woman for a presidential ticket, though that can be expected to further galvanize both Black and female voters.
Harris is an accomplished politician with a formidable résumé. She is a former California attorney general and former district attorney, an advantage during a campaign in which Republicans hope to run on a law-and-order ticket. That said, Harris and Biden will have to navigate some tricky waters with their base, highlighting their intent to tackle systemic racism in the criminal justice system.
Harris also is the daughter of immigrant parents, from Jamaica and India, giving this ticket a strong stake in the immigration debate, where President Donald Trump hopes to appeal to nativists.
Some may be surprised that Biden would choose the one candidate who hurt him significantly in an early presidential debate. Few who witnessed it could forget the power of the moment where Harris reminded Biden that he was on the wrong side of the busing debate back in the 1970s. But that directness may have been precisely what appealed to Biden.
Unlike some of the other potential candidates he had to choose from, Harris has been tested in a presidential arena and has shown a deft fighter’s instinct in a live debate. That’s no small skill. Her selection also demonstrates that Biden is confident enough to choose a fierce competitor, and the visual of two former rivals joining forces will appeal to many. Less well known is that Harris and Biden’s late son Beau Biden were attorneys general of their respective states at the same time and worked together on issues, giving the former vice president a more personal window into her character.
Perhaps most important, though, in a race where the presumptive nominee would be 78 by the time he took office, Harris is a relatively young, vigorous, sharply intellectual presence whom Democrats can see as ready to step in should that need arise.
— The Star Tribune (Minneapolis) Editorial Board.