On The Choice - Biden/Harris 2020
Prior to yesterday’s announcement that Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) would be Joe Biden’s VP pick, I was apprehensive for days about what might be going on inside the Presidential Campaign Bubble. Decision-making processes can get warped in such enclosed, high-stakes environments. Would the campaign somehow convince itself that it had to make a choice that would be greeted by a collective “huh?” or “WTF?” once made? Would one candidate rush to the top without being 100% vetted? Would the announcement itself run into some sort of unforeseen complications, costing the campaign the benefit of a highly favorable news day?
Yet here we stand on Day Two…so far, so good. Overwhelmingly, the party and its activists seem to be embracing the pick.
I’ve heard two primary criticisms thus far. But these have been faint voices. They are as follows:
“Biden could have selected someone from and of the Left, to fire up the progressive base and ensure representation on the ticket from someone who genuinely shares their beliefs on issues such as Medicare for All.”
I would contend, bearing in the mind the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party (a wholly owned subsidiary of the Trump Death Cult), that the progressive wing of the Democratic Party is sufficiently energized for the General Election. Yes, there are measures which purport to show that Senator Harris is as liberal (if not more so) than Senator Bernie Sanders (!?), if you are inclined to search for evidence of her ideological bona fides. Yet who has the national stature on the Left to be a high up-side/low down-side political and governing pick? I love Nina Turner, the Squad, and Congresswomen such as Karen Bass and Barbara Lee and I would have rejoiced in such a selection, but from a sheer brass tacks perspective, I recognize that any such ticket would involve a higher degree of risk and the party – as it stands now – is risk-averse in the laser-focused pursuit to defeat Trump and Trumpism. Which is not to say that we should not take risks. And I detest making “pragmatic” arguments as so many establishment hacks love articulating such “conventional wisdom” viewpoints on television and in the newspapers. But looking at the-world-the-way-it-is, there simply was no Left potential VP with better credentials than Senator Harris. Our time will come, and it will come soon (AOC is eligible in 2024). In the meantime, we will have to influence from within and without, the policy agenda of the next Administration and Congress. We can do with a President Biden, not with a President Trump.
“What counts is the electoral map, we already have California. Biden should have gone with someone from a swing-state, like Michigan or Wisconsin or Florida.”
You heard this argument from folks making the case for Whitmer or Baldwin. It’s a fair yet singularly short-sighted point.
Senator Harris, given her Black and Indian heritage and membership in various service-oriented organizations (Alpha Kappa Alpha and The Links to name two), is capable of activating a nationwide network of media and policy attentive supporters who will contribute their time, energy, and financial resources to help ensure the election of the Biden-Harris ticket. She can fire up key voting populations in the aforementioned Michigan, Wisconsin, and Florida…as well as Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, etc…
I would argue that being able to energize voters in multiple swing states is a better route to 270 than someone perceived to be more of a “one-state” play.
Furthermore, she is already a part of the national conversation. She is not a relative unknown, compared to some of the other possibilities. This familiarity should help build confidence in the ticket, since you are starting further along on the “B.A.S.I.C.” model of communications. (Build Awareness, Advance Knowledge, Sustain Relevance, Initiate Action, and Create Advocacy). The educational curve would have been much higher with other options. This will also help in Blue as well as Purple states.
In short, as much as I enjoy being a critic, Senator Harris is a strong choice and seemingly the right choice for 2020.