Kamala Harris Checks All the Boxes of a VP, But Will She Help Biden Win in November?


On August 11th, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden officially announced his running mate: California senator Kamala Harris. If elected, she will be the first woman, the first Asian-American, and the first Black vice president.

Harris is a Bay Area native; she was born at Kaiser Hospital in Oakland, grew up in Berkeley, and attended Berkeley public schools before moving to Canada at age 12. After graduating college, she returned to the Bay Area to attend law school and began her career as a prosecutor shortly thereafter. In 2004, she won the election for District Attorney of San Francisco and served until 2011, when she became Attorney General of California. She served in that position until 2016, when she was elected to the US Senate, a role she continues to occupy today.

A former presidential candidate herself, Harris was the VP frontrunner in the months leading up to the announcement. Her character, charisma, and experience separated her from other contenders. Moreover, from the perspective of the Biden campaign, bringing gender and racial diversity to the ticket felt necessary in a time when politics is dominated by men and the country is experiencing countless protests for racial justice.

In her acceptance speech, Harris spoke personally about many of America’s most pressing issues, making it clear that in many aspects, she represents the future of the Democratic Party. As a woman of color, she represents the growing diversity of both the party and America as a whole. At 55 years old, she is more than two decades younger than Biden, who will be 78 in November. Additionally, as someone with vast experience in both law and politics, she is clearly qualified to serve in the White House.

Nevertheless, Harris has her flaws. Her presidential campaign underwhelmed; after briefly being considered a front runner, she was forced to drop out of the race, but not before attacking Biden for his record on segregated school bussing, an issue that directly affected her as a child, in a June 2019 debate. To some, she may seem hypocritical, as she is now teaming up with the same man she so vehemently criticized.

Harris is also somewhat unpopular among progressives, a group whose support is important to Biden. Many progressives are dissatisfied with Biden, and he had the option to choose a more left-wing VP to unify moderates and progressives. Instead, he chose Harris. While she is somewhat progressive, she has been criticized for her record as California’s Attorney General, with critics arguing that she fought to criminalize parents of truant children and failed to take action on wrongful convictions. If Biden truly wanted to pander to the left, he would not have selected Harris, and in his decision, he showed where his priorities truly lie. 

Overall, Kamala Harris brings a vast amount of knowledge, experience, and diversity to the Democratic ticket. By choosing her, Biden certainly made the obvious choice, but was it the right one? Only time will tell.