Kamala Harris has been named as Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s running mate in the US presidential election. Harris, the first black woman to ever be chosen for such a role, will be the USA’s Vice-President if Biden is elected President in November.
Biden is the third presidential candidate in over 200 years to choose a woman as his running partner. 1984’s Democratic candidate Walter Mondale ran alongside Geraldine Ferraro, and Republican John McCain selected Sarah Palin as his deputy when he stood against Obama in 2008. Harris would be the first woman to ever successfully secure the position if the Democrats win this election.
Kamala Devi Harris has a long list of qualifications. She is a second-generation immigrant to the US, after her father emigrated from Jamaica and her mother from India. Throughout her career as a lawyer and a politician, she’s focussed on standing up for the rights of marginalised groups such as child sexual assault victims and first-time drug offenders.
She became District Attorney for San Francisco in 2003, and was first elected Attorney General for California in 2010. She began her political career when she elected as the third ever female senator for California in 2016, becoming the second African-American woman and the first South Asian American woman to sit in the US Senate.
During her career thus far, she has helped campaign for Obamacare, win equal marriage rights for all Americans, and defended climate change laws. As Senator, she increased the minimum wage to $15, and promoted the rights of refugees and immigrants.
Harris has been continuously critical of Trump’s policies and leadership, especially his response to the Covid-19 pandemic. For his part, Trump has labelled her as ‘mean’ and ‘nasty’, but, unfazed, she has responded by mercilessly attacking all the faults on his White House Record.
In one of her first speeches as Biden’s running mate, she condemned Trump: ‘The President’s mismanagement of the pandemic has plunged us into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and we’re experiencing a moral reckoning with racism and systemic injustice that has brought a new coalition of conscience to the streets of our country demanding change’.
She has made it plain that a Biden-Harris leadership would promote the interests of working- and middle-class Americans, as opposed to prioritising the elite, including the President’s own mega-rich family, as Trump’s economy has seemed to do.
Biden has praised Harris as a ‘woman of the people’, saying that she ‘knows personally how immigrant families enrich our country’, asserting that ‘her story is America’s story’. It would certainly be ground-breaking if someone so systematically disadvantaged by male-centric, white-centric American society could become one of its key leaders.