Kamala Harris for VP

I am going to support and vote for Joe Biden no matter who is VP selection is. I mean, face it, there isn’t that much choice. Even so, I think that there is one overall best choice, and that is Kamala Harris.

One of the reasons that I say this is that she is not actively campaigning for the job. Consistently, she has been focusing on her current job and showing herself to be a good team member, starting with her endorsement of Biden as she wound down her campaign

Since then, she has continued to be a strong advocate for Biden, including this appearance at a Michigan rally in early March.

In addition, she has been focusing her work in the Senate on two of the major issues facing the country right now, addressing racial disparities in the impact of Covid-19 and police reform. While working on both issues, Harris has been building coalitions and introducing legislation. While it is unlikely that anything proposed by Harris will pass the Republican led Senate (and even less likely that Trump would sign anything) Harris is helping to keep the issues front and center, and working toward solutions.

There have been a bunch of articles promoting Harris as the best choice. Michael A. Cohen in the Boston Globe talks about some of the traits that make Harris the best choice

Harris’s political skills and experience on the state and national political stages make her a strong vice presidential contender, but what solidifies her case is that the person at the head of the ticket is an older, white male in a party that is trending in the opposite direction. Biden has already pledged to pick a woman as his running mate, and since he is 77, it is important that he selects someone who is younger and who will be viewed as able to take over the job.

Francis Wilkinson at Bloomberg advises Biden to follow the example of Obama, when the former President chose his “Regular Joe” as his VP, and find someone who will buttress his political weakness. Enter Harris

The daughter of immigrants, a Jamaican father and an Indian mother, Harris is a youthful and energetic 55 (if not quite as youthful and energetic as Warren’s 70).  Some progressives don’t like her record as a prosecutor. But they don’t like Biden’s criminal justice record, either, so the added cost is negligible. And both records will be useful armor when a Biden White House pushes criminal justice reform.

Harris has executive experience as Attorney General in California, and experience on the national stage, both as a Senator and as a candidate for the Democratic Nomination. Of course both of these parts of her record are somewhat problematic. Her presidential campaign was not particularly inspiring, and her record as prosecutor and AG was mixed. Let’s look at these two.

In the Democratic primary, voters were focused on one question. “Who had the best shot at beating Trump?” With Biden, Warren, and Sanders already having significant committed support, Harris was always a long shot. Still, in her campaign, she did show that she could be an effective debater, even if the even if the best punch she landed was against Biden. Yeah, that stung, but Biden has been around long enough (at least) to know that in a campaign, these things happen, and it looks like everyone is over it.

The second question is a little more difficult and nuanced. German Lopez wrote about Harris’s record at Vox.

A close examination of Harris’s record shows it’s filled with contradictions. She pushed for programs that helped people find jobs instead of putting them in prison, but also fought to keep people in prison even after they were proved innocent. She refused to pursue the death penalty against a man who killed a police officer, but also defended California’s death penalty system in court. She implemented training programs to address police officers’ racial biases, but also resisted calls to get her office to investigate certain police shooti

But what seem like contradictions may reflect a balancing act. Harris’s parents worked on civil rights causes, and she came from a background well aware of the excesses of the criminal justice system — but in office, she had to play the role of a prosecutor and California’s lawyer. She started in an era when “tough on crime” politics were popular across party lines — but she rose to national prominence as criminal justice reform started to take off nationally.

Harris seems to have learned from the experience, and seems to have taken the criticism to heart. As a Senator she has become a major advocate for criminal justice reform, and it seems that she learned from her experience hand has taken the criticism to heart.

“The bottom line is the buck stops with me and I take full responsibility for what my office did,”

Those are refreshing words, especially in an era when “I don’t take responsibility” is a far to common statement.

Susan Matthews puts the choice of Harris as VP into a broader context

Kamala Harris has achieved the ideal stature for serving as vice president, a job that is not as big of a deal as everyone is making it out to be right now. Her elevation to the office would be neither above her nor beneath her, and it would neither put strain on a Biden administration nor weaken her party’s overall political position.

Wilkinson makes the closing argument with an eye to 2024 and beyond

Harris’s face is the future of the Democratic Party, and of the nation, just as Biden is the face of receding power. She complements and strengthens him. She can be Biden’s Biden.

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