By Washington Osiro,
The two primary tickets for the November 3, 2020, US Presidential Elections are set.
On the right is the incumbent ticket of Republicans Donald Trump and Mike Pence. The two men will be facing the Democratic ticket of former Obama vice-president Joe Biden and California’s “Junior” Senator and its former State Attorney-General Kamala Harris.
As written in an earlier piece, the Trump/Pence ticket is now a known quantity, and importantly, the duo has struggled to manage the single-most significant crisis of my lifetime – the COVID-19 pandemic. They have also lost the one ace they had going into the campaign – a strong economy. Finally, Trump and Pence have mishandled the racially-tinged domestic disturbances that have inflamed major cities across the country.
Not to toot my horn, but back in the days when I contributed a steady stream of articles for a now-defunct wall on Facebook, I picked the Democratic ticket of Biden/Harris and in a subsequent piece, also for the wall, I wrote that while I “liked” Kamala Harris, her campaign was “struggling” to gain traction and keep pace with the four leading candidates at the time: Biden, Warren, Sanders, and Buttigieg. Harris eventually dropped out of the race but not before she took apart US Attorney General William Barr during the May 1 Senate hearing on the Mueller Report and stumped Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings.
Both displays illustrated what happens when hard work, intellect, and preparation meets entitlement and patriarchy. Incidentally, this was the same tenacity and methodical style Harris used to pick apart Joe Biden’s record on civil rights, i.e., busing and segregation during the June 27, 2019, primary debate in Miami, Florida and set the stage for the seminal decision on August 11, 2020.
This is a race where the debates – at the top of the ticket and of their deputies – will both be must-see-TV: Will Trump expose the “low energy” octogenarian “Sleepy Joe,” or will the prosecutorial steadiness of Kamala ruffle the usually unflappable monotonic former Governor of Indiana, Pence? The Commission on Presidential Debates has scheduled the debates between September 29 and October 22, 2020. Tentatively, the first presidential debate is scheduled for September 29 at Ohio’s Case Western Reserve University. Pence and Kamala meet on Wednesday, October 7, 2020, at the University of Utah, and finally, the two men atop either ticket square off again on Thursday, October 15, 2020, in Miami.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus has upended all these debates, so I am curious to see how the usually rancorous affairs are affected by the public health protocol, mainly social spacing, and masking.
Kamala Harris has some explaining to do for some decisions she made during her time as California’s State Attorney-General and San Francisco’s District Attorney. However, questions remain whether the transformational and transcending nature of her nomination will overshadow some of the decisions she made as the chief law enforcement officer of the nation’s most influential, wealthiest, and most diverse state and of San Francisco – the most liberal city in the union.
Aside from her affair with Willie Brown, the influential former Mayor of San Francisco and former Speaker of California’s State Assembly, Senator Harris is not only poised to be a heartbeat away from the US Presidency, she is positioned to be a front-runner as the Democratic Party looks towards 2024 given Joe Biden’s age. There are whispers that the 77-year-old Biden might be a one-term president – who will then hand over the reins after his first term – if he wins this coming November – to his veep – in this case, Kamala Harris. Notwithstanding, in one fell swoop, Joe Biden has positioned the same Democratic Party that gave America its first non-white male president to give her its first female vice president and potentially her first female president – a “sista” at that.
There is also the school of thought that posits that Americans do not vote for a vice president; they vote for a president. While there is some truth to this adage, three events converged to make the choice of Harris the master-stroke that it appears to be. For starters, the American electorate is changing, and markedly so. It is becoming more diverse; less white. Additionally, the margin of Hillary Clinton’s loss in 2016, combined with the voting pattern the Democrats saw during the 2018 Mid-Term Elections, only made Biden’s commitment to pick a woman, a black one at that, as his running mate, a foregone conclusion.
Finally, marking a sharp contrast from the vindictive and vengeful nature of most political rivalries and harkening back to Barack Obama’s “Team of Rivals,” Joe Biden’s choice embodied the adage that politics is less about friends and enemies and more about mutual interests. It is also a choice that is as seemingly gracious as it is in sharp contrast to how his opponent deals with opponents or dissent. Aside from being a graduate of two top-tiered colleges – the historically black (HBCU) Howard University and UC San Francisco’s Hastings School of Law – Biden selected Harris because he reportedly does not hold grudges. In so doing, the former VP set aside the heartfelt, personal, and stinging upbraiding he received at the hands of Harris during the June 27, 2019, primary debate in Miami, Florida, and selected her as his running mate.
Joe Biden chose Kamala Harris because she is, in my opinion, a female version of Barack Obama – an intelligent, photogenic, media-savvy, and ideological centrist bi-racial public servant in an America that is fast-browning.
November 3, 2020 cannot come soon enough!