Twitter Followers: 12.3M
Senate, United States Senate (2017 - Present)
California U.S. Senate, Jr (? - Present)
To be claimed
Kamala Devi Harris (b. October 20, 1964, in Oakland, California) is a Democratic member of the U.S. Senate from California. Harris was first elected to the Senate in 2016. She became the second Black woman elected to the U.S. Senate and the first Indian American to serve in the chamber.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden announced Harris was his running mate on August 11, 2020. He called her "a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants." Harris is the first Black woman to appear on a major party's ticket in the United States.
Harris previously ran for president of the United States, entering the race on January 21, 2019. She suspended her presidential campaign on December 3, 2019, and endorsed Biden on March 8, 2020.
Harris is the former attorney general of California. She served in the position from 2011 to 2017. She also served as San Francisco's district attorney from 2004 to 2011.
On October 2, 2020, Harris announced that she and her husband tested negative for coronavirus hours after President Donald Trump (R) announced he had tested positive for the virus. for more information on political figures impacted by coronavirus.
Harris was born in Oakland, California, in 1964. She graduated from Howard University with a degree in political science and economics in 1986 and earned her law degree from Hastings College in 1989.
After graduating from law school, Harris joined the office of the Alameda County district attorney, where she worked for eight years as a prosecutor. In 1998, Harris was hired as managing attorney for the San Francisco District Attorney's Career Criminal Unit. She transferred to head the Division on Families and Children in 2000. In 2003, Harris was elected San Francisco District Attorney. She won re-election in 2007.
In 2010, Harris defeated Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley (R) to win election as state attorney general, receiving 46% of the vote to Cooley's 45%. She won re-election in 2014 over attorney Ronald Gold (R) with 56% of the vote. In 2016, Harris defeated Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D) to win election to the U.S. Senate seat held by Barbara Boxer (D). She received 62% of the vote to Sanchez's 38%.
In 2009, Harris authored Smart on Crime: A Career Prosecutor's Plan to Make Us Safer, where she discussed potential changes to the criminal justice system. She wrote The Truths We Hold: An American Journey, a memoir, and Superheroes Are Everywhere, a picture book, in 2018.
Below is an abbreviated outline of Harris' academic, professional, and political career:
Former Member, Environment and Public Works Committee, United States Senate
Former Member, Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts, United States Senate
Former Member, Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, United States Senate
Former Member, Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, United States Senate
Former Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight, United States Senate
Former Member, Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security, United States Senate
Member, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Member, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations
Member, Select Committee on Intelligence
Member, Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management
Member, Subcommittee on Intellectual Property
Member, Subcommittee on The Constitution
Top 100 Lawyers in California,
— Father's Name:
The Kite Runner, Dreams From My Father, The Joy Luck Club, and Native Son
Logan, Black Panther, Steel Magnolias, A Star is Born, My Cousin Vinny, Wonder Woman, Antwone Fisher, Ratatouille, Dark Knight
"You may be the first to do many things, but make sure you are not the last."
- my mother, Shyamala G. Harris
Favorite TV Shows:
24, American Idol, anything on CNN, Baldwin Hills, 60 minutes, The Wire, Saturday Night Live, and VH1's Best Week Ever
Favorite Type of Music:
A Tribe Called Quest, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Prince, Elton John, Too Short, John Legend, Raphael Saadiq, Ravi Shankar, Kendrick Lamar, Migos, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Carlos Santana, Miriam Makeba, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Maroon 5, The Jackson 5, Nina Simone
Hobbies or Special Talents:
Cooking, music, Farmer's Markets, movies, Sunday family dinners, spending time with my niece, and actually reading the entire Sunday New York Times on Sunday
— Mother's Name:
Do you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
1. In order to balance the budget, do you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket?
2. Do you support expanding federal funding to support entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare?
Do you support requiring states to adopt federal education standards?
- Unknown Position
1. Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions?
2. Do you support government funding for the development of renewable energy (e.g. solar, wind, geo-thermal)?
Do you generally support gun-control legislation?
Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")?
Do you support the regulation of indirect campaign contributions from corporations and unions?
1. Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
2. Do you support lowering corporate taxes as a means of promoting economic growth?
1. Do you support the construction of a wall along the Mexican border?
2. Do you support requiring immigrants who are unlawfully present to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship?
1. Should the United States use military force to prevent governments hostile to the U.S. from possessing a weapon of mass destruction (for example: nuclear, biological, chemical)?
2. Do you support reducing military intervention in Middle East conflicts?
Would you commit to the full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of your first term, or would you require certain conditions be met before doing so?
- As I have said many times, this war in Afghanistan must come to an end. I was honored to visit with our brave troops and national security professionals there last year, and I’ll do everything in my power to achieve a political solution – if one hasn’t been reached already – that allows us to bring them home responsibly in my first term.
Nobody can predict what President Trump will do between now and 2021, so as soon as I take office, I will bring together our military leaders, national security advisers, and top diplomats to coordinate and implement that withdrawal plan. I fully recognize the importance of diplomacy and development to success in Afghanistan, and I want to ensure that the country is on a path to stability, that we protect the gains that have been made for Afghan women and others, and that it never again becomes a safe haven for terrorists.
1. Under what circumstances, if any, would you support the United States joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), formerly the Trans-Pacific Partnership?
- As I’ve long said, I will oppose any trade deal that doesn't look out for the best interests of American workers and raise environmental standards, and unfortunately the TPP didn’t pass either test. I also raised concerns at the time about the lack of transparency in the process.
In my administration, labor and civil society groups will always have a seat at the table to ensure that trade agreements do achieve these important objectives. And I think that’s exactly what we need – pro-labor, pro-environment trade deals – because it’s clear Donald Trump’s protectionist approach has been a disaster. His trade war is crushing American farmers, killing American jobs, and punishing American consumers. I would work with our allies in Europe and Asia to confront China on its troubling trade practices, not perpetuate Trump’s failing tariff war that is being paid for by hard-working Americans.
2. Do you generally support removing barriers to international trade (for example: tariffs, quotas, etc.)?
- Unknown Position
Do you support increasing defense spending?
- Unknown Position
How, if at all, should China’s treatment of the Uighurs and the situation in Hong Kong affect broader U.S. policy toward China?
- China’s abysmal human rights record must feature prominently in our policy toward the country. We can’t ignore China’s mass detention of more than a million Uighur Muslims in “reeducation camps” in the Xinjiang region, or its widespread abuse of surveillance for political and religious repression. We can’t ignore Beijing’s failure to respect the rights and autonomy of Hong Kong’s people and the Hong Kong government’s excessive use of force against peaceful protestors. President Trump has consistently turned a blind eye to these abuses in hopes of earning a ‘win’ in his trade war, all to no avail.
Under my administration, we will cooperate with China on global issues like climate change, but we won’t allow human rights abuses to go unchecked. The United States must reclaim our own moral authority and work with like-minded nations to stand up forcefully for human rights in China and around the world.
Would you rejoin the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)? What changes to the existing agreement, if any, would you require before agreeing to rejoin the accord?
- Yes. President Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from an agreement that was verifiably preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon – against the warnings of our closest allies, and without any plan for what comes next – was beyond reckless. Since then, we’ve seen nothing but escalations from both sides. Either the Trump Administration is angling for another disastrous war in the Middle East, or it has spent two years saber-rattling with no endgame.
Based on where things stand now, I would plan to rejoin the JCPOA so long as Iran also returned to verifiable compliance. At the same time, I would seek negotiations with Iran to extend and supplement some of the nuclear deal’s existing provisions, and work with our partners to counter Iran’s destabilizing behavior in the region, including with regard to its ballistic missile program.
Would you sign an agreement with North Korea that entailed partial sanctions relief in exchange for some dismantling of its nuclear weapons program but not full denuclearization?
- Let me start by saying this: I guarantee you I won’t be exchanging love letters with Kim Jong-un. President Trump has handed Kim one PR victory after the next, all without securing any real concessions, so the next president will have serious work to do.
Ultimately, we can’t accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state. But it’s clear that simply demanding complete denuclearization is a recipe for failure; we must work closely with our allies to contain and reverse the short-term threats posed by Pyongyang as we work toward that long-term goal.
In any negotiations with North Korea, we must proceed with great skepticism given our past experiences. I would consider targeted sanctions relief to improve the lives of the North Korean people if the regime were to take serious, verifiable steps to roll back its nuclear program. And that relief would have to be immediately reversible were they to renege on their commitments.
What, if any, steps would you take to counter Russian aggression against Ukraine?
- In both Ukraine and Georgia, Russia has used military force to seize territory and undermine democratically elected governments. Russia’s illegal occupation of Crimea is a severe violation of the international norms that have guided the world since World War II – as are Russia’s support for combat operations in eastern Ukraine and its cyber-attacks. Thousands of people have died because of Russia’s aggression, including 298 civilians killed when a Russian missile shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014.
As president, I would continue to support Ukraine and ensure the U.S. is unequivocal in affirming Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. I would also prioritize working with the government of Ukraine to build out its military, strengthen its civil society, and combat corruption, while working closely with our European partners on a diplomatic solution. And unlike the current occupant of the White House, I will consistently stand up to Putin in defense of democratic values, human rights, and the international rule of law.
Given the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi and Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the civil war in Yemen, what changes, if any, would you make to U.S. policy toward Saudi Arabia?
- First of all, we need to end U.S. support for the catastrophic Saudi-led war in Yemen, which has driven the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. I voted to do just that earlier this year. I also voted to block the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that only help continue this atrocity. Unfortunately, President Trump vetoed both of those measures. He has stood in lockstep with Riyadh, even turning a blind eye to the heinous assassination of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The United States and Saudi Arabia still have mutual areas of interest, such as counterterrorism, where the Saudis have been strong partners. And we should continue to coordinate on that front. But we need to fundamentally reevaluate our relationship with Saudi Arabia, using our leverage to stand up for American values and interests.
Do you support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and, if so, how would you go about trying to achieve it?
- Israel is a critical ally and friend and its security is a top priority. I absolutely support a two-state solution because it is the best way to ensure the existence of a Jewish, democratic, and secure Israel. Palestinians should be able to govern themselves in their own state, in peace and dignity, just as Israelis deserve a secure homeland for the Jewish people.
While all Americans have an interest in a peaceful resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the fact remains that peace can only be achieved if the parties themselves come to an agreement. The U.S. can – and should – serve as a constructive partner in the process. Unfortunately, while, in the past, the U.S. has been viewed as an honest broker with a strong desire for peace in the region, Trump’s actions have inflamed tensions in the region, diminished U.S. credibility and influence, and undermined the prospects for peace. As President, I would start by reaffirming the U.S. commitment to Israel’s security and prosperity, while simultaneously working to rebuild the broken relationship between the United States and the Palestinians. Among all of our international partners, the U.S. is uniquely positioned to facilitate negotiations toward peace, but for that to have any chance of success, we have to start by re-engaging in honest, respectful dialog with both sides.
What, if any, additional steps should the United States take to remove Nicolás Maduro from power in Venezuela?
- Make no mistake – Nicolás Maduro is a repressive and corrupt dictator who is responsible for an unfathomable humanitarian crisis. The Venezuelan people deserve the support and solidarity of the United States. We should start by immediately extending Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelans who’ve fled Maduro’s brutality, which President Trump has refused to do.
We should also provide additional aid to international humanitarian organizations to be disbursed to Venezuelan residents and refugees. And we should continue to support multilateral diplomatic efforts toward a peaceful transition to legitimate new elections, which must be the ultimate goal.
Finally, we should take U.S. military intervention off the table. National Security Adviser John Bolton would have us believe that the choice in Venezuela is between indifference and invasion. That is a false choice, and I reject it.
By 2050, Africa will account for 25 percent of the world’s population according to projections by the United Nations. What are the implications of this demographic change for the United States, and how should we adjust our policies to anticipate them?
- The African continent is dynamic, diverse, and full of potential, with the youngest, fastest growing population in the world. There are so many important interests at stake in Africa, from bolstering global security to fostering shared prosperity. The United States must engage now and build strong diplomatic and economic partnerships with these nations or illiberal countries like China and Russia will fill the gaps.
Unfortunately, President Trump is damaging U.S. relationships and opportunities in this important region. His description of African nations as “sh*thole countries” was not only deeply offensive; it was flat-out wrong. He has undermined U.S. diplomacy and undercut work to strengthen security, prevent pandemics, support democratic institutions, and increase U.S. investment.
As president, I will focus on advancing relationships in Africa that President Trump has let languish – and I will do so in a way that is consistent with American values. We need to stand up for democracy, human rights, and economic freedom and development. I will reinvigorate American diplomacy throughout the continent, support economic growth, and deepen security engagements with African partners.
How would you discourage the proliferation of coal-fired power plants in developing countries?
- First, I would rejoin the Paris Agreement, so that the world understands America is serious about meeting the most complex, far-reaching challenge of our time – climate change. If we’re going to be successful, then countries, states, and cities need to transition away from the dirtiest sources of fuel on the planet. Governments around the world should be bringing dangerous coal-fired power plants offline, not bringing new plants online, and underscoring that necessity should be front and center in every one of our bilateral relationships. In addition to applying diplomatic pressure, the U.S. can better assist partners around the world in making the necessary energy transition by providing technical guidance, policy support, and access to capital.
We should also play a leadership role in compelling international institutions to use their leverage to end subsidies for dirty fuel. And we should invest heavily in clean energy R&D and advanced energy storage and bringing the transformative technologies that have already been developed right here in the U.S. to scale around the world.
What has been the greatest foreign policy accomplishment of the United States since World War II? What has been the biggest mistake?
- The greatest U.S. foreign policy accomplishment has been the post-war community of international institutions, laws, and democratic nations we helped to build. For generations, presidents from both parties established a network of stalwart partners. These countries have contributed to our prosperity and worked with us in war and peace to deal with some of the toughest international crises and to confront a number of generational challenges.
Our biggest mistake has been to jeopardize all that progress and accomplishment by engaging in failed wars that have cost lives, destabilized the regions in which they have been fought, and undermined our leadership in the international community. To make matters worse, the current president seems intent on inflicting further damage to U.S. credibility by disregarding diplomacy, withdrawing from international agreements and institutions, shunning our allies, siding with dictatorships over democracies, and elevating sheer incompetence in his decision-making processes.
S.Res.262 - A resolution affirming the importance of title IX, applauding the increase in educational opportunities available to all people, regardless of sex or gender, and recognizing the tremendous amount of work left to be done to further increase those opportunities.
Latest Action: Senate - 06/24/2019 Referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.Tracker:
S.1940 - A bill to permit legally married same-sex couples to amend their filing status for tax returns outside the statute of limitations.
Latest Action: Senate - 06/20/2019 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.Tracker:
S.1938 - A bill to provide for grants for States that require fair and impartial police training for law enforcement officers of that State and to incentivize States to enact laws requiring the independent investigation and prosecution of the use of deadly force by law enforcement officers, and for other purposes.
Latest Action: Senate - 06/20/2019 Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.Tracker:
An election for vice president of the United States will be held on November 3, 2020.
||Donald Trump/Mike Pence (R)|
||Joe Biden/Kamala D. Harris (D)|
||Blake Huber/Frank Atwood (Approval Voting Party)|
||Gary Swing/David Olszta (Boiling Frog)|
||Jerry Segal/John de Graaf (Bread and Roses)|
||Keith McCormic/Sam Blasiak (Bull Moose)|
||Don Blankenship/William Mohr (Constitution Party)|
||Rickie Sue King/Dayna Chandler (Genealogy Know Your Family History Party)|
||Jesse Ventura/Cynthia McKinney (Green Party of Alaska)|
||H. Brooke Paige/Thomas Witman (Grumpy Old Patriots)|
||Princess Khadijah M. Pres Jacob-Fambro/Khadijah Maryam Jacob Sr. (Independent)|
||Joe McHugh/Elizabeth Storm (Independent)|
||Brock Pierce/Karla Ballard (Independent)|
||Jordan Marc Scott/Jennifer Tepool (Independent)|
||Jo Jorgensen/Spike Cohen (L)|
||J.R. Myers/Tiara Lusk (Life and Liberty)|
||Gloria La Riva (multiple running mates) (Party for Socialism and Liberation)|
||Phil Collins/Billy Joe Parker (Prohibition Party)|
||Joseph Kishore/Norissa Santa Cruz (Socialist Equality Party)|
||Alyson Kennedy/Malcolm Jarrett (Socialist Workers Party)|
||Roque De La Fuente (multiple running mates) (The Alliance Party)|
||Bill Hammons/Eric Bodenstab (Unity Party)|
||Richard Duncan/Mitch Bupp (Independent)|
||Connie Gammon/Phil Collins (Independent)|
||Kyle Kenley Kopitke (multiple running mates) (Independent)|
||Christopher LaFontaine/Michael Speed (Independent)|
||Zachary Scalf/Matthew Lyda (Independent)|
||Brian T. Carroll/Amar Patel (American Solidarity Party)|
||President Boddie/Eric Stoneham (C.U.P.)|
||Howie Hawkins/Angela Nicole Walker (G)|
||Mark Charles/Adrian Wallace (Independent)|
||Tom Hoefling/Andy Prior (Independent)|
||Jade Simmons (multiple running mates) (Independent)|
||Sheila Tittle (multiple running mates) (Independent)|
||Kanye West/Michelle Tidball (Independent)|
||Dario David Hunter/Dawn Neptune Adams (Progressive Party)|
An election for president of the United States will be held on November 3, 2020. Harris announced she was running for president on January 21, 2019. She suspended her presidential campaign on December 3, 2019.
rated California's U.S. Senate race as safely Democratic. California's U.S. Senate seat was open following the retirement of incumbent Barbara Boxer (D). Thirty-four candidates filed to run to replace Boxer, including seven Democrats, 12 Republicans, and 15 third-party candidates. Two Democrats, Kamala Harris and Loretta Sanchez, defeated the other 32 candidates to advance to the general election. Harris won the general election.
U.S. Senate, California General Election, 2016
U.S. Senate, California Primary, 2016
The following issues were listed on Harris' campaign website. For a full list of campaign themes, .
Harris won re-election to the office of state attorney general in 2014.
Attorney General of California, Blanket Primary, 2014
Attorney General of California, 2014
2010 Race for Attorney General - General Election
By Kamala Harris The first time I came to work in the United States Senate was not as a United States Senator but as an intern. A college sophomore, I believed the Senate was a place to turn activism into action. I went to work as a summer intern for my homestate Senator, California's Alan Cranston, in the very same office I returned to more than 30 years later. Serving as your Senator has been an honor. The past four years have tested us as a nation. Even before I was sworn in we knew that foreign adversaries had interfered in the 2016 election. Soon thereafter, families were being separated at the border, and our work to combat climate change was being dismantled. Since then, three Supreme Court nominees have come before the Senate Judiciary committee on which I have sat. Wildfires have ravaged our state, racial injustice continues to plague our nation, and COVID-19 plagues the world. This month, we witnessed something I thought I would never see in the United States: A mob breached the U.S. Capitol, trying to thwart the certification of the 2020 election results. The violence made clear that we have two systems of justice -- one that failed to restrain the rioters on January 6 and another that released tear gas on non-violent demonstrators last summer. These have not been easy times by any stretch. I am proud that, through it all, my office has maintained its focus, working tirelessly for the people of California. We have taken on critical issues facing Californians and all Americans: rising rent costs, devastating hunger, unjust cash bail, economic insecurity, maternal healthcare, among others. Senators Cory Booker, Tim Scott, and I passed anti-lynching legislation through the Senate. And just last December, with Senators Mark Warner and Cory Booker, we passed legislation that will provide much-needed capital to communities of color and low-income communities during the pandemic. From helping seniors navigate the Medicare system to helping veterans get the benefits they are owed, from securing funding for families to rebuild after the wildfires to working to get small businesses what they need to stay afloat -- my team heard you, we saw you, and we fought for you. Thank you, California, for that privilege. Know that Alex Padilla will carry on this work. And this is not goodbye. Today, as I resign from the Senate, I am preparing to take an oath that would have me preside over it. As Senator-turned-Vice-President Walter Mondale once pointed out, the vice presidency is the only office in our government that "belongs to both the executive branch and the legislative branch." A responsibility made greater with an equal number of Democrats and Republicans in the Senate. Since our nation's founding, only 268 tie-breaking votes have been cast by a Vice President. I intend to work tirelessly as your Vice President, including, if necessary, fulfilling this Constitutional duty. At the same time, it is my hope that rather than come to the point of a tie, the Senate will instead find common ground and do the work of the American people. Just a year before I interned in the Senate, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was made a federal holiday. The legislation did not sail through Congress by any means. There was a heated debate and a fair amount of grandstanding. In the end, the Democratic-led House passed the bill, the Republican-controlled Senate did the same, and the Republican president signed it into law. Now, we have the pastor from the very church Dr. King preached in -- the eleventh Black Senator since Reconstruction, out of nearly 2,000 Senators total -- about to be sworn in. And with him, the first Jewish Senator from the Deep South since the 19th century. Change is possible. For that, I am grateful and ready to get to work. Thus, as I leave the United States Senate, this is not goodbye. This is hello.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Gretchen Whitmer wanted out. The Michigan governor had caught the interest of Joe Biden and his vice presidential vetting committee, who were drawn to her prominence in a crucial battleground state and her aggressive response to the coronavirus outbreak there. But by late spring, the nation was in the midst of a reckoning over race and inequality following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white police officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes. Whitmer sent word to Biden’s team that while she was flattered, she no longer wanted to be considered for the running mate slot, according to a high-ranking Democrat familiar with the process. She recommended Biden pick a Black woman. But Biden still wanted Whitmer in the mix, and he personally called her in mid-June to ask if she would continue on to the second, more intensive round of vetting, according to the official. Whitmer agreed. But forces in the country, and within the Democratic Party, were indeed pushing Biden toward a history-making pick. As protests over the death of Floyd and other Black Americans filled the streets across the country, an array of Democrats urged Biden to put a Black woman on the ticket — a nod to this moment in the nation’s history, to the critical role Black voters played in Biden’s ascent to the Democratic nomination, and to their vital importance in his general election campaign against President Donald Trump. On Tuesday, Biden tapped California Sen. Kamala Harris to be his running mate, making her the first Black woman to serve on a major party presidential ticket. This account of how he made that decision, the most important of his political career, is based on interviews with 10 people with direct knowledge of the vetting and selection process. Most spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose private conversations and deliberations. Biden, well aware of the potential pitfalls of being a 77-year-old white male standard-bearer of a party increasingly comprised of women, people of color and young voters, made clear even before he had clinched the Democratic nomination that his running mate would be a woman. His initial list of possible contenders was sprawling: roughly 20 governors, senators, congresswomen, mayors and other Democratic stalwarts. They were young and old; Black, Hispanic, white, Asian; straight and gay. Some, including Harris, had competed against Biden for the Democratic nomination. From the start, some Biden advisers saw Harris as a logical choice. She was among the party’s most popular figures, a deft debater and a fundraising juggernaut. She had been thoroughly vetted during her own campaign and Biden’s team expected there would be few surprises if she was the pick. Indeed, Harris’ potential downsides were well-known to Biden advisers. Her record as a prosecutor in California was already viewed skeptically by some younger Democrats during the primary and would face even more scrutiny against the backdrop of a national debate over inequality in the criminal justice system. There were also nagging questions about Harris’ most high-profile moment of the primary campaign — a harsh and deeply personal broadside against Biden over his position on school busing in the 1970s. Though Biden would later brush the moment aside as campaign tactics, the attack was said to have stunned the former vice president, who had considered his relationship with Harris strong. It also raised concern among a small cadre of Biden advisers that Harris would be eyeing the Oval Office herself from the start, a particular worry given that Biden has not firmly committed to serving two terms if elected in November. And so, as spring turned to summer, a string of other Black women would take a turn in the spotlight as Biden weighed his options. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Florida Rep. Val Demings impressed Biden’s team with their leadership during the police brutality protests. Some House Democrats — including South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, a close Biden confidant — advocated for Rep. Karen Bass, a Californian who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus. Biden also took a strong interest in Susan Rice, with whom he worked closely when she served in the White House as President Barack Obama’s national security adviser. The leading contenders, who also included Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, submitted reams of financial records, texts of speeches and other personal information. Biden’s selection team canvassed a vast array of Democrats to ask for their views on the candidates’ temperament and families, then grilled the candidates on much of the same. Biden, too, regularly discussed his potential pick with his sprawling network of friends and advisers. He used Obama in particular as a sounding board, though confidants to both men say the former president was careful not to tip his hand in those conversations as to whom he preferred. But in private, Obama suggested to others that he believed Harris was the favorite. ___ In one of Harris’ conversations with the vetting committee, Chris Dodd — a longtime Biden friend who served alongside him in the Senate — asked if she had remorse for her debate stage attack on his busing record. Harris, as she had previously done so publicly, brushed it aside as simply politics. Dodd, a member of the running mate selection committee, was put off and let that be known. The incident was first reported by Politico and confirmed to The Associated Press by a person with direct knowledge. The public disclosure of Dodd’s comments angered some of the highest-ranking women on Biden’s campaign team. Some of Harris’ allies also mobilized to defend her, including California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, who organized a call with Biden’s vetting team about two weeks ago to assuage any doubts about whether the senator was the right choice for the ticket. On the 45-minute call, Kounalakis and other statewide officials, labor and business leaders took turns sharing their personal histories with Harris and their impressions of her as a leader. “Speaking out as strongly as we did, collectively, helped them understand how supported she is and why,” Kounalakis said on Tuesday. The call ended with Biden’s vetting team telling the Harris supporters that they had all recommended her as one of the top candidates for the job.___ The pandemic had largely grounded Biden in his home state of Delaware throughout the summer, and also upended some of the ways he had expected to build a rapport with the running-mate contenders. There were no joint rallies or carefully orchestrated, yet casual-looking, outings to local restaurants in battleground states. Biden was also accepting few in-person visitors at his home. But he did want to speak one-on-one with the women who had made it through the vetting process and interviews with his selection committee. He would hold conversations with 11 women in the final nine days before he made his pick — a mixture of in-person meetings and video teleconferences. Whitmer was among those who flew to Delaware for an in-person audience. She boarded a private plane in Lansing, Michigan, on Aug. 2, spending just a few hours on the ground before returning to Michigan. Rice, who had perhaps the closest personal relationship with Biden of all the contenders, spoke twice with Biden in recent days. Duckworth also had a formal interview over the weekend, as did Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams, who was initially viewed as a leading contender for the job. On Tuesday, in the hours before his campaign announced Harris as the pick, Biden would call each of those women to inform them that they had not been selected. Warren, whose relationship with Biden has deepened in recent months through regular policy discussions, was also among those to receive a personal call from the former vice president. In some of the conversations, Biden left open an opportunity. Please consider joining me in another role in the administration, he said. ___ Eggert reported from Lansing, Mich., and Ronayne from Sacramento, Calif. Associated Press writers Bill Barrow in Atlanta, Will Weissert in Wilmington, Del., and Laurie Kellman in Washington contributed to this report.Source: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/
“Now that the White House finally seems within reach, [Joe Biden] does not want to be outshone, according to people who know him,” reported The Atlantic last month in explaining why low-key Rep. Karen Bass was being considered for vice president. “[T]here’s less speculation that [Susan] Rice would run for the Oval Office the way [Kamala] Harris almost certainly would post-Biden. That might give Rice an edge,” reported Politico soon after. It didn’t. Biden actually didn’t mind picking a running mate who shines brightly. He passed over the contenders who signaled a lack of presidential ambition in favor of one who we all know wants the top job, because she applied for it last year. Kamala Harris will now almost certainly be the front-runner in the next open Democratic primary, whether it is 2024 or 2028. As I noted in my July 27 RealClearPolitics column, current and former VPs have almost always won presidential primaries in which they run. (The lone exception being Dan Quayle, who was widely mocked while vice president and ran against his former boss’ son in the 2000 primary before quickly dropping out. We could also count Hubert Humphrey’s losing effort in 1972, though he was burdened by having already lost a general election in 1968.) And Harris, barring health problems or a scandal, would run. Biden’s choice was greeted with cheers throughout the Democratic Party, suggesting a high degree of comfort with a Harris-led party in the near future. The few voices of discontent on the left came from outside the party, in the Twitter accounts of socialist activists, where Harris’ record as a prosecutor and ties to Silicon Valley donors are targets for criticism. Jacobin, the socialist magazine, posted links to old critiques of Harris, with teasers such as “Kamala Harris has matched every one of her progressive achievements with reactionary ones.” “Crime bill author Joe Biden selects ‘top cop’ Kamala Harris for VP as racial justice and police abolition protests continue across the country,” posted Walker Bragman. “Wall Street rejoicing over @KamalaHarris as president in 2024,” wrote Jordan Chariton. These are people who wanted Bernie Sanders to be the nominee, and probably would have settled for the populist-but-not-socialist Elizabeth Warren as Biden’s running mate. The Trump campaign immediately attacked Harris’ selection as evidence Biden is embracing the “radical left.” But the Republican National Committee picked up the smattering of socialist complaints for an email sent to reporters with the subject line “liberals revolt against Biden, Harris ticket.” The two lines of attack are not readily in sync with each other. The socialists know full well that the choice of Harris isn’t an embrace of them. Biden, who always said he wanted someone “simpatico” with his views, was never going to pick a far left candidate. But clearly some on the left held out hope for an unambitious politician like Bass who might not ever run for the job. Picking Harris greatly complicates any plans to run another presidential candidate in the mold of Bernie Sanders — the most likely option being Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the next most famous socialist elected official in the country and, being born in 1989, just barely constitutionally eligible in 2024. Harris could move towards the left over time. Her ideological zigzagging in the presidential primary prompted some criticism that she didn’t hold any deep convictions. (The Trump campaign is trying to square the competing criticisms of Harris by labeling her a “phony” who, along with Biden, will get pushed around by the “radical left.”) But Harris made some comments in the primary that suggest she does have a deeply held governing philosophy: pragmatism. In July 2019, she said to New York Times reporter Alexander Burns, “I’m not trying to restructure society. I’m just trying to take care of the issues that wake people up in the middle of the night.” That was an implicit swipe at Sanders, who often called for “revolution,” and Warren, whose mantra was “big structural change.” In a separate Times interview two months later, Harris added, “I have this saying, which is: ‘No good public policy ends with an exclamation point.’” Burns noted, “There are points when Ms. Harris appears to miss her own standards for practicality, envisioning trillions of dollars in new benefits without enough new revenue to fully sustain them.” Fair enough, but she is hardly the first politician to propose big in the campaign with an eye toward more modest compromise once in office. And to state flatly that she prefers policies that don’t have an “exclamation point” — that aren’t superficially stirring — is something a politician would only say when she means it. It’s not exactly a slogan that lights up a bumper sticker. The Atlantic posed this question last month: “Will [Biden] decide [his party’s] future by anointing a successor, or pick someone, like Bass, who’s less likely to run for president?” The question is now answered. Biden has anointed a successor in Harris. He anointed a successor who can be expected to keep the Democratic Party rooted in pragmatism. He anointed a successor who is well positioned to stave off any socialist or populist insurgents from claiming the next presidential nomination and steering the party in a more ideologically severe direction. In other words, Biden picked a woman like him.Source: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/