Democratic nominee Joe Biden announced that Kamala Harris will be his running mate for his 2020 US Presidential campaign and Vice President should he win the elections in November. And, while most media outlets will praise him for selecting a black woman as his VP, it’s a very predictable move that will not lead to any tangible progress.
Biden vowed months ago that he would select a woman to be his Vice President in what was unquestionably an attempt to fix the aesthetics of yet another “old white man” running for office. And, despite the fact that Harris brazenly criticised Biden’s history with racist laws, specifically his opposition to mandatory school bussing, it was always obvious that she would be his pick.
The former Attorney General of California has been a very popular candidate over her political career and was elected into her current office as California Senator in 2016, at the same time that Donald Trump assumed office. She rose to prominence in the US during the 2018 senate hearings for the appointment for Supreme Court Justice, Brett Kavanaugh, where she drilled him with questions over accusations of sexual assault, gaining a reputation as a hard-line advocate for women’s rights.
However, when Harris ran in the democratic primaries last year, her initially promising support diminished to almost nothing after Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard exposed Harris’ own record over racist policy positions. It was exposed that Harris had supported a law that would punish parents of children who are guilty of truancy with jail time – and that she laughed when defending the policy, on video.
While Harris has put on the facade of a candidate that supports racial justice, her record with the issues is not what she claims it to be. The truancy initiative ultimately disproportionately affected single black parents and Harris was exposed as yet another centrist, corporately funded candidate that progressive voters loathed. Her so-called “Medicare For All” Plan which wouldn’t kill all private insurance did not hold up to scrutiny and she dropped out of her 2020 Presidential campaign in December 2019.
Right now, America is caught in a position where they need to pick between Donald Trump and Joe Biden and progressive voters have been discouraged after their preferred candidate, Bernie Sanders was effectively forced out of the race by a collective, coordinated mobilisation on Super Tuesday that involved centrist candidates to rally around Joe Biden led behind the scenes by former President Barrack Obama. Much like Obama lost progressive votes, having failed to live up to his 2008 campaign promises, the Democratic Party paid for the error of supporting centrist candidates in 2016, when Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump.
This is largely because the Bernie Sanders voters felt cheated and either stayed home or voted for Trump instead, for the most part. Biden’s VP pick is, on the surface, extending an olive branch to progressives through the symbolism of choosing a black woman to be his number two. It is particularly important due to Biden’s age (77) and his apparent cognitive decline, meaning that Harris has a bigger chance of taking over the presidency during Biden’s term than usual. And, of course, she will be the favourite in future campaigns, meaning that progressives are potentially stuck with another cloned centrist, corporate apologist for 16 years.
The Biden campaign may lose a massive portion of Democratic voters through his decision to pick Harris over a progressive black woman like Nina Turner, for example, who would actually stand for racial justice and progressive values. If Biden wins the election, which appears to be highly likely, America will return to business as usual in a post-Trump world where COVID-19 will continue to disproportionately affect the working class. Just like Obama promised change in 2008, his own Vice President is making similar promises that he will never follow through on. And, even worse, if he pisses progressives off enough, America could face another four years of Donald Trump.