As the 2020 presidential election is now only a few months away, many are beginning to do their research on both the presidential and vice presidential candidates of each party.
President Donald Trump announced that he and sitting Vice President Mike Pence will run together again in November while Democratic nominee Joe Biden has announced that California Senator Kamala Harris will be his running mate.
Since Trump and Pence are already in office, most eyes are on his competition. Biden’s a familiar face to many, as he was Barack Obama’s vice president from 2009-2017. Biden garnered a great deal of support throughout his campaign for presidency, crushing promising prospects like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders in the polls. After securing the nomination, Biden had a huge choice to make: who would be the best candidate to run alongside him?
Biden’s platform has to be particularly strong for many reasons. If he wins, at 78, he’ll be the oldest president to ever hold office. According to Forbes, many already speculate that President Trump, who is 74, has an array of both physical and mental health conditions ranging from dementia to narcissistic rage.
Biden must prove that he’s not just another old white man with a superiority complex. He also needs a running mate who supports the same beliefs and policies as him but also has a name of their own in the political scene and could garner him support in demographics he may not shine in on his own. Biden vowed to pick a woman as a running mate during the first Democratic primary, a promise he’s stuck to.
Still, he had an all-star roster of women to choose as his right-hand, so why is Kamala Harris the key to his success in the 2020 election?
Harris is likely to increase Black voter turnout, which would significantly affect Biden’s numbers, according to The Guardian. Historically, Democratic candidates have won the majority of Black voters, a statistic that’s only strengthened by having a black woman as vice president. Biden is also labeled a moderate in the Democratic party, but Harris is considered more progressive than Biden — just the right amount to attract progressive voters while not scaring away those who are more conservative. Harris also has experience on a grander scale than any of Biden’s other potential picks. She’s been California Senator since 2017, and she’s also the only Black woman in the Senate, a position that’s gained her national attention and pivotal political experience.
Harris is also known for being a strong and poignant prosecutor, a skill which will be vital both on the campaign trail and in the Oval Office. If the Democratic ticket wins, Harris will be the first woman in office as either a vice president or a president. Being the first woman in office while being the daughter of two immigrants is a powerful transition from President Trump and vice president Pence. The Biden-Harris ticket could also potentially attract more attention from female voters, another huge demographic.
Although to some Harris may not be the ideal pick for Biden’s running mate, she checks important boxes. She’ll hopefully increase female, Black and democratic voter turnout while remaining a public servant and highly skilled orator and prosecutor. She brings much to the table, including the legacy of being a woman of color in office. These qualities make her and Biden an attractive option for the 2020 election.
Liz Riccio is a Psychology and Media arts and design double major. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.