Joe Biden and his chosen running mate Kamala Harris to make their first appearance on Wednesday, predicting that the California senator’s historic profile and confrontational style against Trump will brag Democrats’ efforts to remove the Republican president amid cascading national critical point.
The former primary rivals will pop out at a high school near Biden’s Delaware home to talk about their shared ideas for how to beat President Donald Trump and then lead the country through a pandemic, its economic fallout and a long-simmering viewing with systemic racism. Harris and Biden then will sit down together for an online fundraiser designed to let even small donors get a fresh look of what the Democratic presidential ticket will look like together.
A reflection of COVID-19 guidelines, there will be no loving crowd that would greet a new running mate in a routine campaign and certainly one with Harris’ historical significance. The daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, she is the first Black woman and first person of Asian descent to join a major party presidential ticket.
But the 55-year-old former prosecutor will have to put her animated public style usually a contrast to the folksier 77-year-old Joe Biden to use in television and online streaming formats without voter interaction or feedback.
The Biden campaign has said it plans a rollout that mix the historic nature of Harris’ selection with the realities of the 2020 campaign and the gravity of the nation’s circumstances.
“I need someone working alongside me who is smart, tough and ready to lead. Kamala is that person,” Biden told his supporters in an email explaining his running mate choice.
“I need someone who understands the pain that so many people in our nation are suffering. Whether they’ve lost their job, their business, a loved one to this virus,” Joe Biden added. “This president says he doesn’t want to be distracted by it. He doesn’t understand that taking care of the people of this nation – all the people – isn’t a distraction; it’s the job. Kamala understands that.”
Harris was regarded a favorite throughout Biden’s search. She’d been a frequent surrogate for him for months, with the pair emerging at ease during online fundraisers together and the senator appearing on her own as a surrogate for campaign events and on television.
They’ll nevertheless have to paper over some differences revealed during the early primary campaign, from Kamala Harris’ initial support for a single-payer health insurance system and the Green New Deal to her deeply personal debate-stage broadside against Joe Biden over his opposition to federally direction busing to integrate public schools in the 1970s.
President Donald Trump’s campaign quickly captured on those circumstances, with the president tagging Harris as “Phony Kamala” and casting her as the latest proof that Biden, a five-decade veteran of the Democratic establishment, is captive to “the radical-left.”
Biden’s campaign appeared ready for the counteroffensive on Wednesday, stating that just weeks ago, Trump told reporters that Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris would be a “fine” choice. Campaign finance records show that before he ran for president, Trump added to Harris’ campaigns in California.
And perhaps further confusing the GOP messaging, national Republican Party operatives on Wednesday indicated progressives’ criticism of Harris’ record as a prosecutor and California attorney general.
Indeed, Harris, like Biden, doesn’t encourage a single-payer health insurance system, and the two are mainly regarded part of the Democratic Party’s mainstream. But Harris memorably lift up her hand during one Democratic primary debate when candidates were questioned whether they could back a system that scrapped private health insurance altogether.
She has mainly signed the Green New Deal, progressives’ most ambitious set of proposals to combat the climate crisis, but she didn’t make that an anchor of her presidential bid. Biden has moved left on his climate proposals during the 2020 campaign but has not fully embraced the Green New Deal.
In Washington, Harris has advocated overtaking the criminal justice system, intensifying her efforts since George Floyd’s murder by a white Minneapolis officer in May. And she’s requested for sweeping domestic programs to benefit the working and middle class. But she taken heat for some of her aggressive attitude as local prosecutor in the San Francisco area and for not prosecuting bank executives in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse.
That mixed record could have unpredictable effects in a national campaign.
Biden bets that, on balance, Harris has broad pleading that will shore up any weaknesses with Black women, an anchor of the Democratic Party, and other voters of colors, while juicing turnout among white liberals and coaxing encourage from independents and Republican-leaning white voters who have soured on Donald Trump.
Karen Finney, a prominent Black strategist in the Democratic Party, revealed to immediate fundraising success as proof that Biden’s take on Harris is way better than Trump’s. The Biden campaign raised in almost $11 million in the first four hours after Biden announced his choice..
“We won’t get the visual,” Finney said, referring to the realities of COVID-19-era campaign. “But you can already feel the energy and excitement.”
The ticket, she said, “makes clear that Biden is serious about having people who like the diversity of our country and our future at the highest decision-making tables. That gives people hope.”