The next couple weeks may prove me and several others wrong, but as of today, Biden looks ready to pick Senator Kamala Haris from California as his running mate. This would fulfil Biden’s promise to select a woman and reinforce his demonstrated advantage with African Americans going into the general election. Also, Harris has shown excellent prosecutorial skill during Senate hearings (esp. Barr’s confirmation) and in a primary debate where she put the smackdown on Biden himself.
Finalizing a pick for Vice President / running-mate in early May is a bit early. Biden himself was not announced as Obama’s pick until August 23, 2008. Reports that put Harris in the lead for VP are not predicting an imminent decision, but it’s still a good opportunity to see how her presence could influence the race. Also, it hardly needs to be said that this election cycle is like no other in history. Maybe we will get an early announcement.
First, picking a career prosecutor who is as thorough and relentless as Harris makes sense. This election is the trial against Donald Trump and Harris is an outstanding choice to bring that case. Personally, I would prefer her in the top spot on the ticket, but having her in the midst of the fight can only help.
Another notable characteristic of this pick (if it is Harris) is the regional diversity. There was a time when you picked a running mate to diversify and expand the reach of your message. Sort of the opposite of a hypothetical Sanders/Warren Democratic ticket. Geographical diversity helps appeal to people from a region where the Presidential candidate may not be as strong. This read on the selection is somewhat undermined by the ideological similarity of east coast and west coast Democrats.
And that brings us to ideological diversity. There isn’t much with a Biden/Harris ticket. They occupied the same lane in the primaries, which is what helped fuel Harris’s blistering attack on Biden in an early debate that seems like it happened a lifetime ago. Some will say that the failure to pick a VP from the Bernie coalition (I don’t know who that would be, besides Warren) is an insult to the party’s left flank. This gives Trump and his Death Star campaign a chance to, once again, utilize Sanders’ most ardent supporters to help defeat a Democrat.
There will need to be a carefully choreographed tap-dance to deal with the Tara Reade allegations. Harris has potentially more to lose in this regard than Biden because Harris was on the front lines of the Kavanaugh hearing.
But there is a right way to do this. It requires an acknowledgment that, in all cases of sexual assault, the default position AT THE BEGINNING must be to believe the woman. Generations of male misconduct (abuse) without accountability requires this position IN ALL CASES. And then each person must make a decision about what is true and what is right after the facts come out.
Attorneys understand this better than most because we are taught about “presumptions” in law school. But just because one litigant enjoys a presumption regarding evidence does not mean that the presumption can’t be disproven. The jury gets to decide which facts are true, and the presumption is merely a process to help reach that conclusion.
Harris is a strong choice and I hope the announcement comes soon. This would give an opportunity to clear the air on Tara Reade early and inject some life into Biden’s dull basement tapes. Yes, she is another moderate who may not excite the party’s ‘base,’ but the proposed coalition, for better or worse, is not about social revolution. It is about beating Donald Trump.