8/13/2020, 6 p.m.
That one name texted and sent out via social media on Tuesday said it all.
U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California, the 55-year-old daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, is the first African-American to be chosen as the running mate of a major political party’s presidential candidate.
As the vice presidential pick of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, she is the joy and hope of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party’s fear of what’s to come.
There’s no doubt that Sen. Harris will be a force to be reckoned with when she hits the campaign trail. A skilled lawyer, debater and former prosecutor, Sen. Harris has a sharp mind for both detail and policy. She is a people person who can relate to the masses, a graduate of Howard University who can marshal the network and support of HBCU alumni and her Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority sisters to generate both campaign dollars and votes.
But make no mistake — even with her charm and grace, Sen. Harris is a political bulldog who can easily trump the snarly and ignorant current Republican occupant of the White House with a political beatdown. And we believe she will provide the necessary and critical balance to Mr. Biden, who is not quick on his feet and has a head-shaking tendency to slip a foot into his mouth from time to time.
While Sen. Harris was not our first choice for VP — our long-game saw her as a perfect new U.S. Supreme Court justice — she is an excellent selection who brings a host of enhancements and benefits to the Democratic ticket.
Her record on criminal justice issues and her tough-on-crime stance will be examined and will come under fire during this campaign — and rightly so. Sen. Harris served as a prosecutor in San Francisco in the early 2000s and as California’s attorney general from 2011 to 2017, when she took office as a U.S. senator.
She will have to answer for criminalizing truancy, her policy that resulted in parents being jailed for failing to ensure that their children attended school. She also will have to answer for her defense of long prison terms for “three strikes” criminals imprisoned for minor offenses and her fight against innocence claims of African-American inmates and others of color who turned out to have been wrongfully convicted.
But we also see criminal justice reform being her strong suit as well, a plus as the nation is called to reckoning over police brutality and racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis at the hands of police.
During her tenure as attorney general, the California Department of Justice required all police officers to wear body cameras. She also required every law enforcement agency in the state to collect, report and publish statistics on the number of people killed, shot or seriously injured by their sworn officers. Her office also launched investigations into alleged excessive use of force and civil rights violations by police agencies, and introduced implicit bias training for police departments.