On August 11, 2020, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (D-DE) announced that he had selected his running mate: U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).
Over the past several months, many commentators pointed to Sen. Harris as the most likely 2020 Democratic vice presidential nominee. While the Senator’s pointed attack on Vice President Biden over his record on school desegregation and race at a June 27, 2019 debate strained relationships between the two campaigns, Biden stated months ago that he was “‘not good at keeping hard feelings’” and would consider Harris as a potential vice president.
Elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016, Sen. Harris is in her first Senate term. Prior to her Senate tenure, Sen. Harris served as District Attorney of San Francisco from 2004 to 2011; she then became Attorney General of California in 2011 and held that position until becoming a U.S. senator. As many New Yorkers may recall, Sen. Harris was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, but suspended her candidacy in December 2019. At the upcoming Democratic National Convention, Sen. Harris will become the third woman (after Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, D-NY, in 1984 and Gov. Sarah Palin, R-AK, in 2008) and the first woman of color to be the vice presidential nominee of a major U.S. political party. Sen. Harris was born on October 20, 1964 in Oakland, California and is a natural-born U.S. citizen. The Senator has black and Asian ancestry, as her father emigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica and her mother emigrated to the U.S. from India.
While Sen. Harris is sometimes described as a moderate Democrat, that description is inaccurate. The Senator could be more accurately described as a socially liberal establishment Democrat with a law enforcement background who has a history of changing positions and has moved leftward in recent years. Americans for Democratic Action, a left-wing organization, gave Sen. Harris a 100% rating in 2017 and 2018. During her tenure as Attorney General of California, Sen. Harris—who has received campaign donations from Planned Parenthood—sent agents to raid the residence of pro-life activist David Daleiden. She received a perfect score from Planned Parenthood Action Fund in 2019. Sen. Harris has a long-term record of LGBT advocacy and has officiated at a same-sex ceremony. The Senator has sponsored the so-called Do No Harm Act, which would weaken the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and would allow further LGBT encroachments upon the religious freedom of Christian Americans. In contrast, Sen. Harris has earned a 4% lifetime rating from the conservative Heritage Action for America and a 3% lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union.
Given Vice President Biden’s advanced age (at 77, he is slated to become the oldest major party presidential nominee in history), his selection of Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate may play a major role in the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.