Biden’s choice of Harris in racially polarised US was a big gamble that paid off
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Kamala Harris will make history as the first woman and the first person of colour to be the second in command at the White House.
Joe Biden’s choice of Senator Harris as his running mate in the racially combustible and polarised society that was the US before last week’s highly contested presidential elections was a big gamble and, luckily for the president-elect, it paid off.
Vice-presidential candidates almost never affect the outcome of a presidential campaign one way or another. No running mate since the US’s 36th president, Lyndon Johnson, in 1960 is credited with pushing the ticket over the top, and not even controversial running mates like Sarah Palin in 2008 are blamed for costing the ticket a victory.
Harris is both the first woman and person of colour on a major party’s ticket, and at age 55 she is a generation younger than 77-year-old Biden.
After the Democrats’ Hillary Clinton, the first woman to vie for the highest office in the US, and who lost out to Donald Trump four years ago, Biden could have chosen the safest route to the White House by picking an old white male to run with him.
The fact that he chose a black woman as a possible future vice-president after Trump spent the better part of his four-year tenure questioning the competence of Barack Obama, America’s first black president, demonstrates Biden’s political maturity, awareness, character and conviction.
At his advanced age, Biden might not run for a second term in 2024, opening the door for Harris to become the first woman – let alone black woman – president of the US in the 231 years of its democracy.
After American voters gave a proven liar and a racist bigot known to have scant regard for women more than 70 million votes in last week’s elections (to Biden’s 74 million), after he wrought so much damage, it is not easy to tell whether the country is ready to move forward or not.