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The politics of choosing a Black woman VP candidate

Practical Politics

David L. Horne, PH.D. | 8/13/2020, midnight

Okay, that part’s over. It’s done. Sen. Kamala Harris has been chosen to be Joe Biden’s vice presidential partner on the Democratic Party ticket.

Now the real work begins again. The parade-around will be quick. Thousands of photos will be taken and Sen. Harris’ private life will be no more for the next few months, and perhaps longer. Sen. Harris is not an unknown, since she was a presidential candidate herself and was regularly on the campaign trail. This is not like John McCain’s choice of Republican Sarah Palin, an unknown quantity who proved particularly troublesome and unhelpful. This is not even like Geraldine Ferraro, the only other female vice presidential candidate for the Democratic Party in 1984 (chosen to run with underdog Walter Mondale). Congresswoman Ferraro was well known, but not as accomplished as is Sen. Harris, and did not make the splash that Sen. Harris will surely make.

Even though the great Willie Brown of California remains unrestrained  in his public vitriol towards Sen. Harris, in the end, that did not stop  her selection, and it should not stop her election to the vice presidency and being one heart-beat from the POTUS position. She is a very solid balance to the democratic ticket.

Mr. Biden did no harm to himself by choosing Sen. Harris. She is imminently qualified. Now let’s see whether the Black female base of the Democratic Party rallies around her in spite of that still existing “high yellow” problem we have in the community that we rarely talk about. They got a Black woman nominee, maybe not the one they wanted or expected, but she’s one of us, so let’s kick it into gear.

And the White suburban women who literally abandoned Hillary Clinton in 2016, for some strange set of reasons, what will they do? They clearly want a woman with a real chance to win the White House soon, and they’d have preferred for her to be Anglo Saxon. That card too has been dealt now and it’s not the Red Queen many of them looked for and probably wanted. No, the trump card played was the Queen of Spades, and she just might be the suit that runs the table.

She’ll be fully expected to annihilate Mr. Pence in the VP debate (that is, if Mr. Trump does not “fire” Mr. Pence and choose a more flashy candidate at the last minute). She’s got the gift of strategic gab, and she knows how to prepare for the big moments. She will be a very good advocate for the Democratic Party ticket on the cable news channels and network talk shows.

And though this is rarely a quality looked for in the usual male candidates, she looks good. The camera loves her and the media will too.

Sen. Harris, like Barack Obama before her, is a junior U.S. Senator. She has not been in her elected position long—barely 2.5 years—but she has played well on the big stages when presented opportunities.

We should all support her, and through her, ourselves. This will not be a “perfect scenario,” but it should certainly be good enough for us to see some real political meat on the old bones of systemic racism and disrespect. We need tangible policy gains after all the political fire and brimstone of 2020, and she is a part of that. So, we should let her know we’re behind her and she is our new champion. We’re ‘ridin with Biden, and hopin’ with Harris!!!

Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.

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