On August 11th, former Vice President, Joe Biden, announced his running mate for the 2020 presidential election. As many had predicted, Senator Kamala Harris of California was selected. As a supporter of Joe Biden, I’d like to express who I believe would have been a better choice for the ticket, and why I believe that Harris will not improve Biden’s chances of winning the election, and may take away votes from his cause.
For starters, Senator Harris’ career as a prosecutor already stands as a turn-off for progressive Americans that just now have flocked to support Biden. Her tract record suggests that she fought to imprison minorities in California for nonviolent crimes such as marijuana usage. Critics of Harris argue that her views contradict Biden’s promises for major criminal justice reform at both the federal and state level.
Senator Harris was notably critical of Biden during the democratic debates earlier this year, in large part due to his history of supporting anti-integration policies during the civil rights movement, and for supporting congressional candidates which actively supported segregation. While she did not explicitly call him a racist as many believe, she was doubtful of his supposed avid support of the civil rights movement during his youth.
If I were on the Biden campaign team, I would suggest putting Rep. Tulsi Gabbard on the ticket. Her commitment to ending the war on drugs, ending US military occupancy in foreign countries, and criminal justice reform (all issues which are central to Biden’s campaign) is sincere, and she has the record as a congresswoman to prove it. Additionally, Rep. Gabbard’s views align more with libertarianism on several issues, which undoubtedly would serve as an appeal to disgruntled Trump supporters who are wary about voting blue, but have had enough of Trump’s leadership.
On a subjective note, I believe that Rep. Gabbard is superior on the debate stage than Senator Harris. Vice President Mike Pence was able to decisively win his debates against Senator Tim Kaine during the 2016 election, and this cannot happen again if the Democrats hope to take the White House.
Of course, these arguments are all moot given that Biden has selected his Vice President and both Harris and Biden have made it clear that they are on a united front with a detailed plan to defeat Trump. Most Biden supporters will support Senator Harris despite her not being the first choice as VP for many. Hopefully, the Democrats have learned their lesson from 2016 about being divided between two candidates and allowing it to cloud the party’s main objective of defeating their opponent.
Footnote: The state from which a Vice Presidential candidate is from is likely to go towards that candidate’s ticket. Selecting someone from California, a safe blue state, can be argued as a wasted opportunity. Joe Biden having selected a candidate from a battleground state such as Texas could potentially have afforded him dozens of electoral votes that may go to Trump.