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Kamala Harris makes history — and the future

After months of speculation, on Aug. 10, Joe Biden selected Kamala Harris, former Democratic Party presidential candidate and U.S. senator from California, as his running mate against Donald Trump and Mike Pence. She is the first Black and Asian American woman to be on a major party’s ticket, and her pick has drawn praise from Democrats and criticism from Republicans.

“If elected she will set several historical firsts, which will have symbolic significance as it shows diversification at the highest level of government,” sophomore and JSA Secretary/Treasurer Shyon Ganguly said.

About Harris

Born in Oakland to immigrant parents who emigrated from Jamaica and India, Harris is a lawyer and politician who currently serves as the junior U.S. senator from California. Before her election to Congress, she served as District Attorney of San Francisco and Attorney General of California. She is known for her 2020 run for president and her tough questioning of Trump officials and nominees like Brett Kavanaugh, Jeff Sessions and William Barr.

“I have mixed feelings as I feel that Harris is very credible and helps the ticket, but she has a shady record when she was a prosecutor," Ganguly said. “It is, however, good to see a child of immigrants from California running as I can relate.”

History of Women VP Picks

One of only three female vice presidential picks from a major party in U.S. history, Harris follows Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and New York Rep. Geraldine Ferraro. Palin’s 2008 run and Ferraro’s 1984 campaign both amounted to losses; however, supporters believe that Harris can win.

"I think that it's so great to see a woman of color on the political stage," junior and JSA PR Officer Marissa Dai said.

The Selection

Biden’s vice presidential search gained prominence when he promised to pick a woman to be his governing partner. Throughout the months leading up to Aug. 10, Biden and his selection team met with and vetted many women and came up with a shortlist of four finalists: former National Security Advisor and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the eventual pick California Sen. Kamala Harris. The resurgence of the Black Lives Matter protests across the U.S. after the killing of Geroge Floyd, brought diversity and race relations to the forefront of American discussion, heightening party leader and Black politicians’ calls for a Black woman on the ticket. Refusing the demand could have been a political suicide for the presumptive Democratic nominee.

“I personally think that she was the best pick for vice president because none of the other candidates had the name recognition or reputation to make a significant impact except for Warren," Dai said.

What She Brings

Harris’ fearlessness and charisma made her a strong candidate for the vice presidency. Throughout her time in Washington, she gained national attention for her questions for the Trump administration and its nominees, a skill that may be helpful in countering Trump’s attacks on the campaign trail. Although her experience as a prosecutor worries some, she is young, 55, compared to Biden, 77, brings geographical diversity to the ticket, excites democrats and can bring out minority voters.

“In this election, it's really important for Biden to gain the support of minority groups, which Harris can appeal to," Dai said.