Wishing Senator Kamala Harris well

Editorial

Wishing Senator Kamala Harris well

Thursday, August 13, 2020

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Jamaicans here and abroad are still brimming with pride and excitement at Mr Joe Biden's selection of Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate in the upcoming United States presidential election.

If the polls are correct, and remain unchanged, Senator Harris, who has Jamaican heritage, will become the vice-president of the US in January 2021.

Ms Harris is the daughter of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father, Mr Donald J Harris, a very distinguished former professor of economics at Stanford University who resides in Washington, DC. He was a graduate and faculty member of The University of the West Indies.

Born in Oakland, California, Ms Harris is a graduate of Howard University and Hastings College of the Law at the University of California.

In 2003, she was elected the 27th district attorney of San Francisco. Seven years later Ms Harris was elected attorney general of California and was re-elected in 2014. In November 2016 she defeated Ms Loretta Sanchez in the US Senate election.

Her brilliance, charm, and advocacy made her stand out among a crowded field seeking the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party. And while she eventually ended her campaign, we cannot ignore the fact that the first-term California senator had raised US$1.5 million within 24 hours of announcing her intention to run for the US presidency. That suggests she has a support base that will be vital to the Democratic Party's bid to oust President Donald Trump in November.

Additionally, her ethnicity, gender, and age are expected to attract voters who, in the November 2016 election, were hesitant about supporting the Democrats.

There's no doubt that Senator Harris's qualities also contributed to Mr Biden's decision to choose her from his shortlist, which also included Ms Susan Rice, daughter of Jamaican parents and former advisor to President Barack Obama.

In fact, word from the US is that Senator Harris was the front-runner from the moment Mr Biden announced in March that he would pick a woman to be his running mate.

Political analysts in the US are also saying that choosing Ms Harris makes sense because, given her track record of public service, plus her performance in the Democratic Party debates, she is a known quantity, thus limiting the possibility of surprises that could have a negative effect on Mr Biden's poll numbers — which remain impressive going into the final two months of campaigning.

An interesting scenario for the Democratic Party, which is ethnically diverse and mostly young, is the real possibility of Senator Harris becoming the lead figure, either in four years if Mr Biden — who is now 77 — does not win the White House, or if he becomes president and does not seek re-election, or in another eight years if he is victorious at the polls and serves two full terms.

Whichever script plays out we have no doubt that Senator Harris is up to the task.

We congratulate Senator Harris and wish her well.


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