The choice of one’s Presidential running mate, the potential future Vice President is one of the set piece TV moments of the modern American Electoral season especially for a contending candidate. Usually done and dusted in spring, Covid19 etc has pushed the choice back somewhat.
So we watched with mild interest as Biden finally got round to fronting up Kamala Harris as his choice of side kick. Harris being Robin to Biden’s Batman.
But what role we might wonder does a Presidential running mate have? What does she literally bring to the party? And does Kamala have it?
A classic VP candidate is expected to do several things for the contender and party.
First – Bring a State in (usually their home state) that otherwise might be lost. Here I am thinking of Lyndon B Johnson who brought Texas and large parts of the South to Kennedy’s 1960 Presidential run. Kamala brings California. California, the most Democrat state in the union? Like Biden could not have counted on it beforehand? It certainly doesn’t have a popular vote that needs strengthened. And no additional Electoral College votes here either.
Second – Bring in a constituency that the principal does not address. Clearly with Kamala that would be the black vote. A voting constituency pretty much already sewn up by the Dems. Indeed there may even be a down side to Kamala’s ethnicity it that like Obama she might both be not black enough and also the wrong kind of black, in that her father is Jamaican and not part of the mainstream American Black community and thus split from their heritage and struggle. There may be a feeling she does not speak for them.
Third – Bring in monies otherwise unavailable. Kamala Harris has never been a rain maker. It’s simply not in her skill set. During her own (rather short) presidential run raising money was a constant issue. Sadly she cannot raise money, when campaigns in United stated run on cash not ideas.
In summary Kamala Harris will not bring a state they do not already have, nor a vote they cannot already count on, far less a dollar they have not banked. Winners like this I can find any day.
So, what does she bring?
Kamala Harris is considered a good foil to Biden. She is young, important when Biden is pushing eighty, sharp where Biden is appearing fuddled, educated, professional and black (ish). A trained lawyer with a ferociously forensic attention to detail, where Biden is shall we say a broader brush sort of guy, Harris is Biden’s attack dog.
The MSM Democrat based press and media love her and are going overboard to lard on the praise at every opportunity. Oh how Trump is now so doomed!
Biden thinks he is leading. Biden thinks despite her well-known leftist sympathies she can be controlled by him. Biden thinks she makes him a winner.
How much she has to offer to the undecided or the independent voter is less clear. Will they appreciate her hard-nosed sometimes abrasive style? Are black candidates more likely to be accepted after the riots and BLM have upset so many of the voters the Dems so badly need or not? Will these voters step across when there is a fair chance Biden might fall off his perch in Term One and they would end up with President Harris?
Or will they conclude that whatever the shouting, a VP candidate never makes a huge difference and that the election is still……………………..all about Trump?
Copyright David Macadam 2020