The Biden-Harris ticket

Joe Biden selected Senator Kamala Harris of California as his running mate on Tuesday. She is the first Black woman, and the first person of Indian descent, to be nominated for national office by a major party.
In Monday’s newsletter, we looked at some of the factors weighing on Biden’s decision. Today we turned to our colleague Alex Burns, who covered the announcement, to explain why Biden decided on Harris.
1. Broad appeal. Harris, long viewed as a rising Democratic star and an embodiment of the party’s diversity, was a relatively safe pick. She falls comfortably within the mainstream, but her embrace of a more left-leaning agenda as a presidential candidate last year meant that “liberals never mobilized against her during the V.P. search,” Alex told us.
2. Governing chops. Harris’s experience and pragmatism sync with Biden’s political style. Her ideological flexibility also matches his recent openness to more left-leaning economic and racial-justice policies amid the pandemic and protests over police violence.
3. Political panache. Harris sharply criticized Biden during a primary debate last year over his opposition to busing as a means of integrating public schools, an attack that left some advisers wary of putting her on the ticket. Picking Harris suggests a recognition that her more energetic style could prove an asset.
Still, some wariness persists. Some in the Biden campaign privately worry that moderate and center-right white voters will balk at Harris — “especially given how freely President Trump attacks his opponents on the basis of race and gender,” Alex says. “After 2016, there’s just a different degree of concern about the way racism can shape close elections.”
But if Trump loses, the decision could also shape the Democratic Party for years to come. A President Biden who chooses not to seek a second term could leave Harris the de facto party leader — and a front-runner to become the first female president.
The two are expected to appear together in Wilmington, Del., today.
More on Harris:
Our politics team has much more coverage of the pick, including: where Harris stands on the issues, a look back at her political history and how she came to be fluent in both activist and establishment circles.“The significance of this decision and its meaning for Black women, the most loyal members of the Democratic Party, cannot be overstated,” Chryl Laird, a Bowdoin College political scientist, writes in a Times Op-Ed.“Biden seriously considered others but returned to Harris as the ‘do no harm’ candidate, unlikely to thrill or outrage many,” David Axelrod, Barack Obama’s former senior adviser, writes for CNN
Bill Fuller

Bill Fuller

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