Months after Democratic Party voters chose Joe Biden to be their nominee to be president, Biden’s chose the person who — let’s face some facts here — will end up being who America really votes on.
It’s widely suspected, probably not incorrectly, that his role as a political marathon runner who’s now mentally on mile 76 is to get the Democrats past the line and pass the baton to his running mate as he collapses. That baton will be passed, as widely suspected, to California Sen. Kamala Harris, the woman who vaulted to the top tier of the Democratic field by destroying Biden’s racial record during one of last year’s debates before her own downward trajectory was set into place when she was herself destroyed by Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard in another viral moment, this time over criminal justice reform.
However, there were other reasons why voters didn’t go for Harris, including the fact that her campaign machinery was broken from the moment it was assembled and that, when non-Biden Democrats were busy tasting flavors of the week, it didn’t help to be one of the first they tasted.
On Dec. 3, she announced she was dropping out of the race for the Democratic nomination for president, citing a lack of funds.
On Tuesday, she was chosen by Biden for a position not all that materially different than what she was running for.
“Back when Kamala was Attorney General, she worked closely with Beau,” Biden tweeted. “I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse. I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.”
In her own tweet, Harris said that Biden “can unify the American people because he’s spent his life fighting for us. And as president, he’ll build an America that lives up to our ideals.”
In its headline, The New York Times called the decision “a Choice at Once Safe and Energizing.” Of course it did.
The Trump campaign, however, had a different take on it.
In an ad released moments after Harris received the nod and posted by President Donald Trump to Twitter, the Trump campaign pointed out that she definitely isn’t “safe,” at least not in the establishment sense.
Her voting record, according to GovTrack.us, shows that she’s the fourth-most liberal senator in the current Congress by voting record; only Democratic Sens. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, respectively, are more liberal.
In terms of policies, she co-sponsored the Green New Deal in the Senate and supports a “Medicare for All” plan. While the Green New Deal has a cow’s flatus in hell’s chance of becoming law in a potential Biden administration, at least as the legislation is currently constituted, “Medicare for All” is very much on the table. Biden has been against the program — and while Biden’s Obamacare expansion is another ill-considered way to deal with our health care woes, it clearly beats de facto nationalized health care.
In calling Harris a safe choice, The Times wrote that she, like Biden, is “a thoroughly establishment-friendly figure” who has “hewed closely to [her] party’s mainstream for years.” If that’s true, it tells us quite a bit about the current Democratic Party.
The ad, meanwhile, also alludes to one of the great contradictions of the Harris pick. The assumption is that — given Harris’ race and her full-throated attack on Biden in one of the debates last year — she’ll be able to wallpaper over Biden’s racial problems. Or perhaps she’ll draw attention to them.
The presumptive Democratic nominee’s strange remarks regarding the homogeneity of the African-American voting bloc or his famous contention that if you’re myelinated and don’t know whether or not to vote for him then “you ain’t black” may seem like they would be meliorated by Harris joining the ticket.
The opposite could happen, though — not only could his past mistakes receive more attention, but any racial solecisms in the future are going to receive more scrutiny.
But the ad’s most devastating point is that the campaign now becomes about Kamala Harris — a candidate so thoroughly rejected by Democrats that she left the race before a single primary vote was counted.
Biden has referred to himself as a “transition candidate.” His appeal isn’t that he represents a bridge back to a different incarnation of the Democratic Party, one with a foot in reality. It’s that he’s not Donald Trump and looks moderate enough to act as a Trojan horse. It’s almost as if the real candidate is Harris — and even rank-and-file Democrats seem to know it.
In a Rasmussen survey released on Monday, 49 percent of Democrats said they thought it was likely Biden’s vice president would become president within four years. More worrying, 57 percent of unaffiliated voters and 73 percent of Republicans thought it was likely. While the survey of 1,000 likely voters was taken between Aug. 6-9, before Harris was announced as the nominee, that wouldn’t change Biden’s ability to make it through four years. In other words, not only does Biden’s campaign have to explain away their candidate’s gaffes, they also have to sell their shadow candidate — Kamala Harris.
For the left, she’s a former prosecutor. In 2020, that alone is enough of a red flag, no matter who you prosecuted. For the rest of the political spectrum, she’s simply too far to the left.
It’s clear the GOP and Trump campaign were ready for this — and they have more than enough ammunition to convince America that Kamala Harris is neither “safe” nor “energizing.”
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