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AMERICAN ELECTIONS – “Talented”, “not resentful”, “campaigned with me and Jill”, “a great help to the campaign”, “great respect for her”. This is how Kamala Harris was described in a note from Joe Biden, just days before the Democratic presidential candidate officially chose her as a running mate on Tuesday, August 11.
If the duo win on November 3, the California senator would become the first black vice president of the United States.
At 55 years old, the trajectory of this immigrant girl embodies the best of the American dream. Born in 1964 in Oakland, Kamala Harris grew up in progressive 1960s California, proud of her parents’ fight for civil rights: Jamaican father, economics professor and now-deceased Indian mother, a researcher specializing in breast cancer.
A law degree from the University of California, she accumulated two terms in San Francisco between 2004 and 2011, before being elected, twice, a California lawyer in 2011 and 2017. She later became the first woman, but also the first black person in leading the judiciary in the most populous state in the country.
In January 2017, she became the first woman from South Asia and the second black woman in the history of the United States Senate, as a representative from California.
The first black woman and vice president?
In late January 2019, he is running for the supreme office of the United States upon entering the race for the Democratic primary for the White House. Forced to surrender 12 months later, following disappointing debates, a loss of speed at the polls and a lack of funding, he has not disappeared from the political landscape. On the contrary.
After George Floyd’s death and the anti-racism protests that followed, Kamala Harris’s name began to circulate actively among those cited to become, in the event of a Democratic victory, Joe Biden’s vice president, pressured to choose a partner. of black formula or at least one symbol of greater diversity.
Since the beginning of April, Kamala Harris’s rating has started to climb, initially driven by her rankings during the coronavirus epidemic. With the George Floyd affair, she preceded her former rival Elizabeth Warren in the preferences of Democratic voters and managed to achieve more or less consensus among the supporters of the former candidates: 33% of the voters of Buttigieg and Bloomberg see her as the best running mate for vice presidency; it also scores an honorable 28% among Warren voters.
A controversial past (even among minorities)
However, Kamala Harris is not immune from criticism, especially in the current climate where the American police and justice are seen as the armed wing of an unequal system with respect to minorities. The reason? Her controversial record as California attorney general.
In January 2019, two days before the announcement of his candidacy for the White House, the publication ofa scathing editorial by a law professor at the New York Times It scratched the image of the senator, presented as “many times on the wrong side of history when she was a prosecutor.” This included, in particular, his opposition to the systematic use of cameras by the police, his refusal of a bill to impose an investigation in the event of a shooting involving the police, as well as his appeal procedure after a A judge declared in 2014 the unconstitutionality of the death penalty in the state. Her support for a California law that severely punishes parents of children who drop out of school has also been criticized, as it is seen to primarily affect minorities and the poor.
This more than mixed record has earned Kamala Harris criticism from associations that fight for civil liberties, but also from black and progressive voters.
In recent months, the senator has done everything possible to improve her image. And the death of George Floyd gave her the opportunity to defend her views on penal reform and put on a different face… with some success. “Her point of view on the George Floyd case, on how it should be handled, what justice can do … was one of the best speeches by elected officials,” she judged in Political an anti-racist activist, former member of the Sanders campaign. “It makes me feel more comfortable with the idea of having him as a possible vice president pick.”
Harris’s loyalty to Biden questioned
But Kamala Harris’s past may not be the only angle of attack that will open to Donald Trump. According to CNBC, internal pressure from major donors of Joe Biden’s campaign so that the choice of the candidate falls on Susan Rice, former ambassador of Barack Obama, Val Demings, representative of Florida in the House or Tammy Duckworth, senator from Illinois and retired lieutenant colonel of the army.
Critics of Kamala Harris are particularly questioning his loyalty to ‘Joe’, as he amiably called him at the start of the primary campaign, before hardening his rhetoric with a scathing attack on the former vice president’s past positions. -President on racial segregation in the 1970s, which rocked the first Democratic debate. And this, despite Kamala Harris showing her support for Joe Biden since his retirement from the race. “With Joe Biden as President, we can build an America in accordance with our ideals,” he said. tweeted the principal interested on July 29, when speculation abounded.
For his part, the person repeats at will that he will choose someone who is “understanding” with him, remembering his own good understanding with Barack Obama. “It is very important that whoever you choose as vice president agrees with you on your governance philosophy, on the fundamental things you want to change,” Biden said.
They have less than three short to convince Americans that the duo is really solid.
See also in The HuffPost: Joe Biden’s date to Kamala Harris went wrong during the Democratic debate