Historically, the point of the running mate in a presidential campaign is to attempt to win a base that the nomination is slacking on. John Kennedy picked Lyndon Johnson primarily to help him in the South during the 1960 Presidential Election. In 1980, Ronald Reagan picked George Bush in order to get votes from moderate Republicans who were not on board with Reagan’s ways. In 1988, George Bush then picked Dan Quayle in an attempt to appeal to younger voters through picking a pretty boy. In 2000, George W. Bush tackled claims that he was idiotic and inarticulate by picking the entirely plotting Dick Cheney. And in 2008, Barack Obama feared he would not be able to win the votes of old white men, so he picked an old white man in the form of Joe Biden.
This is something both major candidates in 2016 did very well on. Hillary Clinton picked her opposite in the form of an unknown liberal named Tim Kaine, who was also from the Republican leaning swing state of Virginia, which Clinton won. Meanwhile, Donald Trump struggled with the traditional Republican base of family value Christians, so he picked a cartoon version of those voters named Mike Pence who had previously gotten national media coverage for trying to implement legislation that would allow companies to discriminate against LGBT people.
If Clinton had picked Dianne Feinstein, another well-known moderate Democrat with many scandals, we would all be scratching our heads. Same as if Trump had picked another bombastic conservative with controversies related to his family values like Roy Moore or Ted Haggard.
To put it simply, Joe Biden picking Kamala Harris is not comparable to what I just named. Instead, it would be more accurate to say it’s as if Joe Biden didn’t pick a running mate, or chose himself to be his own running mate, rather. Kamala brings nothing new to the table that Biden didn’t already have. She’s from a state Democrats were already going to win, and represents demographics that saved Biden’s campaign during the South Carolina primary.
Throughout this race, I have noted Biden struggled with two groups of people, progressives and swing state voters. Swing state voters are what screwed Clinton over in 2016, and as such Biden should make extra sure he’s appealing to them. The same with progressives, as many of them simply did not show up to vote during 2016 (although only around 92% of the ones that did voted for Clinton), which many cite as the reason Trump won.
My original plan to help Biden counter both these issues is pick a swing state progressive. My recommend choice was Ohio Senator Sharrod Brown, however if he truly wished to pick a black woman, Stacey Abrams (who’s from a red state even) or Nina Turner would have also been great choices.
I understand why Biden picked Harris — the Democratic Party told him to. Since 2017, the DNC has been trying nonstop to make Kamala Harris a thing, with CNN infamously putting her in the spotlight as a top 2020 candidate despite the Democratic Primary basically always being between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. This went so far as running a mini-documentary on the life of Kamala Harris basically only for the purposes of hyping her up.
During her own Presidential campaign, Harris showed she was simply unable to keep the attention of the people. Her most famous moment on the debate stage was getting attacked by Tulsi Gabbard, and calling the man she’s the running mate for a racist.
That’s another thing, Harris and Biden have had an awful relationship professionally. Just last week, it was found that Biden had to write down a list of nice things to say about Kamala Harris. Meanwhile, Harris has embraced the smear that Biden is racist as well as the attacks against her by Tara Reade, both of which have been used by Republicans since.
But seriously, I think the main reason Biden picked her was because Barack Obama picked him in 2008 despite his Presidential Campaign being comparably bad. However, again, Biden was picked because Obama was struggling with a base Biden does well with, who does Kamala do well with, the exact same people Biden does.
Here are all of the failed 2020 candidates that would have better covered Biden’s bases then Kamala Harris:
- Bernie Sanders (progressive)
- Tulsi Gabbard (progressive)
- Elizabeth Warren (progressive)
- Pete Buttigieg (from a Republican state)
- Andrew Yang (progressive)
- Cory Booker (from a swing state)
- Julian Castro (from a Republican state)
- Steve Bullock (from a swing state)
- Tim Ryan — I’m being dead serious (from a swing state)
- Bill De Blasio (progressive)
- Richard Ojeda (from a swing state)
That’s eleven failed 2020 candidates that would have been much better choices than Kamala Harris of all people.
In truth, I think the only reason Biden went along with her is as an attempt to end the smear that he’s a racist (which Kamala used against him!). However, the same day he made this pick Trump released an ad on Twitter calling Biden a racist over past comments. These are the same people who (as I covered in my book) used Biden greving over the death of his friend as a reason to call him a racist. These people are vicious monsters who should be exposed to sunlight, not tried to appeal to.
I have many ideas as for why Biden picked Kamala, not of them make sense, but they’re reasons he’d do this nonetheless.