RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - With the announcement that 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden has chosen Kamala Harris as his running mate, political analyst and VCU professor, Dr. Diedre Condit, says the stage has been set for what’s sure to be one of the most significant presidential races in our nation’s history.
Condit says she is not surprised by Biden’s pick, saying that he has faced mounting pressure from within the Democratic party and amongst voters to address the issue of diversity within the party.
“There are different pressures on Biden’s campaign because of the scope and breadth and diversity within the Democratic party and African American women, and other women of color have said it’s time for them to be represented on the ticket,” said Condit.
Harris is now the third woman to be selected as a vice-presidential pick after former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin in 2008 and Ferraro Mondale in 1984 elections, but Condit says Harris’ selection as the first woman of color may be the most significant aspect of this pick, especially for African American voters
“We know that African American voters did not turn out in the same numbers in 2016 that they turned out in 2008,” said Condit. “But there are African American women throughout the South in major states, and in major states whose voices I think have been heard because of this choice.”
As for political strengths, Condit says Harris will be able to provide a fresh perspective to Biden’s campaign given the fact that Harris is one of the youngest candidates first serving as a senator in 2017.
“Usually, presidential candidates look for some kind of geographic diversity and Biden certainly gets that with Kamala Harris,” said Condit. “She has now run a national presidential campaign herself, she has been widely vetted, she has been on the stage, she knows the grind and she knows the process.”
But Condit says Harris’ experience as a prosecutor and attorney general may also be a liability.
Shortly after Biden announced his Harris as his running mate, the Republican Party of Virginia went on the offense releasing a statement that said in part that ‘Harris exemplifies the worst parts of the Democratic Party: petty fighting, grandstanding, putting Party before People, and flip-flopping on almost every issue.'
The Virginia GOP further criticized Harris’s role as a prosecutor saying she championed laws that led to the inequalities we are seeing today.
“We’re stepping back and trying to understand how the power of the state and coercive power of the state through police power to create unfair and discriminatory practices and dangerous practices against people of color,” said Condit.
Condit says if Biden and Harris are to succeed in the current political climate, they need to be a unified front against the opposition.
“Obama and Joe Biden really were strong partners,” said Condit. “Biden handled big chunks of the administrative policymaking under the Obama administration and I think that if Kamal Harris steps in and is that parallel partner with Joe Biden, I think it advantages their ticket.”
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