10 Reactions to Biden Picking Kamala Harris

Opinion writers are weighing in
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2020 4:32 AM CDT
Updated Aug 12, 2020 5:05 AM CDT
10 Reactions to Biden Picking Kamala Harris
In this March 9, 2020, file photo, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks at a campaign rally for Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden at Renaissance High School in Detroit.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

The reactions are pouring in, and the consensus is that Kamala Harris was the safe pick for Joe Biden's running mate—but that she's also an exciting one. Our roundup:

  • The choice was "groundbreaking" (a woman of color) yet also "conventional," as Biden elevated "a senator who brings generational and coastal balance to the Democratic ticket and shares his center-left politics at a time of progressive change in the party," write Jonathan Martin and Astead W. Herndon in the New York Times. Harris is "establishment-friendly," yet the choice is still "energizing," in part because Biden is "taking direct aim at [President] Trump’s brand of racial grievance politics." (Full piece here.)
  • "The significance of this decision cannot be overstated," writes Julia Craven in Slate. "Harris is the first Black woman, the first Asian woman, and the first graduate of a historically Black university to be selected as the running mate for a major-party candidate." Yet Craven notes there is also a "litany of concerns about Harris’ political record—and her reluctance to fully address" those concerns. (Full piece here.)

  • Biden has done more than select a VP nominee—he's "all but anointed an heir, positioning Harris as the future standard bearer of a party in transition," write Molly Ball and Charlotte Alter in Time. They note that "analysts described Harris as a sort of Goldilocks choice: not too far left or too inexperienced, she would neither jeopardize a Democratic Senate seat nor give the GOP unnecessary ammunition." (Full piece here.)
  • At the Atlantic, Edward-Isaac Dovere points out that Biden himself has said he considers himself a "bridge" to a new generation of leaders that will carry the Democratic Party forward. More than two decades younger than Biden, Harris "is now the odds-on favorite to be the Democratic nominee after Biden, whether that’s in 2024 or 2028," he writes. (Full piece here.)
  • "It is a measure of these extraordinary times that Joe Biden's historic choice for vice president was also the most conventional," writes David Axelrod at CNN. No one was exactly surprised at the reveal, and she's "unlikely to thrill or outrage many." The choice indicates that Biden "is focused like a laser on November, and he views Harris as the best bet to win." (Full piece here.)
  • But don't expect her to "make or break the 2020 election," writes Christopher Devine at the Moderate Voice. Analysis has shown that voters rarely make a selection based on running mate. (Full piece here.)
  • At Politico, David Siders might beg to differ. Though he acknowledges running mates don't typically matter, he argues Harris might. Biden's own insistence that he's a "transition candidate" puts more weight on her, he writes. (Full piece here.)
  • Harris' vigorous campaigning against Biden, back when she was running for president, likely helped her out, writes EJ Dionne at the Washington Post. "If she was, at moments, very tough on Biden on matters related to race, she was even tougher in everything she said about Trump." (Full piece here.)
  • On a similar note, here's John Nichols' headline at the Nation: "Kamala Harris Will Shred Mike Pence in the Vice Presidential Debate." Yes, the presidential debates will matter more, "but the Democrats need to build momentum at every turn, and a pummeling of Pence by Harris will do that," he writes. (Full piece here.)
  • One thing is clear: "Black women have been waiting for Kamala Harris far too long," writes Chryl Laird at the New York Times. Black women are the Democratic Party's "most loyal members," yet their commitment often goes "unacknowledged." It's not yet clear whether Harris' selection is "simply symbolic, a token gesture" or whether it truly recognizes the importance of Black women to the party. (Full piece here.)

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