The results are in.
Joe Biden has selected California Sen. Kamala Harris to be his vice-presidential running mate in the 2020 election. The presumptive Democratic nominee made the announcement Tuesday afternoon after months and months of speculation.
Biden made Black history — and American history — by making Harris the first African American woman to be chosen to run for the prestigious political post.
The world already knew Biden would pick a woman and was vetting multiple potential candidates, but his decision was kept under wraps until the last minute in what seemed like the best-kept secret.
She The People, a group that urged Biden to pick a Black woman, applauded his decision.
“This is one step in a much larger fight for representation towards the multi-racial Democracy women of color have dreamed of, fought for and bled for, for generations,” the group said in part of a brief statement e-mailed to NewsOne. “We need Black, Latina, Indigenous, and Asian American women leading at every level of American politics.”
Political group Democracy For America said the selection of Harris has vast cultural/political implications beyond just the government’s executive branch.
“Vice President Biden’s selection of Senator Kamala Harris gives Democrats an historic opportunity to defeat Donald Trump, break through a glass ceiling for Black women, and win majorities in both the House and the Senate that can deliver the bold progressive reforms we need to restore America,” Democracy For America said in an e-mailed statement.
Biden’s highly anticipated announcement came after months of speculation about whether he would choose a Black woman.
It was only this week when a group of more than 100 Black male leaders used the most forceful language yet by “requiring” Biden to pick a Black woman running mate. The statement — which was backed up by major star power with the likes of some of the biggest names in entertainment, politics, religion and politics — came a week after a series of racist attacks against the Black women reportedly on Biden’s shortlist of people he is considering to join him at the top of the Democratic ticket.
That statement followed the Concerned Black Women Leaders group writing an open letter to denounce “racist” attacks on the Black women Biden has been considering, including Stacey Abrams, California Rep. Karen Bass, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Florida Rep. Val Demings and former National Security Adviser Susan Rice.
“We are not your Aunt Jemimas,” the open letter from the Concerned Black Women Leaders said in part in reference to a Virginia mayor who used the racist comparison in a recent Facebook post that he eventually deleted.
Using less specific terms, She the People — “a national network connecting women of color to transform our democracy” — similarly implored Biden against considering white women to be his running mate. Reacting in May to the news that Biden was vetting Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, She The People called it “a dangerous and reckless choice.” She The People wnt on to insist that “The Biden campaign needs to choose a woman of color who will solidify the multiracial coalition we need to win.”
Even still, it was unclear who Biden was planning to pick up until the last minute. He was relatively mum on the topic and very noncommital on the multiple occasions he was asked if he would select a Black woman. He did, however, indicate that no matter who runs alongside him, his cabinet “will look like America,” suggesting it would have the same multi-cultural makeup as the United States’ population. “Both from vice president to Supreme Court to Cabinet positions to every major position in the White House. It’s critically important that be the case.”
An analysis in the Washington Post last month suggested that Biden has already let on that he would not be selecting a Black woman to be his running mate. Noting that Biden has previously said he wants a running mate who is “simpatico with me, both in terms of personality as well as substance,” the Post suggested that was near impossible with a Black woman because “many of [Biden’s] deepest political alliances are with people of similar backgrounds, mainly white men.”
A poll in April found that Biden running with a Black candidate could boost his chances of winning the 2020 election.
Picking a white running mate could have been seen as a slap in the face of African Americans since Black voters have been largely credited with propelling Biden’s candidacy after Sanders jumped out to an early lead following the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire primary in two very white states.
The logic behind choosing a Black woman as a running mate stems from the 2016 election when Hillary Clinton failed to turn out Black voters. In particular, 4.4 million voters decided against voting at all, including one-third of them who were Black, according to the Washington Post. If Biden chooses a Black running mate, that should, in theory, spur more of those voters who sat out the last election to participate this time around with most of them, in all likelihood, casting ballots against Donald Trump and ensuring a Democratic victory.
Biden made his announcement less than a week before the Democratic National Convention begins Monday. The week-long event has already locked down some high profile nightly keynote speeches, including Michelle Obama on Monday, Jill Biden on Tuesday, Barack Obama on Wednesday, and Biden’s nominee acceptance speech on Thursday. The convention was originally planned for Milwaukee but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event had to be planned remotely.
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