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NAACP National Convention 2023

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It has been almost three years since then-candidate Joe Biden made one of the most consequential decisions for his campaign and the nation – naming Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate.

Now, I understand that as we celebrate this anniversary with the 2024 elections looming before us, it’s easy to look at that historic moment through the lens of political gamesmanship or cynicism. It was easy to talk about how the Biden campaign needed a young, Black woman on the ticket to counter the “another old white man” syndrome columnists like to write about. It was easy to look at geographic and demographic balance and Harris’ ability to deliver in states like Pennsylvania, Georgia and California.

But, the truth is that – whether as District Attorney, Attorney General, Senator or Vice President – Kamala Harris has been a strong and constant voice on some of the most important issues of our time from voting rights and housing to job creation and climate change.

Oh, don’t take my word for it. Look at the fact that, as California’s Attorney General, she won a $20 billion settlement for Californians whose homes had been foreclosed on and a $1.1 billion settlement for students and veterans who were taken advantage of by a for-profit education company. Look at the anti-lynching bill she wrote and passed as a Senator in 2018, look at her legislation to preserve and support HBCUs, look at her campaign for rent relief and her fight to bring badly needed resources to low-income communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But it’s not just the distant or near past we’re looking at here. It was a hot afternoon in Jacksonville, Florida when Vice President Kamala Harris took the stage at the Ritz Theater & Museum when the Vice-President took the stage to blister Gov. Ron DeSantis and the MAGA Republicans trying to “replace history with lies.” And it wasn’t just the weather.

Let me tell you, watching the Vice President tearing into “so-called leaders” pushing white supremacist propaganda into our classrooms to convince a generation of children that slavery was actually a good thing, was a thing of beauty and no one watching could deny the truth. That wasn’t the “Harris the Politician” the pundits like to criticize. That was “Harris the Leader” was right there before their eyes.

Maybe they see it now.

Maybe they can see the girl whose parents taught her about Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and took her to civil rights demonstrations when she’s fighting against a court gone crazy and standing up in Des Moines Iowa for women across America who’ve had their right to choose stolen away.

Maybe they can see the Attorney General who defended the Affordable Care Act in court when she’s fighting to improve maternal health or standing up for two Black legislators expelled from the GOP-controlled Tennessee State House for daring to speak out after a 28-year-old gunman fired 152 rounds killing three adults and three children in Nashville.

Maybe they can see “Harris the Leader” when she’s taking the lead on voting rights, helping this administration create new high-tech jobs like building the world’s largest semiconductor site and calling out crazy right-wing candidates who claim slaves actually benefited from slavery.

Time and again, President Biden has talked about this election and the last as a fight for the “Soul of America” and, whether it’s speaking to the NAACP in Boston or Everytown for Gun Safety in Chicago, Vice President Kamala Harris is showing us not only that this fight is real, but that she’s right there on the front lines. And that matters because, in a world so dominated by Trump headlines and country music controversy, it’s easy to feel isolated and ignored, like we keep getting shouted down because we’re out here on our own. But we’re not alone.

“Harris the Leader” is with us leading by example and, through her courage, showing us that we don’t have to be afraid. You see, the MAGA crowd is shouting so loudly because, at the end of the day, they’re afraid. They’re afraid because, when even Budweiser can tell that you’ve gone off the deep end, their old game of divide and conquer isn’t going to work anymore. They’re afraid because you can’t cult chant “Lock Her Up” when he’s the one under indictment. They’re afraid because they can’t scare us with angry scowls and tiki torches because Vice President Kamala Harris is on the scene…and she has our back.

Antjuan Seawright (@antjuansea) is a Democratic political strategist, founder and CEO of Blueprint Strategy LLC, a CBS News political contributor, and a senior visiting fellow at Third Way 


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