The political board for the November presidential elections in the United States was defined this Tuesday.
The candidate of the Democratic Party, Joe Biden, announced Senator Kamala Harris as his pairing to face Donald Trump and Mike Pence, current president and vice president, respectively.
With this left behind speculations that saw her as a running mate even before Joe Biden ran into the White House, Kamala Harris had joked that, on the contrary, if he won, the former vice president would be an “excellent right hand man. “.
With a brilliant career, worthy of the best American dream despite controversial chapters, the 55-year-old senator who dreamed of becoming the first black president of the United States will finally try in November to become the first vice president of the country.
Although for many, he will undoubtedly continue with his sights set on the 2024 presidential elections and the hope of breaking the last glass ceiling.
“My mother often told me: Kamala, you could be the first to accomplish many things. Make sure you are not the last,” Harris was fond of repeating during his ill-fated Democratic primary campaign, which he ended in December.
Since the beginning of her career, this daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India has been a pioneer.
After two terms as a prosecutor in San Francisco (2004-2011), she was twice elected California prosecutor (2011-2017), becoming the first woman, but also the first black person, to lead the state’s judicial services more. town of the country.
Then, in January 2017, she was sworn into the Senate in Washington, becoming the first woman with roots in South Asia to reach the Upper House, and the second black senator in US history.
A couple that started with seizures
Harris is well acquainted with the Democratic White House candidate, whom she sometimes simply calls “Joe” in public, because she was close to her son Beau, who died of cancer in 2015.
But as a Democratic presidential candidate, she came as a surprise by lashing out at Biden during the party’s first debate in 2019, questioning his positions on policies to end racial segregation in the 1970s.
Then, Harris told with emotion, how, as a child, she traveled in one of the buses that took black schoolchildren to white neighborhoods. The bitter exchange with former Barack Obama deputy president made her skyrocket in the polls.
But despite a campaign start with great fanfare in front of more than 20,000 people, he quickly fell in the polls, without being able to clearly define his candidacy.
After finally dropping out of the primaries before the first ballots in February, Harris announced his endorsement of Biden in March.
Some allies of former Vice President Barack Obama did not forgive him for not having sufficiently retracted his criticism and warned against an overly “ambitious” running mate, an assessment considered sexist by Harris supporters.
But his experience in the legislative, judicial and executive branches and a personality that mixes contagious laughter and toughness as a former prosecutor, finally overcame those fears.
Harris grew up in Oakland, progressive California in the 1960s, proud of her parents’ fight for civil rights: a Jamaican economics professor and a now-deceased Tamil Indian breast cancer researcher.
He studied at Howard University, founded in Washington to host segregated African-American students, and regularly remembers his membership in the Alpha Kappa Alpha Black Student Association.
Married since August 2014 to Douglas Emhoff, a lawyer and father of two, Kamala Harris puts her family first: she had chosen her sister Maya to lead her failed candidacy for the primaries.
Usually scathing with his opponents, President Donald Trump had said in July that it would be “a good choice” for Biden.
The Republican mogul “has no idea how to handle or qualify Kamala Harris,” reacted his spokesman when she was a candidate, Ian Sams. “He is baffled with strong women like her.”
In the Senate, Harris became known for her sometimes chilling interrogations during high-tension hearings. As a candidate for the primaries, she had also promised to “lead the charge” against Trump.
But his past as a prosecutor also weighs against him. From South Carolina to Michigan, black and progressive voters lament his reputation for toughness. They particularly question his initiatives as a prosecutor to heavily punish minor crimes that, according to his critics, affected minorities more than anything.
When meeting with voters, his warm image also contrasts with some rigidity, sometimes showing a lack of authenticity.
“Some, especially among young black people, see it as part of the problem, not the solution,” said David Barker, a political science professor at American University in Washington.
It remains to be seen whether Kamala Harris will now be able to mobilize this potentially key electorate to reach, along with Joe Biden, the White House.
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