Joe Biden and Kamala Harris
Carli Pierson, The Independent
It’s hard to get away from talk of the 2020 election and aside from Trump, former vice president Joe Biden seems to be getting the most airtime. As Biden continues to climb in the polls, rumours abound that so-called “middle class Joe” (he’s not middle class) could form a dream team with former California Attorney General and now Senator Kamala Harris. But if this is the ticket the Democratic establishment ends up pushing, then they are reading Americans wrong. The third time isn’t always a charm.
When I first read that the Congressional Black Caucus, among other Democrats, were suggesting that a Biden-Harris ticket was being thrown around as a winning combination to beat Trump, I wasn’t surprised. In an effort to make his ticket more diverse, McCain was the first to try out this strategy in 2008, when he made the terrible decision to nominate Sarah Palin as his VP. Not that Palin and Senator Harris are comparable, because they have almost nothing in common as people. But the way in which a woman, and in this case a black woman, has been thrown into the conversation to balance out an otherwise typical campaign (think wealthy white guy running for president) is familiar.
If Biden became the Democratic nominee and actually managed to beat Trump in the 2020 elections, which I seriously doubt he could, even then Harris as VP would have little effect on American policymaking purely based on the job description. Let’s not fool ourselves: the vice president’s position is mostly ceremonial.
They make trips the president can’t make, speak at events the president cannot attend and, yes, they advise the White House – but they are not the main decision maker nor are they the face of this country. And if Biden’s handling of the Anita Hill hearings in 1991 on the panel that he chaired, or his recent lacklustre efforts to make amends, are any indicator of how he intends to proceed, then we can’t expect racially progressive miracles any time soon.
Even still presuming Biden were able to beat Trump in 2020, in the same way that Pence cannot temper Trump›s complete lack of decorum, intellect or ambitions to do business with Russia, Harris cannot “balance out” Biden’s white male privilege, his inappropriateness, or his blasé middle-of-the road “old white guy” establishment politics on issues like climate change, healthcare, the criminal justice system, racial inequality, school violence, and sexual harassment in the workplace.
American citizens didn’t elect freshman congresswomen and senators like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Krysten Sinema, Sharice Davids, or Deb Haaland because they wanted another uninspiring white guy to run America after Trump – they elected them because they wanted change. Big change, real change. I will concede that almost anything would be better than another Trump presidency, but I don’t think Democrats should be so conservative in their pick for the nomination, because I don’t think it will work.
In the MeToo era, the era of “I can’t breathe” police brutality, the era of an opioid crisis the likes of which we’ve never seen before, the era of a planet on the verge of an irretractable global warming crisis, the need for a major shift in US domestic and international policy has never been more urgent. And the voices of Americans haven’t been this loud since the civil rights movement in the 1960’s.
Biden represents the past and Democrats need to look to the future. If they don’t it, very well may be another four years of Trump — and not even God can save America if that happens.
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