Kamala Harris: Trump's Trump Card

After Biden's vow to choose a woman as his vice presidential nominee, many have speculated who it would be. As Patrick Buchanan pointed out, this single choice eliminated over half of the Democratic Party's current governors and senators with 17 of 24 governors and 30 of 47 senators being eliminated in an instant. This pool narrowed even further after the George Floyd protests with popular pressure practically restricting Biden to the choice of a woman of color, with many speculating about figures such as Susan Rice, Stacey Abrams, and Kamala Harris. As of August 12, 2020, there is no longer need any need for speculation; the only one of the three to be a standing senator, Kamala Harris, has been chosen and she may be the worst choice Biden could have made.

Beginning with the senator herself, Harris seems to be a walking contradiction in many respects. As someone who claims to be for criminal justice reform she is also labeled a "cop" by her progressive critics for her high conviction rate and lack of passion in pursuing wrongful convictions and police shootings as District Attorney of San Francisco. As someone in support of reparations "to help African Americans heal from the trauma of slavery", she has not acknowledged her own familial past of slave ownership in Jamaica, a claim made by her own father. As someone who claims to be hard on "social media companies' handling of political speech", she also has strong ties with Silicon Valley, garnering more support from Bigtech than almost any other candidate in living memory. Perhaps most glaringly, however, Harris has personally attacked Joe Biden as a sex offender, stating that she believed the accusers charges of sexual harassment and sexual assault, but then accepted his vice presidential offer without retracting her previous claims, raising alarms of why she would accept the offer of an alleged sex offender. Regardless of her seeming contradictions, Harris does offer some use to the Biden campaign, namely her ability to appeal to Hollywood and Silicon Valley elites.

 As for what Harris brings to the table for the Biden campaign, it is primarily her appeal to urban and suburban progressives and moderates as well as her strong backing from west coast elites in the Silicon Valley and Hollywood. It is in this way that Harris will benefit the Biden campaign greatly, because backing from such institutions will mean financial support as well as advertising, guest appearances, and interviews. Harris is of additional use in this regard, because she can act as his mouthpiece to appeal to the progressive crowd as a fresher face at the age of 55 (compared to Biden's 77), as well as appealing to the more diversity-minded as the daughter of a Jamaican man and Indian woman. Additionally, Harris's younger age and ethnic background not only allows her to potentially energize demographics Biden has struggled to energize in the past, but also allows her to act as his dynamo, energizing his base and aggressively engaging his opponents, both of which Biden has largely failed to do despite his success in the polls.

 All that being said, Kamala Harris actually seems to have been one of the lesser choices for Biden to succeed, primarily because in order for Biden to win, he needs to split off working class and suburban Americans from the Trump coalition, especially in the Midwest and East Coast. For this reason, the logical choice would have been Elizabeth Warren due to her appeal to Midwestern voters and her hard stance against Big Business and Big Tech which could have garnered support from moderates as well as siphon off disaffected middle and working class Trump voters. Because of this blunder, the choice of Harris has left the Midwest and East Coast competitive with Harris' reputation of radicalism potentially scaring off moderates and energizing Trump's base.

Additionally, her strong support for Black Lives Matter and defunding police as well as her stance on policies such as reparations for slavery will likely scare away suburban and working class voters which are essential to winning swing states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. Lastly, as the polls showed during her bid for president, Harris failed in her home state of California after a previous surge in the polls, suggesting that Harris cannot capitalize on momentum in her campaigning, a skill that will be essential in the months leading up to the election.

It is regarding these weaknesses that Trump can turn the choice of Harris from a bane to a boon. With the Midwest and East Coast still competitive, Trump can appeal to working and middle class Americans by driving home the point that Harris is a radical that will likely become president herself due to Biden's old age. Additionally, Trump can accentuate Harris' radicalism to siphon off moderates and highlight her connections with Big Business to discourage progressives. With traditionally blue states such as Virginia having promising conditions for a Middle American reaction, Democrat-leaning demographics becoming disillusioned after the BLM protests that have devastated their communities, and the potential that the polls are undervaluing Trump's support just as they did in the 2016 election, this election could very well be for Trump to win or lose. Depending on how Trump handles the coming months and if he takes advantage of Biden and Harris' many weaknesses, this election could be a landslide in either direction.


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