Politics, Road to the White House

Indian American Senator Kamala Harris leading Biden’s VP stakes

Kamala Harris; photo credit: Office of the Attorney General, California

Former San Francisco mayor advises Harris to “politely decline” the honor.

Amid media reports that Indian-American senator Kamala Harris “remains the favorite” to be presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s running mate, former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown advised her to “politely decline” the honor.

Harris “remains the favorite to get the nod” as Biden’s VP pick, reported the Hill newspaper citing “confidants and longtime allies to Biden” as saying she “makes the most sense as a running mate during the campaign and as a governing partner for him on Capitol Hill.”

“Harris would appear to be a candidate who would be the easiest to sell to all the varied constituencies that make up the Democratic coalition,” Democratic strategist Joel Payne was quoted as saying.

“Harris is a low-risk pick because she appeals to so many different Democratic groups,” he told the Hill adding, “It would also appear that her pick would make the least waves.”

RELATED: Indian American group wants Kamala Harris as Biden’s VP pick  (August 4, 2020)

“An ideal running mate would excite minority voters and younger people, and show them a positive reason to turn out for Biden this fall,” wrote pollster Douglas Schoen in an opinion piece in the Hill.

“Harris is the candidate who fits the criteria,” wrote the political consultant who has served as adviser to former President Bill Clinton and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“As a prosecutor, former state attorney general, and now senator with national recognition, she has the ability, stature, and experience essential for vice president,” he added.

“No other candidate or member of Congress besides Harris has the ability, stature, and experience to be on the ticket, notably in the situation where she could have to assume the presidency at any time,” Schoen wrote.

Making a case for Harris in the Atlantic, Peter Beinart, Professor of journalism at the City University of New York, recalled Biden had previously vowed to choose a female running mate, and the typical vice-presidential pick is a senator or governor.

RELATED: Indian American Senator Kamala Harris tops Biden’s VP list (July 29, 2020)

“Harris is the sole Black woman in either category,” he noted. “In one sense, therefore, she clearly benefits from the new political reality that the Black Lives Matter movement has created.”

Harris may not be “the best choice to be Biden’s running mate or the best person to oversee criminal-justice reform in the White House,” Beinart acknowledged.

But “commentators judging her record (as a prosecutor) should acknowledge the political constraints under which she labored,” he wrote.

“The fact that Harris didn’t boldly confront police misconduct earlier in her career says less about her than about the country in which she lived,”  Beinart added.

Meanwhile, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown advised Harris to “politely decline” any offer to be Biden’s running mate suggesting “vice presidency would likely hinder any further political ambitions” for her.

“Being picked for the vice presidency is obviously a huge honor, and if Biden wins, Harris would make history by being the first woman to hold the job,” he noted in an op-ed for the San Francisco Examiner.

“But the glory would be short-lived, and historically, the vice presidency has often ended up being a dead end,” Brown wrote.

“For every George H.W. Bush, who ascended from the job to the presidency, there’s an Al Gore, who never got there.”

Noting that Biden team would almost certainly take office amid a continued economic downturn, he wrote, “The next few years promise to be a very bumpy ride.”

Brown suggested Harris could be more effective, and better positioned for an ongoing political career, as US attorney general.

“Best of all, being attorney general would give Harris enough distance from the White House to still be a viable candidate for the top slot in 2024 or 2028, no matter what the state of the nation,” he wrote.


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