If you’d like to read a very interesting, very worthwhile commentary about the possibility of a Joe Biden/Kamala Harris presidential ticket, I recommend the one written Ruben Navarette Jr., writing for USA Today.
I don’t agree with everything in Mr. Navarette’s piece. But his points about the vulnerability of two candidates who used to be tough-on-crime hardliners now presenting themselves as acceptable to where the Democrat Party has lurched on that issue, are very well taken.
A few excerpts for you:
Like the 1990’s, when — amid skyrocketing crime rates — politicians in both parties competed to see who could be the toughest on crime. Having lost three presidential elections in the 1980’s, Democrats were determined to not be pushed around anymore. Gov. Bill Clinton of Arkansas bragged that he supported the death penalty; he even took a break the campaign trail, at one point, to return to Little Rock to oversee an execution.
Among Democrats, there was, in that decade, not one tougher hombre than Biden. In 1992, during a speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Biden, D-Del., bragged that a crime bill he had written was so heavy-handed that it did “everything but hang people for jaywalking.” In 1994, Biden, authored the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act and would, for the next 20 years, defend what he called the “Biden bill.” Signed by President Clinton, the law led to longer prison sentences, more prison cells, harsher policing, and higher incarceration rates for African Americans.
The Judge Roy Bean version of Joe Biden doesn’t set well in an era where elected officials are talking about police reform and social justice.
It is ambition that has guided Kamala Harris from her days as San Francisco District Attorney to California Attorney General to U.S. Senator to 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.
According to many legal experts, Harris was not the fabled “progressive prosecutor” she pretends to be. While she was San Francisco District Attorney, lawyers who worked for her were routinely accused of prosecutorial misconduct and cutting corners to rack up convictions even if some innocent people went to jail. About this, she did nothing.
She seems to have decided early on that, as a black woman, the only way to climb the ladder politically in the Golden State was to reassure white liberal donors that she could protect them and their belongings from people who looked like her. It worked. She rose alright — on the backs of the less connected: the poor, the dispossessed, people of color.
Does that read like a ticket Democrat “progressives” – the folks who are on board, for example, with no-bail policies and defunding/abolishing the police, would be happy with? As much as they might despise Donald Trump, do you think a Biden/Harris ticket would send them flocking enthusiastically to the polls on election day?
A good argument can be made that, however grudgingly, they will turn out for Biden/Harris on the grounds that, as flawed as such a ticket might be, it is still better than Trump/Pence.
But an equally good argument can be made that such a ticket will depress turnout and hand Trump/Pence a win by default. It might even spur a write-in campaign for a more desirable Democrat alternative – maybe Stacey Abrams or Elizabeth Warren.
The Kamala Harris part of this equation is all academic, of course, if Biden (or whoever is pulling his strings/making his decisions these days) selects a different running mate. But the Biden part still remains. Don’t doubt for a second that it will be used in urban, primarily Black areas around the country. And don’t doubt for a second that it can have major impact.
Look at it this way. If you are, say a Black man who feels strongly about the “Black Lives Matter’ movement (maybe you are), does a 77 year old White guy who has spent 44 years in elective office and is now giving you a big politician’s smile and promising to do the things he never did in all those years really float your boat?
I rest my case.