by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Kamala Harris’s campaign to be Joe Biden’s running mate has stalled.
Inside Washington, some see Harris, 55, as a strong choice. Biden has stoked such chatter by having her at big fundraisers and other campaign efforts. Pundits say she’s job-ready because she has federal experience and agrees with the presumptive nominee on most issues. Biden values both qualities highly.
But she is being overshadowed even though police brutality dominates the news, and Harris has personal experience of both criminal justice reform and racial injustice.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has emerged as an increasingly likely No. 2 pick since she told protesters and looters ransacking her city that they couldn’t “out concern” her, a black mother of four children.
Florida Rep. Val Demings is another rising prospect for Biden’s veep pick, although she, like Harris, is hampered by her long police career. She was Orlando’s police chief for a decade.
News media, having reported the flop of her presidential campaign, are giving Harris short shrift, although she is a regular on TV, drafted the Justice in Policing Act and anti-lynching bill, and made a surprise appearance at Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, D.C.
Harris’s problem is that she became too well known after 10 months running for president. She lacks novelty value despite her multiracial background, like President Barack Obama’s, of immigrant parents. She’s just one of 100 senators, whereas Bottoms is chief executive of a big city where she was born and raised.
Harris’s tenure as California’s attorney general, San Francisco’s district attorney, and county prosecutor weighs down her chances. She was plagued on the campaign trail by the blunt accusation, “she’s a cop.” And she’s being asked all over again about her claim to have been about a “progressive prosecutor” now that she’s a possible running mate for Biden.