Joe Biden’s Big Surprise Turns Out To Be The Least Biggest Surprise Possible
Of course Biden’s choice of Kamala Harris as his running mate is hugely significant: she’s the first Black woman on a U.S. Presidential ticket, and the first Asian-American too. (Her father came to the U.S. from Jamaica to study at Berkeley; her mother from India for the same reason.)
But as a political move, the Senator from California named VP candidate is no surprise. She was the front-runner from the get-go. And the Biden campaign seems to be laser focused on trying to avoid surprises.
Instead, finding significant gestures in the mundane. Like Biden popping up on Fox riding a bike last weekend. So much for “unfit”.
Even Bernie Sanders came in really quick with a full-throated Kamala Harris endorsement.
And while it seems ages ago, when the Democratic field was forming, we wrote that President Trump seemed particularly scared of Harris. In fact, many of the early attacks against her during the primaries originated with Trump and his people, either directly or indirectly. And much of the busy messaging from back then we’re seeing immediately repeated today across social media:
- That she’s “a cop”. (She was both the San Francisco District Attorney and California’s Attorney General.) This is a tricky one: because while it’s a far-Left talking point, the far-Right loves it too. Heck, the far-Right Federalist sold “Kamala is a Cop” T-shirts in their merchandise section, and cheekily called her: “an authoritarian policeman.” (But isn’t that who Trump’s folks like?)
- That she’s not really African American.
- To which Trump will now add she’s a far-Left radical puppet master. In fact, he already has.
All that is sure to be amplified by Trump’s trolls (the biggest being Trump himself), as we move forward from here. Even though two of their main points are utterly contradictory.
It’ll be an interesting knife edge for them to walk on though: simultaneously trying to convince far-Left voters not to support Biden now that Harris is on board, while at the same time leveraging Harris to persuade far-Right voters to redouble their support of Trump. For both identical and completely conflicting reasons at the same time!
And we’re sure we’ll also hear about how Harris actually spent many of her pre-college years in Canada, or that she was involved early in her career with much older California Assembly Speaker Willie Brown. (In fact, Trump affiliated ads are already tagging her as overly-ambitious and “phony”, so we’ll see how that plays.)
And boy did Harris go after Biden in the Democratic debates. And that was a question his campaign had to sort out: would he be viewed as weak, or somehow in her thrall if he turned around and chose her. (Testing that was what all the posturing by Biden advisor Chris Dodd about how maybe she’s not contrite enough was all about, maybe). Trump wants that to be the case, calling her “very very nasty” and “disrespectful” to Biden on the debate stage, which does draw a contrast. Because in Trump’s view, that’d be deserving of perpetual punishment, not a patch-up and partnership.
We did think during the debates, Harris had a bit of a habit of telling stories about anonymous constituents praising her to her face. (Kind of like Trump’s “Sir” stories.)
So is Kamala Harris the best choice? Is the fact that she didn’t do well in the Democratic primaries relevant still now? Fivethirtyeight makes an exhaustive and fascinating attempt to answer those questions and many, many more.
All we’ve got to say is she’s a really good, really common sense, really solid choice.
And we’re somehow comforted by the fact that we don’t really have much more to say than that.
Because we definitely would’ve had a lot to say had it been Elizabeth Warren, or Susan Rice, or Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, or Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. (Big fan!) But now we don’t have to wander into that soup.
So we’ll just leave it at that, except to remind you of one of our favorite reminders. The sage words of one-time Trump campaign chairman and now convicted felon Paul Manafort, who in 2016 said:
“Whoever is in the spotlight on Election Day will lose.”
So far, that’s Trump. Other things still might, but this won’t change that.