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Kamala Harris’s Cultural Impact

3 109 475
14.08.2020

Joe Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris, the daughter of a Jamaican father and a South Asian mother, both immigrants, is both historic and inspiring.

Biden had an embarrassment of riches among his options. Any of the women among the top contenders, including other Black and Asian women, could have been an impressive choice.

But, Harris comes with the benefit of being tough as nails, a true fighter, and one who has already been tested in this cycle on the trail.

But, it’s important to assess not only the impact of her policy positions and credentials, but also the cultural resonance of her selection. She is the first Black woman in such a position on a major party ticket, one who embraces her mixed race heritage. That comes with important advantages, but also some complexities.

First, let me condition all that follows by plainly asserting this: I wish that policy was the primary driver of all our electoral decisions, and that personality, personal story and passions were minimal considerations. But wishful thinking is precisely what that is. Unfortunately, sadly, the presentation of a candidate matters to an enormous degree in our elections.

That said, one thing Harris brings to the ticket is the enthusiasm she generates, and that is no small thing. One misstep Hillary Clinton made in 2016 was the selection of Tim Kaine as her running mate. No matter how nice a person he was or how strong his résumé or how great the chemistry was between the two, his selection as her vice president plopped down like a wet rag. There was no real enthusiasm around the pick.

Harris arrives with an abundance of enthusiasm, sorely........

© The New York Times


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