NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, August 13th, 2020

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris make their first appearance together as running mates

Yes­ter­day after­noon, for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden and Cal­i­for­nia Sen­a­tor Kamala Har­ris appeared togeth­er for the first time as run­ning mates.

The event, which was live-streamed from the gym­na­si­um of the Alex­is I. Dupont High School in Wilm­ing­ton Delaware, saw Biden and Har­ris make con­sec­u­tive speech­es to a small audi­ence of jour­nal­ists and pho­tog­ra­phers from behind a podi­um bear­ing a brand new “Biden Har­ris” cam­paign plac­ard. Each praised the oth­er effu­sive­ly in their speech­es, which were per­son­al and family-oriented.

Biden drew a direct con­trast between his run­ning mate and Don­ald Trump, call­ing Har­ris “smart” and “tough,” while say­ing Trump “whines bet­ter than any pres­i­dent in his­to­ry” – an effec­tive tac­tic to under­cut the wave of misog­y­ny and racism that was already surg­ing towards Har­ris from the Repub­li­cans’ ranks.

Biden told the assem­bled reporters and mil­lions watch­ing on TV and livestream that he had select­ed Har­ris based on her expe­ri­ence in both exec­u­tive and leg­isla­tive roles, her proven readi­ness to assume greater respon­si­bil­i­ties, and the fact that she was able to with­stand the rig­ors of a pres­i­den­tial run of her own.

“It’s been grat­i­fy­ing to see the strong, enthu­si­as­tic reac­tion to Sen­a­tor Kamala Har­ris as our next Vice Pres­i­dent. In fact, yes­ter­day, we had our best fundrais­ing day of the entire cam­paign, and we set the all-time record for online polit­i­cal cam­paign rais­ing. It’s come from peo­ple from all parts of the coun­try, all ide­o­log­i­cal views, all backgrounds.”

Pre­sump­tive pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Joe Biden

Above all else, though, Biden tout­ed Har­ris’ per­son­al con­nec­tion to his own fam­i­ly, through his late son Beau. Beau Biden and Kamala Har­ris were the attor­neys gen­er­al of Delaware and Cal­i­for­nia respec­tive­ly dur­ing the pits of the Great Reces­sion fol­low­ing the end of the Bush pres­i­den­cy, and devel­oped a close work­ing friend­ship over those years as they both sought to recoup con­sumer loss­es from the large finan­cial insti­tu­tions that had caused the eco­nom­ic crash.

Biden rem­i­nisced about the time he was cho­sen in 2008 to be Barack Obama’s run­ning mate, and said he asked some of the same ques­tions of Har­ris that Oba­ma asked of him. For exam­ple, he explained that he has asked Har­ris to be “the last per­son in the room” to speak before he made major deci­sions, to ask him tough ques­tions, and chal­lenge his assumptions.

Har­ris, for her part, proved her abil­i­ties from the moment she stepped up to the podi­um. She shred­ded Trump’s record in office, while remind­ing her audi­ence of her record as a pros­e­cu­tor: “The case against Don­ald Trump and Mike Pence is open and shut.” She rein­forced Biden’s lines of attack against Trump, say­ing that this elec­tion is about “char­ac­ter” and con­trast­ing Trump’s indif­fer­ence to the death toll of COVID-19 to Biden’s own com­pas­sion in his per­son­al and polit­i­cal life.

“This virus has impact­ed almost every coun­try. But there’s a rea­son it has hit Amer­i­ca worse than any oth­er advanced nation. It’s because of Trump’s fail­ure to take it seri­ous­ly from the start. His refusal to get test­ing up and run­ning. His flip-flop­ping on social dis­tanc­ing and wear­ing masks. His delu­sion­al belief that he knows bet­ter than the experts. All of that is the rea­son why an Amer­i­can dies of COVID-19 every eighty seconds.”

– Pre­sump­tive vice pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Kamala Harris

Remind­ing the audi­ence that Biden had raised his two sons alone after the death of his wife, Har­ris observed: “He’s some­one whose first response, when things get tough, is nev­er to think about him­self, but to take care of every­body else.”

Har­ris proved her­self excep­tion­al­ly on her first out­ing as Biden’s vice pres­i­den­tial pick, and sent a def­i­nite warn­ing shot across the bows of the Trump cam­paign. Trump’s team already seem to be con­fused and rat­tled by the inclu­sion of a strong, black woman on the Demo­c­ra­t­ic ticket.

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