Harris’ VP Chances

Are "trust issues" in the way?

Politico has a piece on the status of Kamala Harris’ chances of becoming Joe Biden’s running mate: ‘She had no remorse’: Why Kamala Harris isn’t a lock for VP.

My initial reaction to the headline was that she was not showing sufficient remorse for her hard-line stance on prosecutions as California AG, which could be a political liability for her in the current climate. Instead, the piece starts as follows:

When former Sen. Chris Dodd, a member of Joe Biden’s vice presidential search committee, recently asked Kamala Harris about her ambush on Biden in the first Democratic debate, Dodd was stunned by her response.

“She laughed and said, ‘that’s politics.’ She had no remorse,” Dodd told a longtime Biden supporter and donor, who relayed the exchange to POLITICO on condition of anonymity.

Three immediate thoughts came to mind in no particular order. One was, isn’t that exactly the kind of instinct one wants in a running mate in terms of the campaign trail and in a debate with Mike Pence? Second, why would Biden expect remorse or regret (they were rivals at the time)? And, most importantly, third, she wasn’t wrong.

Here’s the context:

Harris opened her attack on Biden by saying, “I know you’re not a racist.” She then accused Biden of giving segregationist senators a pass and opposing a federal busing program in the 1970s that integrated schools she attended as a child. “That little girl was me,” she said.

While I fully understand why Biden didn’t like that attack, the bottom line remains that it wasn’t factually wrong. Moreover, it is something he would have had to have dealt with to one degree or another in the campaign especially during this present moment of racial politics. If anything, it would have/still will come up in the press. And, despite the obvious hypocrisy, I will not be surprised if the Trump campaign or its surrogates try to exploit Biden’s past actions and words about these issues (such as being seen to praise segregationist colleagues back in the day) to try and suppress black turnout.

Indeed, one way to potentially defuse all of that, and to give him a way to talk about the future and to show his own remorse (to flip that word in context) for the past, would be to pick Harris.

Clearly there is posturing within Democratic circles over whom the veep nominee should be. This is not surprising, and to my eye, this piece reads more like anti-Harris factions trying to get their argument out into the broader conversation than necessarily a true signal that Harris’ debate performance is as big a problem as the opening paragraphs of the piece might suggest.

After all, even with all the equivocating quotes in the piece, you still get:

One former Biden adviser described Harris as “Tier 1,” while “everyone else is Tier 1B.” The person added, “All of those other people, they have the challenge of the Harris bar — it is just so high. She checks everything that’s so important to him.”

Which, quite frankly, strikes me as the most likely truth here.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. SKI says:

    Think about what it says about Chris Dodd that what surprised/outraged him was that a black woman laughed.

    It was a fair political hit. Exactly what you want in a running mate. Biden has already said he was fine with it and that their relationship, grounded in Harris’s strong relationship with Beau Biden when both were AGs, is good.

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  2. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    The tea leaves have long looked like Warren.
    I think there floating trial balloons for passing on Harris.
    Make her AG.

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  3. Gustopher says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Warren is too old, and the VP pick is partly about setting up the future of the party. I love Warren and wanted her to win the nomination, but I don’t think she’s going to get the VP nod.

    Harris is a friend of the Bidens, young enough to carry on when Joe is done, and moderate enough that she’s a future that Joe is comfortable with.

    I would discount the friend bit, because Joe Biden is a human golden retriever and is friends with everyone. But I wouldn’t discount it completely. Soft nepotism tends to win out.

    If Biden picks a high profile person, it’s likely to be Harris. VP choices often tend to go the other way though, where when the decision is announced you say “well, I guess Minnesota would have a governor, and people say it’s this guy, and that seems very vice presidential…”

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  4. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Gustopher:
    Sure…but Warren brings the youth vote…and she’s basically writing a bunch of Biden’s policies.
    Plus…Obama seems to be behind her.
    We’ll see soon.

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  5. HarvardLaw92 says:

    I’m not going to go out on a limb and say that it won’t be Harris.

    I will walk out there and say that it shouldn’t be Harris. She doesn’t get Biden anything that he won’t already get on his own, and she has the potential to actually diminish that in some areas. Her campaign cratered spectacularly and early on for reasons that the people making this decision need to be scope-locked on understanding before they select her to be his running mate.

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  6. Sleeping Dog says:

    “She laughed and said, ‘that’s politics.’ She had no remorse,”

    One of the sins of Democrats is that the shy from those who show a killer instinct

    @Gustopher:

    Biden, in a nod to the likelihood that he’ll be a one term pres, has said that he doesn’t want to handcuff the party in selecting a future presidential candidate, which opens the door for Warren.

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Biden is doing quite well with the younger voters, yes, they would prefer someone else, but they’ll vote for him. If they vote at all.

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  7. EddieInCA says:

    Before bed every night, Kamala Harris, then California attorney general, said a prayer.

    “God, please help me do the right thing,” she would say.

    It was 2011, in the midst of the housing crisis, when all 50 state attorney generals agreed to conduct a multi-state investigation into the banks and claims of foreclosure abuse. Harris, who had just narrowly won her seat, questioned the proposed settlement agreement. She ultimately decided to pull California out of the negotiations.

    When colleagues, political consultants and even White House officials questioned her decision, she found an ally — and friend — in Beau Biden, then Delaware’s attorney general. He too was wary of the negotiations.

    “There were periods, when I was taking the heat,” Harris wrote in her 2019 memoir, “when Beau and I talked every day, sometimes multiple times a day.

    “We had each other’s backs.”

    Up until Beau’s death in 2015, Harris had a fondness and friendship with the Delaware politician — and by extension his father, former Vice President Joe Biden. The elder Biden endorsed her for senator. Harris attended Beau’s funeral and has spoken highly of the Delaware family throughout the years.

    https://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/politics/2019/07/31/democratic-debate-2019-kamala-harris-friend-beau-biden/1875586001/

    Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) honored fellow 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden’s son Thursday on the fourth anniversary of his death.

    “Thinking of @JoeBiden, @DrBiden and the entire Biden family today,” Harris wrote on Twitter.

    “Beau Biden was my friend. We were AGs together, and you couldn’t find a person who cared more deeply for his family, the nation he served, and the state of Delaware. Four years after his passing, I still miss him.”

    https://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/446126-i-still-miss-him-kamala-harris-honors-joe-bidens-son-on

    I still think it will be Harris, but I’d be okay with several others.

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  8. SKI says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Biden, in a nod to the likelihood that he’ll be a one term pres, has said that he doesn’t want to handcuff the party in selecting a future presidential candidate, which opens the door for Warren.

    Source? Haven’t seen this attributed to him anywhere (and a quick Google turned up nothing of the sort).

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  9. SKI says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    he doesn’t get Biden anything that he won’t already get on his own, and she has the potential to actually diminish that in some areas.

    Pretty sure Biden isn’t going to make this choice based on what the VP brings in terms of electoral advantage but in terms of who he wants to govern with. And the data suggests that it is incredibly rare the VP has any impact electorally except as it reflects on the presidential candidate’s decision-making prowess.

    Her campaign cratered spectacularly and early on for reasons that the people making this decision need to be scope-locked on understanding before they select her to be his running mate.

    What do you think those reasons are? What do they need to understand?

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  10. Tlaloc says:

    I’d like to see Warren in a more hands on position than VP. Maybe legislative affairs director?

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  11. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @SKI:

    What do you think those reasons are? What do they need to understand?

    I think that there are a lot of them. She tried to run a campaign based on charisma and personality rather than policy, where she was weak (and I’m being charitable there I think).

    Biden already had the African-American electorate locked up, and her record as a tough on crime prosecutor didn’t play well in that demo. I got the impression that she seemed to believe that they’d automatically swing to her simply based on her race, but I could be wrong about that. Likewise, Warren had the college educated white demo locked up at that point. She failed to energize either core Democratic demo to support her candidacy.

    She was hyped up, greatly, by the media early on, but couldn’t meet that level of hype with performance when it came time to deliver.

    The key metric in this race was, from the beginning, the candidate’s perceived ability to beat Trump, and – like it or not – female candidates and candidates of color are unfairly perceived as being more liberal than white candidates even when they espouse similar policy positions. Simpler version – the electorate wasn’t willing to take a chance on what it saw (again, possibly unfairly) as running to the left by nominating her.

    Bottom line – I think she was a weak candidate who gave me the impression that she basically felt like she’d be nominated by acclamation just for showing up. She wasn’t.

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  12. Sleeping Dog says:

    @SKI:

    It was weeks ago that I saw that and made without attribution. Take it as you may, but there is a certain logic to it. We’ll see in a few days.

    Frankly any of the top 5 contenders is fine with me, as well as several of those who seem have been vetted, but are no longer considered serious.

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  13. Jen says:

    I’ll take anyone, but the ones that concern me are Susan Rice (she’s stumbled in some TV interviews) and Harris (like @HarvardLaw92, I want an incredibly thorough examination on why her campaign cratered).

    I think Warren is too wonkish, but who knows. Right now I’m guessing Duckworth, but that’s all it is, a guess.

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  14. gVOR08 says:

    The pick should be driven solely by defeating Trump. All the able to step in and future of the party sort of things should be viewed only in terms of how the electorate perceives them.

    Elections these days seem to be largely a game of negative partisanship. People don’t vote for their guy, they vote against the other guy. Biden is polling well because he comes across as an amiable uncle and doesn’t trigger much opposition. Warren triggers the right. Aside from being a woman, which Biden has committed to, and minority, Harris doesn’t seem to trigger much of anybody. And her too tough DA thing may help Biden get past the demonstrations.

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  15. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Jen:
    Right now I’m guessing Duckworth
    I would love Duckworth…just to see her call Trump on his phony patriotism bs.

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  16. Michael Reynolds says:

    All the female candidates cratered, not just Kamala Harris. Gillibrand, Klobuchar and Warren all flamed out. As did Hillary in her time. We have no role models of successful female leaders at the national level, unlike the Brits who could look to Elizabeth the First when considering Thatcher.

    We are a much more militarized society than our European or Asian counterparts. We still look, consciously or not, for a leader who will, if required, launch nukes and exterminate hundreds of millions. That still seems like a job for a man.

    All things considered, I agree with @Eddie that Kamala leads. Kamala seems like she’d pull the trigger, and in this country, at this time, only a woman who will kill will be seen as qualified.

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  17. Jen says:

    Harris doesn’t seem to trigger much of anybody.

    I saw some very, very nasty comments about her from the right when she was running. “Heels Up Harris” as a nickname, and a lot of commentary about her relationship with Willie Brown. That’s personal stuff and hopefully it wouldn’t be too big of an issue, but she, like any Democrat, certainly does trigger some on the right.

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  18. Kathy says:

    I understand the fun of speculating what candidate will get the nod and why, but let’s not allow the perfect to be the enemy of defeating Trump the Infant.

    Any potential Biden VP would be a lot better than Pence, not to mention trump.

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  19. Kylopod says:

    One thing I’ve noticed when looking back at past vp selections is that they tend to be relatively predictable. The media usually has a general idea of who will be picked a while prior to the announcement.

    One big exception was the selection of Palin in 2008. McCain actually executed a feint in which the buzz was that he was going to pick Romney, whom we now know he never seriously considered. But McCain was always a politician who thrived on drama, something which isn’t the case with Biden.

    Gore’s selection of Lieberman was also a bit of a surprise. Lieberman had been on the short list but he wasn’t regarded as being anything close to the front-runner at the time of Gore’s announcement. It seems Gore was aiming heavily to send an I’m-not-Clinton message.

    Oddly, despite Trump’s rep for drama, his selection of Pence was pretty predictable, even though later reports suggested he’d wanted Christie until Jared vetoed the idea.

    Obama’s selection of Biden was extremely straightforward and predictable. There were a few trial balloons early on, such as Kathleen Sebelius. In the weeks leading up to the announcement, though, it was pretty much well-known he was down to Biden, Bayh, and Kaine, with many pundits accurately predicting it would be Biden. (It’s interesting to me that Bayh and Kaine would have been an attempt to make a play for Indiana and Virginia respectively, states that had not voted Democrat since LBJ–yet Obama ended up winning both states anyway.)

    I will be surprised if the choice this year turns out to be a dark horse. It strikes me as not being in Biden’s character.

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  20. SKI says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I think that there are a lot of them. She tried to run a campaign based on charisma and personality rather than policy, where she was weak (and I’m being charitable there I think).

    Biden already had the African-American electorate locked up, and her record as a tough on crime prosecutor didn’t play well in that demo. I got the impression that she seemed to believe that they’d automatically swing to her simply based on her race, but I could be wrong about that. Likewise, Warren had the college educated white demo locked up at that point. She failed to energize either core Democratic demo to support her candidacy.

    hmmm. I have a bit of a different take. I think no one ever successfully runs in the primary on policy. It is always personality.

    Harris ran on resume and skills but was unable/unwilling to relax and let her personality come out and be authentic. That, IMO, is why she didn’t catch on. Whether doing that would have been enough is unclear given the primary electorate and the fear of taking any kind of chance but without doing that, she had no chance.
    @Sleeping Dog:

    It was weeks ago that I saw that and made without attribution. Take it as you may, but there is a certain logic to it. We’ll see in a few days.

    If he had said that, or even if someone had reported that he said that, it would have been a big deal. I’m thinking someone *wanted* him to say that but that it didn’t happen.

    Frankly, it doesn’t even make any sense. Anyone he picks is automatically a first tier contender in the next open primary unless something goes very seriously wrong – even if they wouldn’t be considered absent serving as VP. They won’t likely clear the field but they will have a prime seat.

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  21. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @SKI:

    I can see that perspective as well. Bottom line is: I don’t dislike her, and her being selected wouldn’t change my vote. I just think that, if there is any additional political “juice” to be wrung from this selection, even if it’s just a knot or two of boat-speed, then we should avail ourselves of it. I haven’t been convinced yet that Warren wouldn’t provide that, or that Harris would.

    On the other hand, it’s entirely possible that there is no juice to be gained at all, agreed.

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  22. Paine says:

    Someone who doesn’t feel the need to apologize for throwing a few elbows in a debate is exactly who I want as Biden’s running mate. Dodd can eff off. Harris would be a fine choice.

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  23. Scott F. says:

    @SKI:

    Harris ran on resume and skills but was unable/unwilling to relax and let her personality come out and be authentic. That, IMO, is why she didn’t catch on. Whether doing that would have been enough is unclear given the primary electorate and the fear of taking any kind of chance but without doing that, she had no chance.

    That’s as good a post mortem on Harris’ primary campaign as any I’ve seen, though I would supplement it with the take from HarvardLaw92 regarding Harris’s expectations for the African-American vote that Biden held. I don’t share HL92’s impression completely in that I don’t believe she thought they’d automatically swing to her, but rather she hoped to be the natural recipient of that voter bloc should Biden flame out (as was his track record) or at least that she could win some over. Once it was clear to her that Biden had staying power (and she saw this months before most), she got out fast which is to her credit.

    Perhaps being contrary, I think Harris’ primary campaign showed the right things. As the busing attack noted in the OP shows, she knows how to work a shiv, so she can play bad cop to Biden’s good cop persona on the trail. As Michael Reynolds notes, she is plausible as a warrior, which could temper our societal misogyny at the margins. As a prosecutor, she will be able to “bring the charges” against the Trump administration over the next 100 days, then potentially shift to a prominent role with any anti-corruption actions the Democrats choose in order to hold Donald and his enablers to account after the transfer of power. Finally, she has a presence that clarifies her readiness to partner with Biden in governance immediately and lead the Party as soon as she’s needed to do so.

    Biden has a lot of excellent choices available to him, but nobody that checks as many boxes as Kamala Harris.

    ETA: I write all this as someone who was all in for Warren during the primaries and saw Warren as vastly superior for the Democratic presidential candidate. But, her strengths and her draw at the top of the ticket don’t work nearly so well from the VP chair.

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  24. Kylopod says:

    @Paine:

    Someone who doesn’t feel the need to apologize for throwing a few elbows in a debate is exactly who I want as Biden’s running mate.

    I absolutely agree. I’ve got my issues with Harris, but I really like her toughness. She had William Barr practically crying like a baby. I’d relish the chance to see her eviscerate Pence in a debate–especially after watching Kaine flop so dramatically.

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  25. An Interested Party says:

    She had William Barr practically crying like a baby.

    Particularly considering what Trump and his Bully Boy Barr are doing in regard to what’s happening in Portland, this is an especially strong and important skill to have in a VP candidate…Biden can just be Uncle Joe, serene and above it all, while she goes for the throats…

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  26. mattbernius says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I can see that perspective as well. Bottom line is: I don’t dislike her, and her being selected wouldn’t change my vote.

    Is there anyone on the circulated lists who would make you change your vote? And in what directions?

    Also, I think in Biden’s case it’s less “change the vote” and more “ensure people get out to vote.”

    Beyond all of that, WTF 3-Dimensional chess does Dodd think that he’s playing here?

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  27. Moosebreath says:

    @Scott F.:

    I tend to agree with your take, and would add that with Trump telegraphing that he wants to run against Democrats being soft on crime, adding a former prosecutor helps blunt that attack.

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  28. Scott F. says:

    @mattbernius:

    Beyond all of that, WTF 3-Dimensional chess does Dodd think that he’s playing here?

    I think this is less Dodd than Politico. The punditry, at Politico in particular, finds comfort in the “Democrats in Disarry” narratives. So much so, that in the absence of a legitimate story, they are not above trying to create something from nothing. Not to forgive his carelessness, but Dodd was just the patsy.

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  29. de stijl says:

    Who the VP choice will be matters little for 2020.

    2020 is a referendum on Trump.

    Where it does matter is for 2024 when Joe will be too old. That will help determine the 2024 race.

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  30. JohnMcC says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: She certainly pioneered a cure for bone spurs.

    Duckworth also is my preference. I see she’s not up for reelection til ’22 and that the governor selects her replacement so there won’t be any Scott Brown problem.

    Should Ms Harris be the choice I’d be perfectly satisfied and expect that her prosecutor background would make life very interesting for numerous of the Trump Administration’s important figures.

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  31. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: “On the other hand, it’s entirely possible that there is no juice to be gained at all, agreed”

    That’s what I’m thinking. The vote in November won’t be for whoever Biden’s VP is — I’m not even sure how much of it is going to be for Biden. It’s against Trump.

    Ah, DeStijl beat me to it…

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  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Passing question: Duckworth was born in Bangkok. To American parents? Asking for a friend.

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  33. Kylopod says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Her father is a US veteran, her mother is Chinese. She wouldn’t be on the list if she didn’t fulfill the constitutional requirements, of course.

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  34. Kurtz says:

    @Jen:

    like any Democrat, certainly does trigger some on the right.

    This. The GOP has largely been driven by phantom grievances, outrage, and snowflakery for quite a while now. All are stoked by exploiting fear by any means necessary.

    -DJT2 writes a book called Triggered despite his surrogacy to a hair trigger father.

    -Mark Levin, bestselling author, yells more than late career Al Pacino.

    -The Christian Right’s identity is shadow-masochism.

    -Sharia law taking over! (This is still happening! There is a meme going around implying that wearing a mask during a pandemic will prime women for wearing a niqab.)

    -Western culture is under threat!

    -The Democrats are Far Left Bolsheviks even though they would be on the Right in most analogous Western European nations. (P.S. Don’t take away my Medicare.)

    -Any gun control legislation puts us on the path to confiscation.

    -you’re scared? Good. Let’s make it so if you’re scared on the street, you are legally protected if you pump some lead into whoever scares you. (1…2…10..bwahahahaha)

    Fear and anger diverts energy from thought to primal reaction, how else could they sell policies that make it harder for rural whites to live an economically secure life? Those policies turned middle America into a ghetto. But that term is reserved for inner-city Black neighborhoods.

    So it doesn’t matter who the VP pick is. They will be painted as any or all of those things that inspire fear in people. Hard Copy style media has conditioned them to feel, not think.

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  35. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Harris is well aware that Black people do not accept people merely because of the color of their skin. Too dangerous.

    Her “problem” was 3-fold: 1-she did not grow up around large centers of black people, 2-no meaningful exposure to black extended family, 3-didn’t really try to make up for that by immersing herself in a black community (ala Obama)

    Its no different than, say, Tiger Woods’s relationship with the Black Community–he also has a hard time connecting with black people due to (imo) being raised in San Diego. In fact, every black person I’ve ever met from California that wasn’t from LA or Oakland, was a little awkward in a group of other black people. Any candidate looking for a broad spectrum of black support at a minimum should be able to pass the barbershop and beauty salon–they should have the ability to go into any barbershop and beauty salon that caters to black people and look comfortable in their skins and fold right in on whatever conversation or joke is on deck. For politicians that normally wouldn’t find themselves in those establishment, it doesn’t mean appropriating jargon or accents–it more of a feel for an angle of wit and humor combined with the right cultural queues.

    Harris is a little wooden and while her bussing attack was effective–it was and oddly calibered round for the target. It made her look like she was trying to hard. There were plenty of attack to resonate again Biden in caliber of rounds that would have been familiar to who I think the target audience was–but bussing? No one can relate to .17 caliber ammunition.

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  36. Kylopod says:

    @Kurtz:

    yells more than late career Al Pacino.

    That’s like saying “plays electric more than late career Dylan.”

    (Carry on.)

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  37. Pylon says:

    @Kylopod: She meets the criteria if Ted Cruz did. But I struggle to find the difference between them and Obama if he had been born in Kenya (to a foreign dad and an American mom).

    I think there would be some opposition from certain quarters based on birthplace. I don’t, but then it’s a badly drafted requirement.

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  38. An Interested Party says:

    -you’re scared? Good. Let’s make it so if you’re scared on the street, you are legally protected if you pump some lead into whoever scares you. (1…2…10..bwahahahaha)

    That reminds me that the Trump campaign has put out a commercial in my neck of the woods that showcases this bullshit…if enough people are stupid enough to believe claptrap like this then we really are doomed…

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  39. Kylopod says:

    @Pylon:

    She meets the criteria if Ted Cruz did. But I struggle to find the difference between them and Obama if he had been born in Kenya (to a foreign dad and an American mom).

    Of course the birther theory against Obama was not just a deranged conspiracy theory, it was also based on an inaccurate reading of constitutional law.

    There have actually been many people who have run for president without having been born in the United States, such as George Romney in 1968. (According to the book Nixonland, there were anonymous pamphlets being sent around claiming “Supreme Court rules Romney not qualified to be president.” I told my dad this anecdote, and without missing a beat he replied “Nixon wrote the pamphlet.”) The birthers will cry about it, but I doubt it will gain any traction. Of course they aren’t always consistent: Steve King was a Cruz surrogate in 2016, yet he had launched “birther” attacks on Obama before.

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  40. Monala says:

    @Jim Brown 32: She went to college at Howard and pledged AKA. That’s pretty deep immersion in the black community.

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  41. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    @Kylopod:

    McCain was born in Panama. If one of your parents is a US citizen, you are a US citizen wherever your place of birth, is my understanding. Correct me if I am wrong. I believe there is a wrinkle if you are in service versus an expat.

    Anyway, not an issue.

    I did not know until now that Duckworth was foreign born, or her mom was Chinese. Now I know.

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  42. Kurtz says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Yeah, I saw that.

    No way that woman heard anything outside. TV wasn’t loud enough either. Totally unrealistic.

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  43. de stijl says:

    @Kylopod:

    King characterized Obama as “very, very urban”

    Obama was reared and raised in suburbs of relatively minor cities.

    King was objecting to his blackness. And to his empathy backed by actions.

    And now he has no job. Karma rules!

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  44. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl: I admit it surprises me in hindsight that King initially supported Cruz over Trump. But so few people took Trump seriously at first that even many racists ignored him, and for a period of time Cruz was the favored choice on the far right–Bannon and the Mercers were initially Cruz backers too. Yet when Trump went birther on Cruz during the campaign, it was clearly an attempt to remind voters of his Latino roots.

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  45. FWIW, I don’t think that the VP picks mattes electorally. It really only matters to me at this point because of Biden’s age–both in terms of completing the term and the likelihood of him being a one-termer.

    These two things put more weight on the selection and is a major reason I would heavily prefer someone not also in their 70s.

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  46. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Monala: Not enough. Both Howard (an upper middle-class AA private school) and their Greek organizations are niche crowds. D.C. VA, Maryland black culture has clear differences from Northeast NYC,Boston,Philly which has clear differences from black Southerners, who are different than Texas/Midwestern blacks who have a different style than West Coasters. Sure, being AKA (who btw are viewed as the most “stuck up” of the female black sororities) will get you some points but it won’t get you very far if you don’t know your stuff when dealing with different target audiences. Being an AKA that went to Howard alone wont seal the deal when you are in a room full of Deltas and Zetas in Atlanta, Charlotte, Charleston, Dallas, et. Hell in some crowds–it would help to not even mention AKA.

    I do a golf trip every year with a group of guys that hail from Florida and DC/Maryland/Va–lets just say there is always and element of tension in the background. City Mice-Country Mice.

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  47. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @mattbernius:

    Is there anyone on the circulated lists who would make you change your vote? And in what directions?

    Truthfully, I’m unimpressed enough with any of the proffered options that – admittedly covered in doing so by the luxury of being registered in a state which is so electorally tilted that the outcome is beyond question – I will be doing the same thing that I did in 2016. Writing in Eisenhower.

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  48. Monala says:

    @Jim Brown 32: So going to Howard makes Harris a “niche” black person who isn’t “black enough”? Along with (checks): P Diddy, Thurgood Marshall, Elijah Cummings, Phylicia Rashad, Taraji P. Henson, Ossie Davis, Toni Morrison, Andrew Young, Douglas Wilder, Ta-Nehisi Coates, among others?

    I hate this “not black enough” sh*t. It gets really stupid, because it implies there is some monolithic black experience. You even alluded to it in your comment that that is not the case.

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