Joe Biden has named Kamala Harris as his vice-presidential running mate, which makes her the first woman of colour in this role.
After four years of Donald Trump’s presidency, the increasing calls for real change under the Black Lives Matter movement, and a backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, the US election feels more important than ever in 2020.
California’s Senator Kamala Harris was a presidential hopeful before dropping out of the race last December. But Joe Biden, who is running for Democratic presidency, has just confirmed that he has chosen Harris as his vice-presidential running mate. It comes after Biden swore he would announce a woman on his ticket.
This is a historic moment, as it makes Harris – the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India – the first woman of colour to be nominated for the vice president role.
Only two other women have previously been nominated as vice-presidential candidates: Sarah Palin by the Republican party in 2008, and Geraldine Ferraro by the Democrats in 1984. Neither ended up on the winning ticket. No woman has won the US presidency, either.
After making the announcement, Biden tweeted: “I have the great honour to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris – a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants – as my running mate.”
Harris responded, saying: “@JoeBiden can unify the American people because he’s spent his life fighting for us. And as president, he’ll build an America that lives up to our ideals. I’m honoured to join him as our party’s nominee for vice president, and do what it takes to make him our commander-in-chief.”
Former president of the United States, Barack Obama, has since shared the news, writing: “I’ve known Senator @KamalaHarris for a long time. She is more than prepared for the job. She’s spent her career defending our Constitution and fighting for folks who need a fair shake. This is a good day for our country. Now let’s go win this thing.”
Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has also responded, writing: “I’m thrilled to welcome @KamalaHarris to a historic Democratic ticket. She’s already proven herself to be an incredible public servant and leader. And I know she’ll be a strong partner to @JoeBiden. Please join me in having her back and getting her elected.”
Who is Kamala Harris and what does she stand for?
Staunchly liberal, Harris is a former attorney general who spotlights issues that include abortion rights, cracking down on sexual assault, subsidised education, marriage equality, gun control and equal pay. Most recently, Harris has been a key voice in urging police reform amid nationwide anti-racism protests.
She also has a strong voting record against Trump, voting in line with his policies just over 16% of the time.
What next for Kamala Harris?
The election will see Biden face Trump in the election on 3 November 2020. Before then, Harris will debate Trump’s running mate, vice president Mike Pence, on 7 October in Salt Lake City, Utah.