I don’t think Biden’s VP pick is going to have the desired effect. Kamala Harris is intelligent, accomplished, and capable, I’m sure, but she’s relatively inexperienced in this sector of the political arena and some of her policies have not been received with enthusiasm by the base of voters that Biden was hoping to reach, namely black voters, female voters, and progressive voters.
I was at work when we received the news of Biden’s pick. At the time there were 3 black men in the barbershop (2 barbers and 1 client) and 2 non-blacks. The client (a lawyer who lives in Washington, D.C. but comes in for cuts when he’s home visiting family) said he felt insulted. My coworkers agreed. The sentiment was that Biden expects black people to vote for him because he’s standing next to someone that looks like them. It’s as if they’re not supposed to be concerned about things like, I don’t know, policy. It all feels quite forced and I’m not the only one who thinks so.
I’d imagine that many women feel similarly. Like they’re expected to cast their ballot for Biden because he’s got a strong woman at his side. How soon we have forgotten that a few women accused Biden of inappropriate sexual behavior (and Harris said she believed them). The liberal or progressive voters are really the ones who I have seen criticize her the most strongly because her track record is quite a bit more conservative than they’d like.
And the internet is ablaze with democratic primary debate in which Harris criticized Biden for supporting segregation back in the day. She didn’t limit that criticism to the debate, by the way, she continued it on talkshows after the fact (The Breakfast Club and The View). But the point is that even though Harris said she didn’t believe that Biden was a racist (and I’m inclined to agree), she didn’t give the impression that she really believed he was for blacks either.
So what’s changed from then to now? I’d submit nothing. And I’d submit that voters are going to be more concerned with policy and real world stuff than identity politics this go around. At least I’d hope they would be. Time will tell but I said that Trump was a two term president back in 2016. I still think that’s the case and I think Biden’s VP pick is going to actually aid in that task.