Thursday, 13 August 2020 13:25

COLUMN: Harris is good news for N.C. Democrats

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)

It’s Biden-Harris and it’s good for North Carolina Democrats. From the time Biden announced he would pick a woman as a running mate, Kamala Harris seemed the logical choice.

African Americans delivered the nomination to Joe with his stunning victory in South Carolina. Black women are the backbone of the Democratic base and the energy this cycle is with people of color. And besides, Kamala Harris could step into the presidency tomorrow and be ready to lead.

For all of the criticism Twitter gave Biden about delaying his choice, Joe’s team handled the process right. Harris was the obvious choice from the beginning. She’s been vetted by the primary process and acquitted herself well, even if she never got the momentum she needed to challenge Biden. She proved to be both a skilled debater and sharp interrogator, skills that will come in handy during both the campaign and her defense of a President Biden. By not choosing her early, though, the Biden campaign created an air of uncertainty and enough angst among the insiders to make the announcement of her pick exciting and energizing. Democrats are genuinely pumped about this ticket, especially African Americans.

Harris also hurts the Republicans’ already ridiculous narrative that Biden is captured by the far left. Harris is a former prosecutor and DA. One right-wing group is selling merch that says “Kamala is cop.” That kind of steps on their message that Biden’s campaign is anti-law enforcement. The ticket is now solidly centrist with a progressive bent. Its appeal is broad where the Trump-Pence ticket is increasingly narrow.

In North Carolina, Harris gives Democrats another advantage in a political environment that already favors them. Conventional wisdom says the Democrats need an African American turnout like Obama got in 2008 for Biden to win the state. Harris makes that possible. African American women especially are fired up about the decision. On the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, a woman of color is on the presidential ticket. You better believe women are coming out to support Harris.

The question now is what Trump does. He’s clearly scared of the ticket. This morning, he tweeted, “The ‘suburban housewife’ will be voting for me. They want safety & are thrilled that I ended the long running program where low income housing would invade their neighborhood. Biden would reinstall it, in a bigger form, with Corey Booker in charge!” He’s using the tired trope that racists in the South have used for hundreds of years. He’s claiming to protect white women from Black people. Will he dump Pence for a woman?

The Biden-Harris ticket is strong. It both checks boxes and energizes the base. It also has clearly put the president on the defensive. In North Carolina, Democrats up and down that ballot will benefit from an increased Black turnout and women who may be on the fence could lean into the prospect of a Harris vice-presidency.

Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of Before beginning PoliticsNC, Mills spent 20 years as a political and public affairs consultant.