The Implications of Kamala Harris as a Running Mate to Joe Biden

There are a multitude of implications for Joe Biden’s campaign that will result from the decision to bestow the position of running mate to Senator Kamala Harris. Joe Biden will chiefly signify that he takes an interest in at least a token form of representation of his base.

Likely voters as a whole seem to take well to the idea of selecting a woman according to a YouGov poll from 30 July 2020, 62% of voters think it was the right decision. In theory, this allows Biden to shore up support amongst his own base of support as 90% of Democrats support this. While voters at large are less supportive towards the idea that Biden’s running mate should be a black woman with 36% of likely voters mentioning it is very or somewhat important for them the idea of a black woman as a running mate is still popular with Democrats 60% calling it very or somewhat important.

For Biden, this could be viewed as a diversion from taking a strong stand on issues that are popular with his base but could tick off his campaign donors. These issues include medicare for all and the green new deal, issues that joyously fired up Bernie Sanders base but that might offend Biden’s donors such as health insurance companies and fossil fuel companies. Despite his pledge not to take fossil fuel money, he has in fact taken money from this industry according to a report from Friends of the Earth Action meaning that he could have some interests beholden to the executives who have donated to his campaign. By selecting Kamala Harris, a bi-racial woman, he brings on someone who his base can identify with while also being safe for wealthy donors who are able to finance his campaign.

According to a CNBC article by Brian Schwartz, campaign donors on Wall Street, in particular, were celebrating the choice of Kamala Harris as a running mate. “I think it’s great,” said Marc Lasry, the CEO of investment firm Avenue Capital Group. “She’s going to help Joe immensely. He picked the perfect partner.” Lasry is also a part owner of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks. Blair Effron, the co-founder of Centerview Partners, texted “GREAT CHOICE” to CNBC. Citigroup’s Ray McGuire sent a similar message.

Kamala Harris could also be seen as an (Uncertain) olive branch to the progressive left. The reason why I say uncertain is that with some legerdemain Harris has changed her beliefs on issues such as healthcare and policing multiple times but rhetorically she is on the left than Biden is. Will Kamala Harris help Joe Biden win the White House? Only time will tell.