As it has become clear that former American Vice President Joe Biden will challenge sitting President Donald Trump‘s re-election on Nov 3, 2020, speculation now grows in the US and around the world about who Biden will choose as his running mate, or his Vice Presidential candidate.
Biden has hinted that it will most probably be a woman, and maybe a woman of colour (non-white). As a result, one of the front-runners is the 55-year-old American lawyer, Kamala Harris, who has been a U.S. Senator since Jan 2017. Prior to being elected to the U.S. Senate in Nov 2016, Kamala Harris served as District Attorney of San Francisco from 2004 to 2011 and Attorney General of California from 2011 until 2017. In 2004, she was elected as District Attorney of San Francisco. She won the election as California’s Attorney General in 2010 and was reelected in 2014 by a wide margin. On November 8, 2016, she won the Senate election, becoming California’s third female U.S. Senator, and the first of either Jamaican or Indian ancestry.
Kamala Devi Harris was born on October 20, 1964 in Oakland, California. Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan (died Feb 2009), was a Tamil Indian breast-cancer scientist who immigrated to the US from Madras (now Chennai), India, in 1960, to pursue a doctorate in endocrinology at the University of California, Berkeley. Kamala’s father, Donald Harris, is a Stanford University economics professor who emigrated from Jamaica in 1961 for graduate study in economics at Berkeley. Kamala has one younger sister, Maya Harris. Her mother chose to give them both Sanskrit names derived to help preserve their cultural identity. Kamala identifies herself as black and Indian but sees her experience primarily as American. She grew up attending both a Black Baptist church and a Hindu temple.
She has strong appeal among both moderates and progressives, which has no doubt contributed to her polling as the top VP choice. As the only black female presidential contender, she represents arguably the most influential voting bloc for the Democratic party. With her proven track record and level-headedness, she makes a strong case to be a good President one day – a consideration that will likely be a greater factor in the battle of the septuagenarians (Trump will be 74 yrs 142 days old on Election Day 2020 [Nov 3], while Biden will be almost 78). Harris’s oratory and debating skills will not just keep the current VP Mike Pence in check, but also Trump himself. She brings an energy that Biden doesn’t have, and she is respected on all fronts. American media is all-consumed with the Coronavirus. By announcing Harris as his running mate, Biden could just help bring the country’s attention somewhat back to electoral politics, which would have been the main talking point in the media had the COVID-19 pandemic not struck.
It is high time for the world’s oldest democracy to get a woman President. Sirimavo Bandaranaike became Prime Minister (PM) of Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) in July 1960 and again in May 1970; Indira Gandhi became PM of India in Jan 1966 and again in Jan 1980; Golda Meir PM of Israel in March 1969; Isabel Perón President of Argentina in July 1974; Elisabeth Domitien PM of the Central African Republic in Jan 1975; Margaret Thatcher PM of UK in May 1979; Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo PM of Portugal in Aug 1979; Vigdís Finnbogadóttir President of Iceland in Aug 1980; Gro Harlem Brundtland PM of Norway in Feb 1981, again in May 1986 and for a third time in Nov 1990; Agatha Barbara President of Malta in Feb 1982; Milka Planinc PM of Yugoslavia in May 1982 (the first in a Communist country); Corazon Aquino President of Philippines in Feb 1986; Benazir Bhutto PM of Pakistan in Dec 1988 (the first in a Muslim country) and again in Oct 1993.
The list goes on, with women serving as Heads of State or Heads of Government (or both) in Lithuania, East Germany, Nicaragua, Ireland, Bangladesh, France, Poland, Turkey, Canada, Burundi, Rwanda, Bulgaria, Haiti, Liberia, Ecuador, Ireland, New Zealand, Guyana, Latvia, Panama, Finland, Senegal, Indonesia, South Korea, Peru, Austria, Ukraine, unified Germany, Chile, Croatia, etc.
Yes, at least 50 countries have had women on top (no pun intended) and America thinks it is a liberal country.