Joe Biden’s Choice was Predictable — But Was It Just a Political Strategy?

How ready is the Presidency for Kamala Harris?

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris after a Democratic presidential debate 2019. Credit…Robyn Beck/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

I had to pick one thing that sets America apart from other world powers, I would say their elections.

There is something “entertaining” and “engaging” about the whole process: from the planning and broadcasting right to the intellectual war of words — debates you name it. It feels like a blockbuster movie.

But it isn’t, it’s as real as it gets. Which makes it more thrilling.

News channels gather up unending analysis predictions that keep us on our toes in anticipation. America honestly never disappoints. What’s hot and what's not is set on the table.

I remember the 2016 elections as though it happened yesterday.

Even though I was disappointed by Hillary Clinton’s loss — mostly because I advocate for women in power, I know that politics is unpredictable.

Being African and experiencing the worst electrical disappointments one’s mind can fathom, the 2016 heartbreak was just a pat on my back. Most Cameroonians like myself don’t bother that much about elections after having the same president for almost 37 years.

Even though Hillary Clinton lost. It was a relief that someone new took up the position. If Cameroon had just one Trump over the last few years, it would have made a world of difference.

I am a firm believer that change, be it good or bad is better than stagnation. Cameroon is suffering from power monopolization — It is more of a kingdom than a democratic state.

This probably is a major reason why American politics imperfect as it might be, always captivates me. Democracy is far fetched where I grew up.

Enough of African politics.

Fast forward to the 2020 US electoral year.

The preliminaries were fun to watch; from Bernie Sanders’ Socialist plans to Micheal Bloomberg’s million-dollar ads and Elizabeth Warren’s wit. Joe Biden was a familiar face and a firm reminder of Obama.

I loved them all.

A portion of my heart was rooting for Bernie Sander. Nevertheless, Joe Biden’s ideas seemed more realistic and “America Friendly”. Sanders’ socialist ideology wasn’t beneficial to the capitalist society the US is known for and thrives on.

Like most people, I wished Sanders could push through the plans for student loans and free healthcare for all.

Even so, the Scottish proverb “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride” brought us all back to a point of compromise and a firm reminder of what America is built on — capitalism.

We can’t have it all, and thus Joseph Biden emerged the handpicked nominee to unseat Donald J. Trump.

The outbreak of Covid-19 and the death of George Floyd was a harder knock on the heads of Americans. It becomes clearer to the masses that President Trump wasn’t doing enough to mitigate the situation.

There was an innate need for a “real leader” to emerge.

Long before VP Biden acknowledged his plans to select a woman as running mate for the presidency, my dad and I had a long talk about the benefits of him selecting a black woman as running mate considering the current situation of the country (racism, sexism, white supremacy mindsets etc).

Joe Biden’s decision to pick a woman went in line with Bernie Sanders’ and this sparked a little controversy.

Were they concerned about choosing the best candidate for a running mate, or did they just want the “woman” out of the pool of available candidates?

After months of the Biden team pondering and we the eager spectators waiting; a decision was made. His choice was both strategic and fair. It completely exceeded our expectations.

The list of women vying for the VP seat over the last few months was enthralling— Stacey Abrams, Catherine Cortez, Elizabeth Warren and so on. These women are a powerhouse in terms of experience and qualification.

Interestingly, someone else was chosen — Senator Kamala Devi Harris

No one can boldly say Senator Kamala Harris was chosen just because she is a woman. There were other equally qualified women contending for the same position. So beyond her qualification, what else spurred Biden’s team to pick her over the others?

One thing that has made headlines about Senator Harris these past few months is her input in the “Black Lives Matter” campaign.

Of course, many politicians supported the campaign against racial discrimination, but Senator Harris could relate better with the people given her racial background.

As a Jamaican-Indian, she represents both the Black and Indian communities. Her background gives her the ability to relate to the everyday problems of Black Americans and other minority groups.

There is no doubt in my mind that this was a major consideration behind Biden’s choice for a VP.

Was this choice made for political reasons only? I cannot tell.

Be that as it may, we can’t deny the shrewd nature of his choice as we draw closer to November.

There’s no doubt that Biden will go down history’s book as the first presidential candidate to pick a Jamaican-Indian woman as running mate for the presidency.

His sharp wittedness has appealed to a vast number of people in the Americas. This has given him a bigger shot at the presidency — I hope he wins.

As we enjoy the glee of a fellow black woman being nominated, one question remains unanswered. How will she cope practically if she finally gets to head that position in November?

Don’t get me wrong. Senator Harris is a smart, strong and assertive woman. If there’s a physical representation of a strong woman, she takes the crown.

All the same, one thing remains a fact:

America has never had a female Vice President, talkless of a Jamaican-Indian woman.

She is two of the things the presidency has never experienced: Black and Female.

Is this too good to be true?

Will she be allowed to walk on the same lane of equality as her predecessors?

Rebecca Traister unfolds this argument in her article “Biden’s Fantasy of Female Submission” published in The Cut.

“…we have learned something about our candidate and the team trying to help him win a world-historic, emergency election that is crucial to the survival of the planet: that while he’s eager to leverage a woman to benefit him, neither he nor his team has given any rigorous thought to issues of gender and race in advance of having nominated that woman. Like the quick boost he got from his initial promise, he wants the bang-pow of the feel-good gimmick but hasn’t done any work to consider what actually redressing and correcting representational and political inequality might entail.”

Even though we are all excited about this nomination, keeping all fingers crossed with hope that they make it to the presidency. One question remains unanswered: will Senator Harris be trusted to function in her duties like her male counterparts?

For once, we’ll let time tell.

Like my mom always says, always hope for the best and expect the worst. That’s all we can do as fellow spectators.

For what it’s worth, it truly is a spellbinding movie — I’m saving the remains of my popcorn for November and beyond.

In the meantime, let us enjoy having a female Black-Indian nominee as VP of the United States.


A one-time Business Developer who fell for writing — lover of life. Pursuing MA in Communication.*Ghostwriter, content creator: contact me: Twitter @joanamanwi

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