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Indian-origin Senator to be US presidential candidate Joe Biden's vice-presidential running mate?

Tuesday, August 4, 2020 • Tamil Comments

Former US President Barack Obama's vice president Joe Biden is facing off against US President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election that is set to happen on November 3. Joe Biden is expected to announce his vice presidential running mate by the end of next week and Indian-origin Senator Kamala Harris is one of the front-runners for the post.

Presumptive democratic White House nominee Joe Biden has vowed to choose a female as his potential vice president and Californian Senator Kamala Harris, who was a presidential candidate earlier this year herself, is one of the top contenders as she is someone who can supposedly help him bring together a racially diverse Democratic alliance, which perfectly fits the bill for Biden's running mate. Kamala Harris was born to a Tamilian woman from India and a Jamaican man, both of whom had immigrated from their respective countries to pursue their careers in the United States in 1960 and 1961, respectively. Harris' mother Shyamala Gopalan, used to reside in Chennai's Besant Nagar and had immigrated from India to pursue a doctorate in endocrinology at the University of California, Berkeley. The Senator's father Donald Harris immigrated from Jamaica for graduate study in economics at UC Berkeley as well. Kamala Harris identifies herself as Black and eventually became the second African American woman and the first South Asian American to serve in the United States Senate.

Numerous reports, however, suggest that a clash that happened between Harris and Biden in June 2019 during a democratic primary debate might potentially sabotage her chance of serving as Biden's running mate. Harris had pointed out during the debate that Biden had previously supported senators who favoured racial segregation and had opposed a policy combating segregation in schools. The heated exchange began when Harris faced Biden onstage and stated, "I do not believe you are a racist. I also believe, and it's personat... it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country." She continued, "There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me." Biden, who was seemingly disappointed by the statement, mentioned to a news agency, "I was prepared for them to come after me. But I wasn't prepared for the person coming at me the way she came at me. She knew Beau (Biden's late son). She knows me."

Biden and Harris apparently reconciled as the people who joined them on their campaign trial reportedly concurred that the two of them appeared friendly whenever their paths crossed. Biden had also apologized before Black voters in South Carolina for his comment about segregationist lawmakers and later mentioned that he was not good at keeping hard feelings. During her appearance on the 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,' Harris was questioned about her criticism on Biden and their subsequent reconciliation. "How do you go from being such a passionate opponent on such bedrock principles for you and now you guys seem to be pals?" Colbert had asked. Claiming that it was merely a debate, Harris stated, "I've known Joe a long time and I care about him deeply. And as you know we all have family members or friends with whom we have disagreements. That doesn't overcome or overshadow the commonality between us and the connections between us." She concluded, "I am 1000% supportive of Joe Biden."

Biden is expected to make a public announcement of his vice-presidential nominee by August 10, ahead of the Democratic National Convention that begins the following week. Including Senator Kamala Harris, the top contenders for the position reportedly include US Representative Karen Bass, a Black lawmaker from California, former national security adviser Susan Rice, senators Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Duckworth, US Representative Val Demings, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.


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