It was of little surprise to see that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden selected California Sen. Kamala Harris to join his ticket as his vice presidential pick.
After all, Biden’s decisions are controlled by his advisors.
It’s likely that Biden’s advisors hope that having Kamala Harris on the ticket will help erase Biden’s controversial history with Black Americans.
From his leading role in fighting against the desegregation of schools in the 1970s, to the “Biden Crime Bill” that led to the mass incarceration of young Black people, the effects of Biden’s policies are still felt in our communities today.
Ironically, these are the exact reasons Kamala Harris went after Biden so hard during the Democratic primary debates.
During the heated debates, not only did Harris hit Biden for his devastating crime bill, she called out his praise of segregationists, characterizing it as “personal” and “hurtful.” Harris also proclaimed that Biden’s record of opposing busing in the 1970’s was an issue that “directly impacted” her.
Suddenly, none of that matters to Kamala Harris, as she proudly accepted the VP nod of someone she rightly criticized. If anything, this showed her as nothing more than a political opportunist who’s willing to accept blatant bigotry to benefit her career.
Anyone who has followed Harris closely knows this isn’t the first time she has sacrificed her principles for political expediency, even if it is at the expense of the Black people she claims to represent.
As San Francisco’s District Attorney, Harris was so desperate to appear “tough on crime” for her Attorney General’s race that she adopted more inflexible charging procedures.
A whistleblower who was a veteran San Francisco prosecutor, described a work environment under Harris where assistant D.A.’s were pressured “to boost conviction and sentencing statistics, rather than fulfill their ethical duty to seek justice.”
At the same time Harris was trying to make the case that she was “tough on crime,” she was also unwilling to take homicide cases to trial, instead letting defendants off with pretrial pleas or refusing to file charges based on arrests made by the police.
That is likely because she was worried she would lose in court, and hurt her conviction rate, which was already low compared to prosecutors in other cities as well as the national average.
So she wanted the appearance of being tough on crime, without actually effectively taking criminals off the streets.
With her eyes on even higher elected offices, as California’s Attorney General Harris took her “tough on crime” persona to the next level, creating a record that is even more despicable, especially for members of the Black community.
As California Attorney General, according to the Sacramento Bee, she opposed “statewide standards regulating the use of body-worn cameras by police officers.” Harris also opposed proposals requiring her office to independently investigate police shootings.
She threatened to jail parents of “chronically truant schoolchildren.”
She defended the use of the death penalty as AG, despite her “personal objection” to the policy, and the three strikes policy, despite both disproportionately negatively impacting Black Californians.
It’s unsurprising that Biden’s selection committee overlooked these very serious red flags when choosing Harris. Especially when you have people like Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Biden’s VP Selection Committee, helping to make these decisions. Mayor Garcetti oversees a city where the Black community has been disproportionately devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, with a higher mortality rate and rate of job losses than their white counterparts.
But I’m sure Garcetti, like Harris and Biden, considers himself a champion of the Black community even though he has nothing to show for his policies except disproportionately bad outcomes for Black people.
While Biden’s team might hope his pick of Kamala Harris will help heal the wounds he himself created in the Black community, it should reaffirm concerns that now both people on the Democratic presidential ticket have supported policies that have devastated Black families and communities for decades.
Corrin Rankin is the founder of the Legacy Republican Alliance and an Advisory Board member for Black Voices for Trump.
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