Included on a list of possible VP picks for presumed Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden are both former gubernatorial candidate, Stacey Abrams and Senator Kamala Harris (D-California). Also included on that list is Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts)—who was also a candidate for the presidency until she suspended her campaign in March of this year after a disappointing show on Super Tuesday. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D- Minnesota) was also short-listed for consideration, but withdrew her name when, after the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, her record of failing to prosecute police officers involved in crimes came into question.
Since knowledge is power, and we all want to be as informed as possible, Fearless Black Woman would like to present some basic facts about the two women most likely to make history twice: as both the first woman AND the first Black Woman to hold the office of Vice President of these United States of America.
Stacey Abrams (D-Georgia)
Stacey Abrams, the 2018 Democratic nominee for the office of Governor of the state of Georgia is an attorney and voting rights activist who served as Deputy City Attorney for the City of Atlanta (2002) an spent 10 years (2007-2017) as the representative of District 89 in the Georgia House of Representatives. In 2018, Abrams resigned her position to focus on her run for Governor.
The 2018 race against Brian Kemp—during which she secured an endorsement from President Barack Obama—was riddled with blatant voter suppression. As Georgia’s then-Secretary of State, Kemp was in charge of voter registration during the election. In the six years between 2012 and 2018, Kemp’s office canceled nearly 1.4 million voter registrations, with 700,000 of those cancelations in 2017.
Ultimately, Kemp’s office was found to have violated the Help America Vote Act. 53,000 voter registration applications (with 75% of those applications belonging to minorities) were withheld, and ultimately, Abrams lost the election by 50,000 votes. She decided not to pursue legal action, choosing instead to focus on her next steps. Though many speculated she would run in the 2020 presidential race, Abrams confirmed in 2019 that she would not run for the office, nor would she run for the U.S. Senate. She became the first Black woman and the first non-office-holding individual to give a response to the State of the Union Address in February of 2020.
Abrams has advocated for Medicaid expansion, increased public spending on education, stricter gun control legislation, criminal justice reform (including the abolishment of the cash bail system), decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana, abolishment of the death penalty, and is pro-choice.
Abrams has also sold more than 100,000 copies of her romance novels, written under the pseudonym of Selena Montgomery. A former tax attorney, Abrams has also published articles on taxation, public policy and non-profit organizations.
Senator Kamala Harris (D-California)
Kamala Harris became the junior California United States Senator, in 2017, replacing Barbara Boxer, who retired after 24 years in the Senate. Prior, Harris was the 32nd Attorney General of California. She started out as a prosecutor after passing the California bar in 1990. Her career in politics began with her working first as a Deputy District Attorney in Alameda, California.
Senator Harris was educated at Howard University, double majoring in economics and political science and earned her Juris Doctorate from Hastings College in Hastings, Nebraska.
In 2004, Kamala Harris began eight years as District Attorney in Oakland. While—to her credit—Harris refused to defend Proposition 8 (the proposal that would have banned same sex marriage in California), she also failed to prosecute police officers involved in crimes, failed to offer new trials to wrongfully convicted defendants, declined to support bills that would have required police officers to wear body cams in 2015, prosecuted parents of truant children, and appeared disdainful of the idea that marijuana should be made legal.
That being said, Harris’s time in the Senate has been marked with thoughtful, effective and passionate action. She pushed back against Tr*mp’s “Muslim Ban”, voted against the Supreme Court nomination of Betsy DeVos (Secretary of Education) and Jeff Sessions (former US Attorney General), delivered remarks during Tr*mp’s impeachment hearings (he was ultimately impeached), and, along with Senators Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) and Jim Scott (R-South Carolina), introduced the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act, making lynching a federal hate crime, which passed unanimously in December, 2018.
Sen. Harris has said that she would be “honored” to be Joe Biden’s running mate. A complete account of her record in the Senate can be found here.
If Vice President Joe Biden selects a female running mate, this will be the third time a presidential candidate had done so. In 1984, the country was not ready to accept Geraldine Ferarro as the first female Vice President. Walter Mondale, the presidential candidate, was a hold-over from the one-term Carter administration. In 2008. Arizona U.S. Senator John McCain chose Sarah Palin, then Governor of Alaska to be his running mate. That choice (among other factors), ultimately cost him the election.
In 2016, the Democratic party nominated Hillary Clinton as the first woman to become a major party nominee.
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