California Senator Kamala Harris was recently touted as the probable V-P pick for presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the upcoming presidential election. But since the death of George Floyd in police brutality in Minneapolis, her chances have diminished. Currently, slogans like "Kamala is a Cop," are doing the rounds, affecting her chances.
Three weeks ago, Harris was picked by Politico as the favorite candidate to join Joe Biden. But after George Floyd's death, Harris's law enforcement record is being criticized widely.
Does Harris Believe in Reforming System?
Harris is also a former California attorney general. Following the criticism against her, Harris is trying to prove her point as a reformist and in a recent interview said racism influences the way laws in America are enforced. She stressed the need to reform the system.
"Floyd died at the knee of someone who was using force that was unnecessary. It was not only in violation of the civil rights of that community and that man, it was torture. He was begging to be able to breathe. It is public execution," Harris said while batting for stricter Federal law.
However, the Republicans are trying to weaken her chances by criticizing her for supporting policies that seek tough punishments against criminals. They say that she is a cop inside, while on the outside she endorses reforms.
But despite these criticisms, Harris still might have a chance because of her birth status. Her father is a Jamaican and mother an Indian. Being a daughter of immigrants, Harris might be the right choice for that will strengthen Joe Biden's race against President Donald Trump.
Another strong point in Harris's support is her stand during her race for the presidential nomination. Attacking Joe Biden, she had criticized his 1970s anti-busing position. Her strong words in favor of the busing system and advocacy for racial balance cost her the chance to continue in the nomination race. But now, choosing Harris when she is endorsing Biden might prove to be an advantage against the Republican ticket.
Amy Klobucher's Link to Derek Chauvin
George Floyd's case has also affected Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar's chances to be Biden's running mate. While the brutal police killing happened in Minnesota, Klobucher is also linked to Derek Chauvin, who is accused of killing Floyd.
Former prosecutor Klobucher's office had probed Derek Chauvin in 2006 in a police-involved shooting of Wayne Reyes. Klobucher was serving as a senator when the case was sent to a grand jury. But the jury refused to charge Chauvin and five other police officers in the Wayne Reyes shooting case. The verdict said the use of force against Reyes, who had stabbed two people before pointing a sawed-off shotgun at police, was justified.
This is being used against Klobucher along with the fact that Floyd was killed in Minnesota. During the presidential primary too, Democrat candidates did not receive good support from non-white voters in Minnesota.
Val Demings a Strong Opponent?
Another strong contender is Florida Representative Val Demings. She is considered as a potential Biden running mate currently. Being a descendant of slaves, she is the daughter of a maid and a janitor. She worked hard to rise up to this level and attained the position after working as a social worker, night patrol officer, and became the chief of police. She was also a member of Congress and an impeachment manager in Trump's Senate trial.
Demings has served as the chief of Orlando Police Department, which has a long history of use-of-excessive-force complaints. Thus, Demings' role as a law enforcement officer might prove to be negative. But her response to George Floyd's death has made her stand clear. "I cannot begin to understand how any officer could ignore the painful pleas we heard from Floyd — or from anyone suffering," Demings said.
It looks like in the current situation, both Harris and Demings have more plus points than negative when compared to other candidates in joining Biden for the V-P race.
Other names considered as potential VP candidates are former Georgia Representative Stacey Abrams, former national security adviser Susan Rice and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms along with Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a favorite of the progressives.