As former Vice President Joe Biden began leading in battleground states by Friday afternoon, the historic future of Sen. Kamala Harris hung in balance
If Vice President Joe Biden won the ultimate vote count, it portends to be a history-making win for the nation as never before, holding the potential of bringing the first Indian-American, the first black woman, and the first woman ever, into office as Vice President.
For those who consider the United States a powerful country if not the most powerful on earth, Kamala Harris would become the second most powerful person if she comes into office.
After a tumultuous campaign fraught with division and bitter acrimony, the Biden-Harris victory, if it were to happen, would be an unmatched historic moment for Indian-Americans, including those within the Indian-American community who voted for President Donald Trump.
The stark ideological differences in the nation were mirrored within the Indian-American community, which even though predominantly Democrat in terms of Party ID, witnessed a high-profile and more vigorous than ever, attempt by the GOP to bring more from the community into its fold.
The fact that Kamala Devi Harris is almost assuredly going to be a candidate for the presidential race in 2024, regardless of what happens in the final count now, is not lost on the community that is rejoicing in anticipation, not just here in the United States, but across the globe in her ancestral village of Thulasendrapuram, in Tamil Nadu, where her grandfather P.V. Gopalan was born.
While President-elect Joe Biden has his own unique story to tell, for much of America, particularly black people, Indian-Americans, and other minorities, Harris’ is the story of the potential this country holds, despite systemic racism and endemic violence.
The daughter of an Indian-American mother, Shyamala Gopalan, a biomedical scientist who did original cancer research, and a Jamaican-American father, Donald J. Harris, a Stanford University professor, Harris and her sister Maya were brought up in a largely African-American neighborhood, by a single mother.
Yet, Harris has not shirked from identifying her Indian roots and repeatedly brought up her mother and her grandparents during her primary campaign in particular and also during the vice- presidential run.
A graduate of a traditionally black college, Howard University, then doing law at the University of California Hastings College of Law, Harris’ rise up the political ladder has been meteoric – from District Attorney of San Francisco, through Attorney General of California, and then junior Senator in the upper house on Capitol Hill, when she was picked by Biden as his running mate, in a bid to bag the African American vote.
In 2014, Harris married Douglas Emhoff, an entertainment attorney, and partner at the DLA Piper law firm in Los Angeles, who has two children from a previous marriage.