The chances of Senator Kamala Harris, D-California, being selected by presidential candidate Joe Biden as his running mate, rose as results of a poll by Morning Consult/Politico showed more Democrats are now in favor of an African American Vice President.
Harris is the first Indian-American elected to the upper house of Congress. She is also of African descent. Her father is of Jamaican heritage and her mother was Indian.
The poll published June 10, 2020, showed 29% of registered voters said it was very or somewhat important for Biden to pick a person of color as his running mate. This is 7 points higher than just a couple months ago in April, due largely to an increase in support from Whites and Liberals.
In addition, 61 percent of respondents view the movement Black Lives Matter favorably today in contrast to just 37 percent in August 2017, when the organization clashed with White Supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The share who said it was not important who Biden picked as Vice President, fell from 53 to 48 percent.
Both polls, one on the VP pick, and the other on views of Black Lives Matter, surveyed roughly 2,000 registered voters each, with 2-point margins of error.
Interestingly, the increase in support for a Black candidate was not the result of an increase in support from the African American community. Instead, it was white voters who responded in greater proportion to opine that Biden should pick someone who isn’t white — that number rising from just 19 percent in April to 26 percent now.
Early in his campaign Biden made clear he would be choosing a woman to be his running mate. However, from a field of just one, viz. Harris, his shortlist now includes at least three other Black women, Rep. Val Demings, D-Florida, a former law enforcement officer, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and Georgia’s rising Democratic star and former State Rep. Stacey Abrams. Each one has expressed their willingness to take up the position if offered.
All four names being floated for VP, embody much of the characteristics Biden already spelt out he needed in a running mate.
Biden’s senior adviser, Symone Sanders speaking on ABC’s ” The View” said the presidential candidate was aware of calls to pick an African American woman as VP, but that he had also been urged to pick a Latina by the Latino community, and an LGBTQ+ candidate by that community.
“Your points are well taken,” Sanders said but added that Biden did not know who he would pick as of now. “… but he can promise you that the person he will pick will be ready to govern on day one, will mirror the relationship he and President Obama had, and it could be a black woman but we just don’t know yet. We’ll have to wait and see,” she said.
“But Demings, a former police chief, and Harris, a former state attorney general, also have experience in law enforcement — a quality which, at 49 percent, black voters are 11 points more likely to describe as important in Biden’s prospective No. 2 than the overall population,” according to Morning Consult.
An influential group of African-American women sent a public letter back on April 24, to Biden urging him to pick a woman from their community, the New York Times reported. Now with George Floyd’s death at the hands of white police officer Derek Chauvin May 25, in Minnesota, the pressure on Biden has grown from all levels of the Democratic Party, the Times said.
The names of prospective white women as VPs such as Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, appear to be on the back burner for now.