Editorial: Voters to decide if America’s future looks more like Harris or Trump?

The Sacramento Bee

Kamala Harris has repeatedly proven she is an unstoppable politician with a talent for making history.

From her very first race, when she defeated her former boss to become the district attorney of San Francisco, Harris has defied expectations. This made her a standout candidate in the eyes of Joe Biden. And neither her failed presidential campaign nor her determined attempt to end Biden’s career during the first Democratic debate in June 2019 could halt her historic momentum. She lost the primary but won the spot of running mate on the 2020 ticket.

Perhaps the elbows she threw at Biden only proved that she has what it takes to go up against the likes of President Donald Trump in the fierce and ugly election to come. Whatever the calculation, Biden — picking his vice president from among a group of distinguished and experienced women — chose her.

Biden’s message to the nation is clear: In America, we can disagree passionately. We can argue and even do or say things that hurt those we love. Yet we must ultimately reconcile our differences and push, together, in a better direction.

Neither candidate on the Democratic ticket is without fault. Both did a good job of pointing out the other’s failures and weaknesses during the campaign. Trump will make great use of debate clips of Biden and Harris shredding each other’s records on racial justice and criminal justice.

In truth, Biden and Harris have found themselves on the wrong side of key issues in the past. Both must confront the valid criticism that they did not always use their power to do what, here in 2020, many consider righteous and just. Biden, for example, pushed the 1994 crime bill that encouraged states to hand out tougher sentences and build more prisons.

When she was a district attorney, Biden said during the debate, Harris’ office made serious mistakes that drew criticism from a judge and led to over 1,000 cases being dropped or dismissed. Harris also stayed neutral on some crucial reforms at critical moments during her career.

Biden’s historic choice brings to the 2020 race a powerful energy and momentum with which Trump will struggle to compete.

Yes, Joe Biden befriended segregationists during his decades in the United States Senate. And faced with the most important decision of his life, he put a Black and Indian woman on the most consequential presidential ticket in history. His willingness to make a partner of one of his harshest critics demonstrates his courage to confront hard truths and to embrace change.

Yes, Harris too often took the side of the police over the side of justice. If she becomes vice president, she must use her knowledge and experience to push for transformative and permanent changes to criminal justice and policing. She will owe a debt to those see her as a beaming agent of progressive change even though her track record has often disappointed such hopes.

However, this election will not be a verdict on the imperfections of Joe Biden or Kamala Harris. The 2020 election will be a judgment on Donald Trump. Defeating Trump will be no easy task.

The question now is whether the future of America looks more like Kamala Harris or Donald Trump.

The Sacramento Bee

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