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Making history

"Electing a principled, intelligent, articulate and competent person—male or female, it would not matter -- would be a landmark development."

The Democratic candidate for president Joe Bidden has picked Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, making history by selecting the first woman of color to be on the presidential ticket of a major political party.

In choosing Harris, Biden is embracing a former rival from the Democratic primary who is familiar with the rigors of a national campaign. Harris, a 55-year-old first-term senator from California, is also one of the party’s most prominent figures and quickly became a top contender for the No. 2 spot after her own White House campaign ended.

A woman has never served as president or vice president in the United States. Two women have been nominated as running mates on major party tickets: Democrat Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Republican Sarah Palin in 2008. Their party lost in the general election.

Former secretary of state Hilary Clinton ran for the presidency in 2016 and won the popular vote but lost out in the Electoral College that gave Donald Trump the victory.

The vice presidential pick carries increased significance this year. If elected, Biden would be 78 when he’s inaugurated in January, the oldest man to ever assume the presidency. He’s spoken of himself as a transitional figure and hasn’t fully committed to seeking a second term in 2024. If he declines to do so, his running mate would likely become a front-runner for the nomination that year.

Born in Oakland to a Jamaican father and Indian mother, Harris won her first election in 2003 when she became San Francisco’s district attorney. In the role, she created a reentry program for low-level drug offenders and cracked down on student truants by threatening to jail their parents.

She was elected California’s attorney general in 2010, the first woman and Black person to hold the job.

As her national profile grew, Harris built a reputation around her work as a prosecutor. After being elected to the Senate in 2016, she quickly gained attention for her assertive questioning of Trump administration officials during congressional hearings.

Harris launched her presidential campaign in early 2019 and was one of the highest-profile contenders in a crowded Democratic primary. But the early promise of her campaign eventually faded and she withdrew from the race in December 2019, and subsequently endorsed Biden.

Biden, of course, was himself part of a major historic event when he became the running mate of Barack Obama, the first Black president of the United States in 2009.

In the Philippines, we have already overcome the gender barrier by electing two female presidents. This does not mean, however, that there is no more history to be made. Here is a radical notion: would we not make history by electing a principled, intelligent, articulate and competent person—male or female, it would not matter—to the highest office in the land? What a landmark development that would be.

Topics: Editorial , Making history , Joe Bidden , Senator Kamala Harris , US presidential election
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