fb-pixel Skip to main content

A moment of celebration at the prospect of Kamala Harris as vice president — before the ugly deluge

Sen. Kamala Harris spoke on Wednesday at the first event she attended since Joe Biden announced she would be his running mate.
Sen. Kamala Harris spoke on Wednesday at the first event she attended since Joe Biden announced she would be his running mate.OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

Please, can’t I just enjoy this a little longer?

Let me sit with my delight at the prospect of Kamala Harris as vice president of the United States. Let me revel in the prospect that this brilliant, courageous, empathetic woman, this daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, could ascend to the second-highest office in the land, and possibly higher. And that such a woman could be seen as the safe choice for presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, in what is literally a life-or-death election. Let me celebrate Biden’s promise that hers will be “the last voice in the room,” when he’s making decisions, and his expectation that this strong woman of color will “challenge my assumptions if she disagrees,” as he put it in their first appearance together late Wednesday.


It’s been a long time since I felt this hopeful about national politics. Granted, my bar is low these days, thanks to the bigoted imbecile in the Oval Office. I don’t ask for much, just sane, uncorrupt adults who are interested in actually governing, who read things, and are capable of compassion.

Neither of these Democrats was my first choice for president, but they are great in many ways — more progressive now than they were six months ago, committed to getting a handle on the economy and on a pandemic the current president barely acknowledges, with plans for how to move us forward.

Icing on the cake: Harris’s selection appears to have left Trump’s apostles discombobulated. His defenders struggled Tuesday to agree on a line of attack, so they just threw everything up, hoping something would stick. Harris isn’t truly African-American, given her heritage, a couple of pundits pointed out, in the hopes of turning off I’m not sure whom. They called her part of the left-wing mob, and derided her as a moderate whose selection betrayed progressives. She was criticized for being too pro-cop and for appeasing anti-police extremists. You love to see it.


But that dizzying mess, like the first happy hours of the Democratic ticket, will be fleeting.

Trump will focus on all he has left at this point, given the mess he’s made of the country: racism and sexism, which both come as naturally to him as breathing. And since Biden is immune on both fronts, Trump and his cult will be lobbing it all at Harris.

Just after the announcement Tuesday, the president repeatedly called Harris “nasty,” an insult he often trots out against women, and proceeded to whip up generalized white anxiety. On Wednesday, he touted his efforts to keep low-income housing out of the suburbs, which he said would appeal to suburban white women, whom he clearly thinks don’t want the impoverished, presumably Black and brown, riff-raff to “invade” their perfect enclaves. He warned that Biden would bring the marauders back, “in bigger form, with Corey Booker in charge.” I’m sure his randomly invoking a (misspelled) Black senator’s name was just a coincidence. Later in the day, he hailed the primary victory of Marjorie Taylor Greene, a racist conspiracy theorist who won a House runoff in Georgia and is almost certainly going to Congress. His stepped-up law-and-order rhetoric in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests is part of a long tradition of candidates trying to appeal to white voters by using civil rights activism to prompt panic over crime.


Harris will provide him with another vehicle for that bigotry. Expect the birther-in-chief to embrace the ugly speculation about whether “anchor baby” Harris is really a US citizen, and to tie her to the lawless chaos he claims is imminent.

It’s all so bald that you have to assume anybody who is still supporting Trump at this point is one of three things: straight-up racist; OK with racism; or living under a rock.

On the upside, there clearly aren’t enough of those voters to carry Trump to victory. Which is why he and his enablers are trying to cheat their way to victory — seeking foreign help, leveraging the pandemic to suppress votes, throttling mail-in voting.

On the downside, he and his enablers are doing a pretty good job of it so far.

Ugh, there goes my Harris high. Come back!

Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham can be reached at yvonne.abraham@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeAbraham.