Will Kamala Harris make the difference?

Will Kamala Harris make the difference?

You've probably heard a lot in the past three days about Senator Kamala Harris, her background, and the ground-breaking nature of her candidacy for US vice president.

But now that the cheering crowds have logged off and the virtual confetti has been swept away, we're left with a basic question: will Kamala Harris make a difference — on the campaign trial and maybe in the White House — for Joe Biden?


There are three ways to answer that question.

Can she help Biden unseat President Donald Trump? Early evidence suggests Biden's choice of Harris is fairly popular. As the first black woman and first person of Asian descent on a presidential ticket, she might boost Biden's appeal at the margins with black voters, women, and Indian-Americans, though Biden is already popular with the first two groups.

Less tangibly, but perhaps more importantly, Harris' considerable energy and charisma can boost public excitement for a campaign led by the 77-year-old Biden, a man who has been active in US politics for half a century. On the other hand, her record as a San Francisco prosecutor and California attorney general will trouble some voters on the progressive left who want substantial reform of policing across the United States.

All that said, the historical evidence shows that voters don't care very much whose name appears second on the party ticket.

Can she serve as president on a moment's notice? The vice president's most important constitutional role is to become president if the boss can't continue. Gerald Ford (1974), Lyndon Johnson (1963), and Harry Truman (1945) are the most recent examples.

Senator Harris does have executive experience. As California Attorney General, she ran the second largest justice department in the United States, an organization with 5,000 employees.

She was much less successful, however, at the head of her own 2020 presidential campaign, a mysteriously dysfunctional operation that broke down before the first votes were cast in Democratic primaries.

If Biden wins, can she help him govern? When Biden introduced her on Wednesday as his campaign partner, he said he wants Harris to be the "last voice in the room" after other advisors are gone and someone who will "challenge my assumptions if she disagrees."

The prosecutorial precision with which Harris has questioned witnesses during Senate hearings, and her willingness to go after Biden on the debate stage while she was still a presidential candidate, suggest Harris has more than enough toughness and poise to fill that role. Also important: Biden's trust in Harris is boosted by her longstanding friendship with his late son Beau.

Here's a bonus question....

Is Kamala Harris the future of the Democratic Party? Not so fast. Ask a voter enthusiastic about Senator Harris what they like about her, and you're more likely to hear about her personal strengths and professional achievements than about policy positions.

Progressive voters, increasingly important for the future of the Democratic Party, know what Senator Bernie Sanders believes. They know that Senator Elizabeth Warren has "a plan for that," and they associate emerging star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with the "Green New Deal."

If Kamala Harris is to become the dominant voice in her party, she'll have to develop a brand that makes it easier for voters to identify her — and easier for rivals to attack her.

Bottom line: Harris has obvious value for Biden as a respected and trusted policy advisor. Her broader political appeal remains untested.

Meet Zoe Marshall, grandmother, fishmonger, and thriving business owner.

https://ad.doubleclick.net/ddm/trackimp/N6024.4218512GZEROMEDIA/B26379324.311531246;dc_trk_aid=504469522;dc_trk_cid=156468981;ord=[timestamp];dc_lat=;dc_rdid=;tag_for_child_directed_treatment=;tfua=;gdpr=${GDPR};gdpr_consent=${GDPR_CONSENT_755};ltd=

When Zoe Marshall decided to switch careers in her forties and become a fishmonger, she was scared. After leaving her job of 23 years, Zoe was forced to pivot in order to keep her family's home. Despite challenges, she forged ahead, opening Sea-Licious. Accepting Visa payments in her fishmonger shop, this access to commerce helps Zoe provide convenience to her customers and confidence in their transactions. Though she's one of the only women in the fish market each morning, her business and its place in the local community are flourishing with Visa's help.

Learn more about Zoe and her story.

The minutiae of supply chains makes for boring dinner table talk, but it's increasingly becoming a hot topic of conversation now that packages are taking much longer to arrive in the consumer-oriented US, while prices of goods soar.

With the issue unlikely to be resolved anytime soon, right-wing media have dubbed President Biden the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, conjuring images of sad Christmas trees surrounded by distraught children whose holiday gifts are stuck somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

It hasn't been a good run for Uncle Joe in recent months. What issues are tripping him up?

More Show less

Taking place on October 21 and 22, the Sustainability Leaders Summit will go beyond preexisting narratives and debate priorities for governments and industries ahead of COP26. Placing the spotlight on Asia's role in the global sustainability agenda, the event will address whether Asian countries and companies can achieve shared sustainability goals, and what is needed to help get them there. The summit will be co-hosted by Tak Niinami, CEO of Suntory Holdings, and Ian Bremmer, founder and president of Eurasia Group and GZERO Media. We will address three key questions: How can Asian countries, with the help of the private sector, achieve shared Sustainability Goals? Why does this matter? And what are the policy changes needed to bring it about?

Attendance is free and open to the public. Register to attend.

More Show less

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, shares insights on US politics:

A Trump media platform? Is this for real?

This week, President Trump announced his potential return to social media through the creation of his own digital media platform that's going to merge with an existing publicly-traded company in a deal known as a SPAC. These deals are increasingly popular for getting access to capital, and it seems like that's where President Trump is headed.

The publicly-traded company's stock was up on the news, but it's really hard to see this coming together. The Trump media company claims it wants to go up against not only Facebook and Twitter, but companies like Amazon and cloud computing and even Disney providing a safe space for conservatives to share their points of view. The fact of the matter is, conservatives do quite well on existing social media platforms when they aren't being kicked off for violating the terms of service, and other conservative social media platforms that have attempted to launch this year haven't really gone off the ground.

More Show less

Protests in Sudan: Protests are again shaking the Sudanese capital, as supporters of rival wings of the transitional government take to the streets. Back in 2019, after popular demonstrations led to the ouster of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir, a deal was struck between civilian activists and the army, in which a joint civilian-military government would run the country until fresh elections could be held in 2023. But now supporters of the military wing are calling on it to dissolve the government entirely, while supporters of the civilian wing are counter-protesting. Making matters worse, a pro-military tribal leader in Eastern Sudan has set up a blockade which is interrupting the flow of goods and food to the capital. The US, which backs the civilian wing, has sent an envoy to Khartoum as tensions rise, while Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey are all vying for a piece as well.

More Show less

1 billion: One billion Indians have now gotten at least one COVID vaccine shot. It's a big turnaround for the country, which stumbled with the initial rollout and then suspended vaccine exports for months to deal with a deadly wave in the spring. Still, only 30 percent of the eligible population is fully vaccinated in India, the world's largest manufacturer of vaccines.

More Show less

Listen: The nature of work had already been changing long before the global pandemic accelerated trends around flexible work, remote work technology, and the gig economy. While some industries and workers have benefitted from these changes, others have been left behind - including many women who dropped out of the workforce due to family concerns, or service-industry professionals whose jobs evaporated.

The latest episode of Living Beyond Borders, a special podcast series from GZERO brought to you by Citi Private Bank, looks in depth at the future of work and how the latest trends will change business, the economy, and the global political balance. Moderated by Caitlin Dean, Head of the Geostrategy Practice at Eurasia Group, this episode features Ida Liu, Global Head of Private Banking at Citi Global Wealth and Alexander Kazan, Chief Commercial Officer at Eurasia Group.

Ida Liu Global Head of Private Banking, Citi Global Wealth

Ida Liu

Global Head of Private Banking, Citi Global Wealth

Alexander Kazan, Chief Commercial Officer at Eurasia Group

Alexander Kazan

Chief Commercial Officer, Eurasia Group

Caitlin Dean, Practice Head, Geostrategy, Eurasia Group

Caitlin Dean

Practice Head, Geostrategy, Eurasia Group

Three years ago, Facebook changed its algorithms to mitigate online rage and misinformation. But it only made Facebook worse by boosting toxic engagement, says Nick Thompson, The Atlantic CEO & former WIRED editor-in-chief. Thompson believes Facebook simply got in over its head, rather than becoming intentionally "evil" like, say, Big Tobacco with cigarettes. "I think they just created something they couldn't control. And I think they didn't grasp what was happening until too late." Watch his interview with Ian Bremmer on the latest episode of GZERO World.

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter, Signal

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal