Read Editorial with D2G – Ep 475

The Indian Express

Candidate Kamala

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US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s choice of California Senator ( A senator is a person who works in the government ) Kamala Devi Harris as running mate is remarkable ( worthy of attention; striking ) in so many ways. Harris, born to an Indian mother and a Jamaican father, is a classic American story of immigration and integration, of course.

At a time when President Donald Trump has sought ( attempt to find (something) ) to turn the US insular ( lacking contact with other people ) and less welcoming to immigrants, Harris’s choice offers an energising ( give vitality and enthusiasm to ) counter-narrative to a strain ( force (a part of one’s body or oneself) to make an unusually great effort ) of populist politics that finds echoes ( repeat (someone’s words or opinions), typically to express agreement )  across the world.

It is also a defining moment for Black America pushed to the political and social wall, giving them a voice in the highest office. For the Indian immigrant community, too, after its success in technology and business, Harris’s candidature prises ( use force in order to move, move apart, or open (something) ) open spaces in politics and public affairs.

The choice is also a testament to the robust ( strong and healthy; vigorous ) institutional framework that binds the party structure in the US, in this case the Democratic Party, which enables leaders to welcome their rivals within and respond creatively to new social forces and realities to rally their base.

Harris, 55, was an ardent ( very enthusiastic or passionate )  critic ( a person who expresses an unfavourable opinion of something ) of Biden in her bid for nomination as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate. Her powerful advocacy of race issues was in contrast to the understated response of Biden to campaigns such as Black Lives Matter.

Sure, Harris is more centrist ( having moderate political views or policies ) than Bernie Sanders and progressives may find her too cautious but her formidable ( inspiring fear or respect through being impressively large, powerful, intense, or capable ) record as an attorney-general and her hyphenated ( write or separate with a hyphen )  history growing up Black and Jamaican-South-Asian brings to the Biden ticket a rare energy and an excitement and a strong counter to Trump’s politics.

For all the understandable celebration in India about Harris’s rise, it should not be forgotten that hers is more an American story than an Indian one. Biden is not an unknown in New Delhi, he was Barack Obama’s deputy for eight years. Whether the Biden-Harris ticket wins, only November will tell but the Democrats seem to be on an upswing ( an increase in strength or quantity; an upward trend ) — remarkable for a party that was written off barely ( only just; almost not ) months ago.

Yet, Harris wades ( walk with effort through water or another liquid or viscous substance ) into a deeply polarised domestic political landscape when Washington’s long-held assumptions on economics and foreign policy are being upended ( set or turned on its end or upside down). For Biden to choose her from a wide field of Democratic candidates is also an admission that independent of personal preferences, a leader may need to respond to broader social resonances ( the quality in a sound of being deep, full, and reverberating ) and engage with pushback from civil society for change to ride the tide.

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