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It's Kamala! And What That Means For California Politics




California Senator Kamala Harris endorses Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden as she speaks to supporters during a campaign rally at Renaissance High School in Detroit, Michigan on March 9, 2020.
California Senator Kamala Harris endorses Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden as she speaks to supporters during a campaign rally at Renaissance High School in Detroit, Michigan on March 9, 2020.
JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images

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Joe Biden is making his first appearance with newly chosen running mate Kamala Harris on Wednesday, betting that the California senator’s historic profile and confrontational style against President Donald Trump will boost Democrats’ efforts to oust the Republican president amid cascading national crises.

The former primary rivals will appear at a high school in Biden’s Delaware hometown to discuss their shared vision for how to defeat Trump and then lead the country through a pandemic, its economic fallout and a long-simmering reckoning with systemic racism. Harris and Biden then will sit down together for an online fundraiser designed to let even small donors get a fresh glimpse of what the Democratic presidential ticket will look like together.

The daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, she is the first Black woman and first person of Asian descent to join a major party presidential ticket. But the 55-year-old former prosecutor will have to put her animated public style – often a contrast to the folksier 77-year-old Biden – to use in television and online streaming formats without voter interaction or feedback. Harris was considered a favorite throughout Biden’s search. She’d been a regular surrogate for him for months, with the pair appearing at ease during online fundraisers together and the senator appearing on her own as a surrogate for campaign events and on television. They’ll nonetheless have to paper over some differences exposed during the early primary campaign, from Harris’ initial support for a single-payer health insurance system and the Green New Deal to her deeply personal debate-stage broadside against Biden over his opposition to federally mandated busing to integrate public schools in the 1970s.

Today on AirTalk, we’ll take a look through a California lens at what Senator Harris brings to the Democratic ticket, what the official Biden-Harris 2020 campaign will look like, and who might be on Governor Newsom’s shortlist to replace her in the U.S. Senate.

With files from the Associated Press

With guest host Libby Denkmann

Guests:

Marisa Lagos, political reporter at KQED and co-host of the podcast Political Breakdown; she tweets @mlagos

Mark Z. Barabak, staff writer covering state and national politics for the Los Angeles Times; he tweets @markzbarabak