President in-waiting: Who Kamala Harris is and how she’ll change US


Poised to make history as the first female vice president and the heir apparent of the Democratic party, Kamala Harris has proven a difficult target to her critics.

The 55-year-old former California Attorney-General has been alternatively slammed by the Left for her work as a prosecutor and by conservatives as the most liberal of all 100 US senators.

But on the day her candidacy was announced, Democrats said they experienced record grassroots fundraising.

She has been an energetic surrogate for Joe Biden, 77, who spent much of the presidential campaign hunkered down at home in Delaware due to coronavirus.


If she becomes vice president, Ms Harris is also broadly considered far closer to the top job than many of her predecessors due to Mr Biden's record advanced years and the fact he has not publicly committed to seeking a second term.

The first black and South Asian woman on a presidential ticket, Ms Harris has also benefited from timing.

Back when Senator Amy Klobuchar withdrew from the race to become Mr Biden's running mate, she said the race protests in her home state of Minnesota after the killing of George Floyd were part of her decision.

"After what I've seen in my state, what I've seen across the country, this is a historic moment and America must seize on this moment," she said in June.

"This is a moment to put a woman of colour on that ticket."

When Mr Biden announced she would be his running mate in August, he said he wanted her to serve as a vice president in similar fashion to his own eight years alongside Barack Obama.

"I asked Kamala to be the last voice in the room. To always tell me the truth … to challenge my assumptions," he said.

"Because that's the way we make the best decisions for the American people."

Mr Biden said he had "no doubt" Ms Harris was "the right person" after vetting more than a dozen women for the role.

"Kamala knows how to govern, she knows how to make the hard calls. She's ready to do this job on day one," he said.

Ms Harris described the race as a "moment of real consequence for America".

Kamala Harris and Douglas Emhoff with her stepchildren Cole and Ella.
Kamala Harris and Douglas Emhoff with her stepchildren Cole and Ella.

"Everything we care about; our economy, our health, our children, the kind of country we live in. It's all on the line," she has said.

"We are reeling through the worst public health crisis in a century.

"The president's mismanagement of the pandemic has plunged us into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and we are experiencing a moral reckoning, with racism and systemic injustice that has brought a new coalition of conciseness on the streets of our country, demanding change."

Ms Harris also spoke about her family, husband Douglas Emhoff and stepchildren Cole and Ella, as well as her nephews and nieces.

"I have had a lot of titles in my time, but Momala will always be the one that means the most," she said.



Originally published as President in-waiting: Who Kamala Harris is and how she'll change US