Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is a first in a number of ways: the first woman, the first Black person and the first Indian-American to serve in that role.
Her husband, Douglas Emhoff, will make history, too. He will be the first man and first Jewish person to serve as a spouse to a president or vice president. Harris is Baptist.
And everyone from political strategists to racial justice activists are waiting to see whether those firsts will be mere symbolic wins or the beginning of a sea change on gender and race relations and the launch of an enduring Democratic coalition.
The symbolism alone is important. Strategists say Black women are the backbone of the Democratic Party. They vote in large numbers, help staff its volunteer efforts and power its wins in key races, but they have not always been well-represented among its candidates or in its policy decisions.
In an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” last month, Harris vowed that she would bring her diverse perspective to the Biden administration.
“What I will do, and I promise you this — and this is what Joe wants me to do, this was part of our deal — I will always share with him my lived experience as it relates to any issue that we confront,” she said. “And I promised Joe that I will give him that perspective and always be honest with him.”
That experience includes being the daughter of an Indian immigrant and a Jamaican-born father. She was raised biracial and interfaith. She is a Christian, but also attended Hindu temples with her mother.
That side of Harris’s background could help galvanize Asian-American voters, the fastest-growing racial or ethnic group in the U.S. and one both Democrats and Republicans have tried to woo.
We did it, @JoeBiden.
6:23 PM · Nov 7, 2020
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