‘Game-Changer’: Kamala Harris Makes History As Next Vice PresidentHistorians in the News
tags: African American history, Indian Americans, 2020 Election, Kamala Harris, Asian American History
California Sen. Kamala Harris will become the next vice president of the United States, shattering another racial and gender barrier in American politics, at the end of a bruising presidential race that further exposed a bitterly divided electorate.
Harris, 56, will bring a legion of firsts to the vice presidency: A daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica, she will be the first woman, the first Black person, the first Indian American and the first Asian American to hold the office. She will also be the first graduate of a historically Black college and first member of a Black sorority to do so.
“It sends a message about what kind of country we are today,” said Manisha Sinha, a professor of American history at the University of Connecticut. “An interracial democracy that represents people, men and women, from all over the globe. I think that’s a very good thing for American democracy. And for me personally, it gives me a sense of national belonging that may not have been there before to some extent.”
Harris claimed her place in history on Saturday after a close battle for the White House, at the conclusion of which President Trump falsely claimed victory with millions of votes outstanding, and his legal team pursued action amid the close race. It also closes an election season upended by the coronavirus pandemic, and a fierce national reckoning over race, justice and police brutality.
Democrats were seeking a victory that would demonstrate a repudiation of Trump and the direction in which he is leading the country. That did not happen this year, in a race with razor-thin margins in some key states, and there was no Democratic wave. But in Harris’ elevation to the vice presidency, the party and the country mark a significant milestone in a caustic political environment.