Kamala Harris Breaks the Glass Ceiling Again; Will Serve as First Female and First African American Vice President in U.S. History
After one of the most grueling and controversial presidential elections in U.S. history, the votes have been cast, the results are in, and the winner is (drumroll please)……. President-elect Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.
Biden, who served as vice president for 8 years under President Barack Obama, has been elected by the American people to become the 46th President of the United States.
In a victory speech this past Saturday, Biden thanked many of his supporters and really emphasized the support he received from the African American community, saying:
“I am proud of the coalition we put together, the broadest and most diverse in history…for those moments when this campaign was at its lowest – the African American community stood up again for me. They always have my back, and I’ll have yours.”
Not only was Biden elected as the 46th president on Tuesday, Nov. 3, his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris has also cemented her name in the history books, becoming the first female and first African American Vice President-elect in the nation’s history.
Harris becomes the first graduate of a Historically Black College & University (HBCU) to hold this position, having graduated with a B.A. degree in political science and economics from Howard University. While at Howard, Harris became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., which is a part of the Divine Nine group of African American fraternities and sororities that helped impact this election in a major way.
This is not the first time that Harris has broken the glass ceiling.
After earning her law degree, Harris went on to become an accomplished attorney through the California legal system, eventually becoming the San Francisco District Attorney in 2003 and California’s Attorney General in 2010. In 2016, she went on to become just the second African American woman to win a seat in the U.S. Senate, following in the footsteps of former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (IL), who was the first Black female senator ever elected to the U.S. Senate. In 2019, Harris declared her candidacy for the 2020 U.S. presidential election, but eventually dropped out of the race, prior to an extensive vetting process that led to her being announced as Biden’s vice presidential running mate months before the November election.
On Twitter, Kamala Harris addressed the need to get to work on many of the key issues in this country, and specifically spoke to Black women and young girls, expressing the following sentiments about her historic achievement:
“I’m thinking about my mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, and the generations of Black women who came before me who believed so deeply in an America where a moment like this is possible…I want to speak directly to the Black women in our country. Thank you. You are too often overlooked, and yet are asked time and again to step up and be the backbone of our democracy. We could not have done this without you…While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last—because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities…Joe Biden and I are ready to get COVID-19 under control. We’re ready to rebuild our economy. We’re ready to meet the challenges of the climate crisis. We’re ready to act to address systemic racism. And we’re ready to fight for you.”
Biden and Harris will succeed President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who surprised many people in 2016 with their victory that led to Trump becoming the 45th President. Trump polarized the nation during his tenure and it truly showed once all the votes were tallied. Going into Election Day, Biden held a significant lead in the polls, so a loss would have come as a huge surprise and shock to many political pundits and journalists who had been covering this contentious race. The race was closer than many people had expected, especially after it took five days to call the race for Biden.
Biden needed 270 electoral votes to win the 2020 U.S. Presidential contest, and was able to do so after several days of having the contest decided by mail-in ballots, which heavily favored the Democratic nominee. Biden crossed the finish line officially on November 6, after coming from behind and taking the lead in Pennsylvania and snagging their 20 electoral votes that were up for grabs. Without Pennsylvania, Biden still had a pathway to 270, as he won Arizona and Nevada as well.
As of this article, Biden sits at 290 electoral votes to Trump’s 214 electoral votes, with the states of North Carolina, Alaska and Georgia still to be decided.
Speaking of the huge shocker in Georgia, where the state has declared they will have a recount, Biden is up and projected to win that state and its 16 electoral votes also.
Georgia, which has been a Republican stronghold for decades, flipped for Biden and the Democrats, thanks in large part to the tremendous strategic efforts of former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.
Biden also won the popular vote handily over Trump by nearly 5 million votes, and he broke the popular vote record set by President Obama in 2008.
Unlike in 2016, where going into Election Day Trump found himself significantly behind in the polls, but pulled off the stunning victory, the polarizing president was unable to provide another November surprise in 2020.
This victory serves as a sigh of relief for many who wanted significant change at the presidential level and a glimmer of hope for many who see this as a chance for renewal.
Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Tom Perez captured many of those sentiments through a statement he released after the American people elected Biden and Harris as the next president and vice president of the United States:
“This is a historic victory. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won more votes than any other ticket in American history. We rebuilt the blue wall in the Midwest and flipped formerly red states like Georgia and Arizona. And Kamala Harris made history as the first woman and first person of color to be elected vice president of the United States. We’ll tell our grandchildren about this moment. We’ll tell them how Kamala Harris broke down barriers and showed future generations, especially young women of color, that there is no height to which they cannot aspire. We’ll tell them how millions of Americans organized and mobilized to lift Joe and Kamala to victory.”
Trump did himself no favors either, in that his botching the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, racist attacks, countless scandals, loss of global respect and other incendiary actions and statements he has displayed throughout his entire presidency, ultimately led to his presidential demise.
In addition to that, not one living former president endorsed Trump and other staunch Republicans withdrew their support for Trump and shifted it to Biden.
Former President Obama issued a statement congratulating Biden and Harris after their groundbreaking and historic win, but also acknowledging the challenges they both face coming into the office, stating:
“We’re fortunate that Joe’s got what it takes to be President and already carries himself that way. Because when he walks into the White House in January, he’ll face a series of extraordinary challenges no incoming President ever has – a raging pandemic, an unequal economy and justice system, a democracy at risk, and a climate in peril…The election results at every level show that the country remains deeply and bitterly divided. It will be up to not just Joe and Kamala, but each of us, to do our part – to reach out beyond our comfort zone, to listen to others, to lower the temperature and find some common ground from which to move forward, all of us remembering that we are one nation, under God…Our democracy needs all of us more than ever.”
In typical fashion, many key battleground states like Texas, had situations where voters faced aggressive suppression tactics at various levels across the state that sought to disenfranchise select voting blocs. Many of these tactics were instituted, but in the end none of them were able to sway the results of this presidential election. The actions, however, could have easily shaped the outcomes of many of the other state races, select local races and down ballot races.
Despite of the reported suppression tactics, lawsuits and controversies surrounding Trump, turnout for this 2020 election was record-breaking in many parts of the country, including Harris County and Fort Bend County, where Democrats practically swept every county race where they had a Democrat on the ballot.
Many voters were first-time voters, or voters who did not come out in 2016, undoubtedly made a huge difference in this election.
Now with Biden and Harris elected to take the helm, it will be interesting to see if both major political parties will work together to move this country forward and finally address many of the key concerns of African Americans.
Will Biden address the important issues facing African Americans and make those issues his top legislative priorities? Will he provide a safe and expedient cure for the COVID-19 pandemic? Will he seek to reduce the high unemployment rate? Will he advocate for continued criminal justice reform efforts? Will he restore America’s stature in the world? Will he and the Democrats have control of the presidency, House and Senate? With Biden being given four years by the American people to lead this country, will he lead better than his soon-to-be predecessor?
These are some of the many questions, and only time and actions will tell.
The Forward Times remains vigilant and focused on ensuring President-elect Joe Biden holds true to the expressed commitment he has made on the campaign trail, to intently focus on the many issues that are extremely important to the African American community in this country. We will all be watching and waiting.
Congratulations President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on your monumental and historic victory!