Opinion- Harris’ influence could outlive a Biden presidency

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Haley Medeiros

Senior Wes Barrett watches Kamala Harris accept her nomination as Vice President. Joe Biden recently came to make the strategic decision to run with her earlier this week. “I hope that younger voters will get excited” AP Government teacher Mandy Murphy said. “Hopefully, if we get more candidates who are like Kamala Harris, who aren’t just old white men, that it will get more younger voters excited about voting.”

Wesley Barrett, Columnist

The presumptive democratic nominee Joe Biden made history by choosing Calif. Sen. Kamala Harris (D.)  as the first woman of color on a major party ticket August 11.

While Harris  isn’t the first women (Former U.S. Ambassador Geraldine Ferraro) or person of color (Former president Barack Obama) to be in such a position, she is nevertheless still unprecedented, and she’s running at a unique time.

As the Pew Research Center details, in recent years, more people in the United States have gained positive views on diversity. After protests erupted due to the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, the desire for diversity became more present.

This increased importance of diversity to American voters also coincides with an increased importance of the vice president. While the role of vice president has historically been small, originally having minimal powers such as the ability to break ties in the senate, it has been augmented over time. The vice president now plays important roles in everything from foreign policy to spear-heading domestic issues, such as vice president Mike Pence’s role as head of the Covid-19 task force earlier this year.

Even beyond that though, Harris’ influence could be massive.

Biden’s age, combined with his desire to be a “transition” candidate, has cast doubt on whether he would run for a second term if he won. This means that Harris could very well be the next face of the democratic party, redefining the norm on policy on both a presidential and law-making level.

As a result, a choice like this has the real possibility to galvanize younger voters.”I hope that younger voters will get excited,” AP government teacher Mandy Murphy said. “Hopefully, if we get more candidates who are like Kamala Harris, who aren’t just old white men, that it will get more younger voters excited about voting.”

More pointedly, growing responsibilities of the vice president and an increasing desire for diversity, are especially important to high schoolers. A decision in leadership of this caliber holistically affects policies that affect the way we live, one example being our government’s CoViD-19 response.

This pick can also mold our future. As high schoolers, the growing demand to make college more affordable could be largely directed by the future administration. Additionally, issues that are close to us on a state level like immigration policy, or the possibility of a so called “Blue Wave” in Texas are at stake, making this the year’s election the event to watch, or if you’re lucky enough, vote in.