Kamala Harris, more than a symbol

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Due to the assault on the Capitol on January 6 and its aftermath, the media paid less attention than expected to Kamala Harris being sworn in.

Of course, social media got carried away when she appeared on her husband’s arm, wearing a spectacular purple ensemble. The choice of a color mixing democratic blue with republican red was a call for unity, for political rapprochement. Purple was also a nod to the clothing color chosen by Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress in 1972.

It is also not insignificant that Ms Harris was sworn in before the first Spanish-speaking judge in history to sit on the Supreme Court. Sonia Sotomayor and the vice-president represented for a few short minutes the rise of women and minorities to the most prestigious positions in American political institutions.

Beyond the image

Beyond these powerful images, too little attention has been paid to the real power that Kamala Harris now has. It could even be argued that she is currently the most influential woman in Washington. If Joe Biden is to be believed, she will have a seat around the table for all major decisions and will be given important issues.

We often point in the direction of Nancy Pelosi when we want to associate women with power, but the Speaker of the House will already have a lot to do to maintain unity within her troops and we already believe that she intends to prepare for her succession.

Kamala Harris’s influence should first be noticeable in the Senate. The upper house being shared equally between Democrats and Republicans, it will be up to it to make the final decision. The complicity and collaboration between Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be constantly sought, at least until the midterm elections, in 2022.

In addition to her crucial role in the Senate, the participation of the first woman from minorities to take up the vice-presidency is of strategic importance. Joe Biden owes his victory and his majority in the Senate to the vote of women and, above all, to that of minorities, particularly in Georgia. Rest assured that he is fully aware of this and that he will take care of sending the right message to these two electoral clienteles.

Horizon 2024

It has often been pointed out that the Biden presidency could be a transitional one and that the Delaware politician would be limited to one term. If I have reservations about this, the context could still favor Ms. Harris for the 2024 presidential election.

The Democratic Party will have its eyes riveted on the performance of the vice
president, who has a few years to analyze the mechanics of power, but also to expand its tentacles and develop a solid network.

Clever at attracting funders, but struggling to raise enthusiasm during the 2020 primaries, it will be interesting to observe whether she will be able to take advantage of the vice-presidential springboard to break the famous glass ceiling.

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