Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris
Photo: AFP

With Joe Biden inching closer to the finish line, it would appear that the Democrats are set to create history in the near future. While President Trump has repeatedly called for a legal scrutiny of the vote counting process, projecting himself as he rightfully elected candidate, the numbers at present do not seem to be in his favour.

As per the states that have been called thus far by The Associated Press, Biden is maintaining a substantial lead, with 264 electoral votes to Trump's 214. The winning candidate needs to secure 270. In many of the swing states, Biden is leading the count with slim margins - something that Trump has lamented on many occasions recently.

"I had such a big lead in all of these states late into election night, only to see the leads miraculously disappear as the days went by. Perhaps these leads will return as our legal proceedings move forward!" he tweeted early on Saturday.

But while the two candidates vie for the Presidential mantle, many eyes are focused firmly on VP nominee Kamala Harris. As many note, her appointment would be a first for many reasons. To begin with, the California Democrat would be the first woman to hold the position. And as the US contends with the Black Lives Matter movement, her ethnicity also assumes significance. Harris, born of an Indian-origin mother and a Jamaican-origin father, will also be the first person of colour to hold the position, if Biden wins.

This is not all. Should the democrats secure the polls, she will also be the first Indian American, the first South Asian American and the first Asian to be elected to the post. It must be noted however that she is not the first woman or person of colour to run for the position of VP.

Since her nomination, even as many communities in the US exulted the move as a massive step forward, others took it upon themselves to hit out at the Senator. From celebrations in the Tamil Nadu village from which Kamala's grandfather hailed, to multiple mispronunciations of her name by her fellow countrymen - there have been many a talking point over the last few months.

But while Kamala Harris would have the pressure of many 'firsts' on her shoulders, the new government has a far more concerning task ahead of them. If elected, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris would be taking over from President Trump to combat, among other things, the COVID-19 pandemic which has killed more than 230,000 Americans. Here too, the VP might come to play a crucial role.

While his campaign had earlier indicated that Biden will establish a White House-level coronavirus task force like Trump did, it's not clear if he will tap Harris to run it. Vice President Mike Pence heads the current panel. Biden has promised to use his transition period to meet with the governors of every state and ask them to impose a nationwide mask-wearing mandate. He says he plans to go around any holdouts to secure such rules from county and local officials.

(To download our E-paper please click here. The publishers permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal