I did not support Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., when she campaigned for the Democratic presidential nomination last year, nor was she my first choice for a running mate for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. But after seeing the pair together Wednesday at their first campaign event, I have to conclude she is the best vice presidential choice to represent the emerging electorate and those in the center of America’s politics.

Why didn’t I support Harris earlier? Like many others, I found her time as a prosecutor and her criminal justice record troubling. I saw her presidential campaign as flat. While those feelings remain, my initial analysis was shortsighted and off.

Former Vice President Biden made history Tuesday when he picked Harris as his running mate. In describing her Wednesday at their campaign event in a high school gymnasium in Wilmington, Del., Biden said Harris “is going to stand up for me on this campaign, and all of us are going to stand up for her.”

BIDEN SAYS CAMPAIGN RAISED $26M SINCE KAMALA HARRIS ANNOUNCEMENT, IN ITS LARGEST DAILY HAUL

In choosing Harris, Biden — often characterized as a political centrist — tapped into the energy of the emerging electorate: a multiethnic community that resides in the center lane of American politics. These American voters hold fast to the idea that we are defined by our possibilities, and want to open the door to the American Dream wider to people of all backgrounds. They want to continue our nation’s long march toward equality and equity for all.

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These centrist voters decide elections. In 2008 and 2012, they came out by the millions to vote for the team of Barack Obama and Joe Biden. However, many of these voters in the emerging electorate weren’t engaged in the 2016 elections. As a result, millions stayed home and chose not to vote, or made the mistake of voting for Donald Trump because they fell for his false promises about how he would “Make America Great Again.”

After realizing that Trump’s Inaugural foreshadowing of “American carnage” was actually the country’s current reality under his incompetent and abysmal leadership, many of these voters woke up and sprinted to the polls in 2018 to return control of the House of Representatives to Democrats.

American politics are a pendulum, swinging back and forth between two poles. Our politics are neither conservative nor progressive; they continuously change over time. As a result, our nation spends more time in the center than either political party is willing to admit.

Harris will play a critical part in winning the November election

With a little over three years of Trump in the White House, it is clear that the pendulum currently resides somewhere near the center, but is swinging back to the left. In picking Harris, Biden signaled to the American electorate that he hears and sees them, and will dedicate his time in the White House to addressing underlying issues that caused the pendulum to swing so swiftly to the left.

These underlying issues include accessible and affordable health care, high-quality public education, student loan debt reform, a fair and just court system, police reforms, and economic policies that favor middle-class and working families.

For Harris, these issues are encapsulated in her work as a senator, where she has dedicated herself to bridging the divide between the American people and those in power. Unfortunately for Trump, these were issues that he once championed, but now they lay in waste outside the White House gates.

While he never ceases praising himself and his performance in office — and demanding that those in his administration, Congress, foreign leaders and the media shower him with undeserved praise as well —  Trump has failed to deliver again and again on his promises.

If voters put them in the White House, I believe Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will deliver where Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have failed miserably.

Harris — a Black woman with a Jamaican father and mother from India —– is not a safe vice-presidential choice by any standard. As an unyielding, strong legislator, the former attorney general of California and first-generation American has spent her entire life being marginalized and discriminated against by the unholy trinity of racism, misogyny, and xenophobia. Yet, she persisted.

Courageously, Harris has stood up to powerful people who subscribed to the unholy trinity again and again. This — along with her tremendous talents, commitment to justice and equality, and dedication to achieving her goals — makes her the right choice to be America’s next vice president.

In a strong and passionate first address to the American people as Biden’s running mate Wednesday, Harris laid out her story and made it clear she doesn’t belong to the progressive left, nor does she want to.

Harris is an independent voice in the “big tent” Democratic Party and has spent her time in the Senate standing up for women, children, and African Americans. She has fought against unqualified judicial nominees selected by President Trump and Trump’s unjust policies.

As Biden’s running mate, Harris can tighten messaging around policies, because she represents voters who believe deeply in public safety and yet challenge the “law-and-order” doctrine pushed by President Trump.

Additionally, Harris stands with voters who know the importance of uplifting middle-class and working families, especially when those families include single women, African Americans and immigrants.

These voters are often underestimated and undercounted, but usually are crucial to candidates seeking election. In the case of the Biden-Harris ticket, there is a lot of work that must be done to both educate and mobilize these voters during a pandemic that will change how voting is conducted.

Having Harris on the ticket will catalyze the process and move the Biden campaign forward in ensuring support amongst those who remain undecided, unsure, and worried for the country — the group Harris called “a coalition of the conscience” in her speech Wednesday.

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Before the horrific murder of George Floyd and the nationwide uprising that ensued, both Joe Biden and Harris were scrutinized about the political decisions they made in their pasts. Now those decisions exist in the rearview mirror, because overwhelming winds of changes have swept across America.

Instead of evaluating candidates’ decades-old records, the emerging electorate is thinking about the future. Atonement for past actions might be necessary for Biden, but Harris’ presence on the ticket moves the team one step closer to clinching the trust of the vital voting bloc that wants a ticket that best represents the future of our country.

Harris’s willingness to listen, change and hear the voices of everyday people — combined with her record of public service and proven effectiveness —  makes her more than qualified to work with Biden to lead our nation in these difficult times, and to assume the presidency should Biden die or become unable to carry out the job.

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The center lane of American politics is actually more of a melting pot made of citizens from various countries, cultures, colors and experiences that all fall under the umbrella of being American. Some come under the umbrella because their ancestors were brought here in chains and treated as less than human under the immoral racist institution of slavery. Others faced untold struggles as immigrants.

Kamala Harris represents both of these groups, as well as the suburban moms and dads who want those who occupy the White House to be role models for the next generation. Representation matters. Harris will play a critical part in winning the November election and ending the destructive policies of the Trump-Pence administration at long last.

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