A Woman. Of Color. From California. Is the Vice-President Elect

Really, that is all I have to say.

It is simply glorious.

75 replies
    • emptywheel says:

      I had to have been two degrees of separation in the early 90s, when I lived in SF. My roommate, a black attorney, was being mentored by Willie Brown. He was a few years older than me, so would have been moving in the same circles as Kamala.

      Of course roommate and I mostly saw each other when we came back from nights out in our respective social circles’ bars…

      • Wajim says:

        Well, MY brush with such greatness came in a hotel cafe in Sacramento, CA when I served Willie Brown and crew coffee. Didn’t see Kamala, though. She was probably a freshman in college then

  1. Pete T says:

    Ahhh..fond memories of hanging in Berzerkeley during many years commuting from South Florida to Silicon Valley HW/SW gigs.

    All good. All great times.

  2. e.a.f. says:

    Now I have seen it. It was a long, long wait, but it has happened. First Obama now Harris. I’ve waited 60 yrs for this, that’s how long I’ve been following American politics. Congratulations to Ms. Harris. Congrats to Biden for choosing her and to the American public who voted for the ticket. This is historic. Hey she went to high school in Montreal, Quebec, Canada~! there has never been anyone in the W.H. who was educated in Canada like that! O.K. she had an awesome Mom who most likely had a huge influence on what is now the future of America!

  3. Peterr says:

    Well said, bmaz, well said.

    Especially when you consider that the last Californian on winning a presidential ticket was Ronald Reagan. .

  4. BobCon says:

    Among all of the other good things, I take a bit of joy in knowing this drives a stake through the heart of the theory of that idiot Chapman U Law Prof John Eastman, which said that people like her who were born in the US aren’t citizens because mumble mumble mumble parents aren’t the right kind of people.

    • Peterr says:

      It doesn’t drive a stake into it at all. It simply makes the matter even more important for Eastman and his ilk. “We’ve got to keep shouting about this, and get folks riled up before Biden has a heart attack and That Woman tries to take office.”

      • BobCon says:

        Well, racism never completely dies, but I just saw a postmortem in the Washington Post noting that when Trump proposed birtherist attacks on Harris as suggested by Stephen Miller, his advisors all disagreed, with one warning it was going to cost him votes.

        If it doesn’t kill it, I think it still buries it pounding on the coffin lid six feet under.

        • Norskeflamthrower says:

          We are a step, albeit a big one, toward an anti-racist politics but it will be a couple of generations before we can say that white racism is an historical artifact in our politics. As a grandfather of five grand daughters and father of two daughters and one son who has three daughters, the ascension of Kamala Harris is particularly heart-swelling. Two of my children are high school teachers and one daughter is a phd therapist who works with folks with eating disorders. For all of them the battle against racism and misogyny is a continuing struggle which they all acknowledge is impossible to ignore if we are to be successful in educating our kids and keeping them healthy. So, as a 74 year old boomer who grew up in a socialist household being reminded every day that racism is the glue that holds capitalism together and that capitalism and democracy are incompatible without it, I am experiencing something that I think is close to hope for the first time since before November of 1963. And, as an aside, I am also optimistic that my hope that one day no one else’s son or daughter would ever again be led into battle for empire and profit will be fulfilled . It is our children and grandchildren who will see that hope become reality. That’s what Kamala’s victory means to me. Namaste patriots

          • John Lehman says:


            Four years behind you in life (70 years old) but a different path up the same mountain.

            Our Pennsylvania Dutch speaking Amish/Mennonite mother raised all six of us teaching us that all humanity, all people are one and that someday the whole world would become one people.

            Among the Nationalities, Races and Creeds in our extended ABS (American Born Swiss) family now;

            Hispanic, Cajun, Native American, Chinese, Persian, Liberian,
            South Asian (Indian), Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Zoroastrian and Baha’i.

            Only in America…could not be prouder…our own microcosm UN.
            Yes it does take generations ….Rome wasn’t built in a day…but today was a great step forward. It’s MLK’s dream.

          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:


            You may find this map, and article, of interest.
            Allow me to add one more layer: if you look at the darkest blue on the West Coast, plus Colorado, recall that in Sept 2020 and Oct 2020, we have had the most horrendous, catastrophic wildfires in our histories. Massive, incredibly destructive fires.

            Nothing captures your attention about voting like choking in smoke, being unable to exercise and confined indoors (in September!), and on top of that being unable to attend college or school.

            That does not give the Dems a pass, but it does give them a ton of opportunity.


            Also note that, at least the parts of the West Coast that I know (WA, OR), the populations are actually quite diverse. These kids grew up in a multicultural world, and they watch everything from Bollywood to Korean Dramas. The people that I know have zero bandwidth for racism, but plenty of bandwidth for climate change.

  5. posaune says:

    Amazing. just amazing. such a huge relief.
    thanks to all here. you are all wonderful.
    empty wheel is such a special place.

  6. Bittersweet says:

    I have a beloved niece that grew up in Berkeley. Now she is 23, studied Social Justice, and is pursuing a career in journalism.
    Suddenly I have hope for her future, our future.

  7. Worried says:

    I am enjoying this moment.

    Similar to my feelings when Obama went out on that ramp after the 2008 election and said he would work for All of America.

    I really hope Kamala Harris and Joe Biden are successful.

  8. BerkeleyMom says:

    We were partying in the streets in Kamala’s hometown of Berkeley today! So proud of our California VP!

  9. Kurtyboy says:

    I cried aloud several times today—each time was with the realization that we finally elected a woman to national office. My first presidential vote was for Mondale-Ferraro—and the sole rationale was that this nation needs women to run things.

  10. chuck says:

    The AG on her CV will get a lot of use cleaning up the last four years’ mess. And here’s to hoping she gets to adjudicate plenty in the Senate!

  11. Peacerme says:

    My uncle taught and practiced at Berkeley for years. My family grew up in that area and recently lost a family cabin to the forest fires. Beautiful place. Beautiful life. So grateful for this blog. Grateful that the heart of democracy is still beating.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      So sorry about the family cabin.
      There are a whole lot of things that need rebuilding as we move forward…
      I am also grateful for EW, though I couldn’t check out the site until I heard Pres Elect Biden’s speech, and the VP Elect.

      Still having a rough time accepting the Senate results; they seem quite inconsistent with so much that we saw coming up to the election. I mourn not having Steve Bullock (MT) in the senate to champion our wild lands and forests. I hope that he’ll find some other path to serve.

  12. timbo says:

    It is gratifying that the US has finally managed to make a woman, a person of color, a child of immigrants, all those things together, to make that person the VP-elect. Frankly, for many decades, I didn’t think it would ever happen in this country. So now we celebrate…soberly.

    The truth is that Twitler and the Twisslerings are even now hatching ways to game the electoral college under our Constitution (and likely beyond?). Let’s make sure that we are strong in our support for a system that has not yet finally spoken when it comes to how electors under the electoral college system are actually certified. There are many states where the state legislatures get the final word on electors, even after a popular vote. Dec 14 is the date to keep an eye on now. Let us pray that the popular and electoral will of the people is not subverted in some key states. I am researching now what awful things these folks can hatch that might be considered legal and Constitutional. The first thing to look at is the list of states that require that legislatures certify electors >after popular voting has been conducted and tabulated<.

    Reference this link for resources in this regard:


    I'm currently reading the pdf on "State Laws Regarding Presidential Electors". I will be paying particular attention to states with GOP controlled legislative assemblies but where the popular vote has gone to Biden. Is there any state controlled by a DP legislature that went for Trump this election? I am hoping that the Harris and Biden lawyers are on top of this but…

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      If you are referring to the ‘faithless electors”, any state that wanted to allow this had to register this before the election, and none did.

      • timbo says:

        I’m referring how the Constitution can easily be interpreted as leaving each state to decide how their electors are certified as representing the will of that state in the electoral college. I heard yesterday that only 14 states require that the electors reflect the will of the majority popular vote in a state. The Constitution is deferential to state legislatures is my understanding, specifically when it comes to the certification of electors.

        • Rugger9 says:

          The Presidential Elections Act put in place after the 1876 election has a process for this: when completing slates of electors are sent, each house votes to accept the slate, and if they do not agree the Governor of the state that sent multiple slates is the tiebreaking vote.

          Most of the gerrymandered GOP legislatures in question here (MI, WI, PA) have D governors. Note that GA has a more than 10,000 vote lead for Biden.

        • P J Evans says:

          You *do* understand that elections are run by states and counties, don’t you? State law takes precedence.

          • Rugger9 says:

            Indeed state control is what is actually in the US Constitution, but this concept what DJT is trying to overturn and why Kavanaugh’s recent opinion is so concerning. In the WI case he made it clear that he (and Alito and Thomas, most likely) would consider intervention by SCOTUS using Bush v. Gore as a controlling precedent even though that decision was clearly identified as a one-off in the opinions.

            • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

              They — and John Roberts — need to decide whether they want SCOTUS to have any legitimacy. If they want legitimacy, they need to tell the Trumpians to pound sand.

              • Rugger9 says:

                I think Roberts would not support this because of his concern about his “legacy” but Gorsuch, Cavanaugh and Barrett probably will because they’re young enough to be unconcerned with such things.

          • timbo says:

            Uh, PJ, to whom is your question directed? Basically, I start off by talking about state laws here and emphasizing that they do have precedence over wishful thinking when it comes to the electoral college and the Constitution.

  13. FiestyBlueBird says:

    Feeling like this right now.

    Thank you to all of the very bright minds that occupy this space; especially Marcy, but everyone really.

  14. Raven Eye says:

    This has been floating around on Facebook:

    When Sam awoke, he found that he was lying on some soft bed, but over him gently swayed wide beechen boughs, and through their young leaves sunlight glimmered, green and gold. All the air was full of a sweet mingled scent.

    He remembered that smell: the fragrance of Ithilien. ‘Bless me!’ he mused. ‘How long have I been asleep?’ For the scent had borne him back to the day when he had lit his little fire under the sunny bank; and for a moment all else between was out of waking memory. He stretched and drew a deep breath. ‘Why, what a dream I’ve had!’ he muttered. ‘I am glad to wake! Is everything sad going to come untrue? What’s happened to the world?’

    ‘A great Shadow has departed,’ said Gandalf, and then he laughed and the sound was like music, or like water in a parched land; and as he listened the thought came to Sam that he had not heard laughter, the pure sound of merriment, for days upon days without count. It fell upon his ears like the echo of all the joys he had ever known. But he himself burst into tears. Then, as a sweet rain will pass down a wind of spring and the sun will shine out the clearer, his tears ceased, and his laughter welled up, and laughing he sprang from his bed.

    ‘How do I feel?’ he cried. ‘Well, I don’t know how to say it. I feel, I feel’—he waved his arms in the air—‘I feel like spring after winter, and sun on the leaves; and like trumpets and harps and all the songs I have ever heard!’

    —JRR Tolkien “The Return of the King”

  15. Molly Pitcher says:

    I have just learned that Kamala Harris is not the first person of color to become Vice President !!

    The completely forgotten Charles Curtis, VP for Herbert Hoover was a Native American member of the Kaw Nation. He was an instigator and facilitator of the disastrous “Curtis Act of 1898” and the Dawes Act, both of which decimated the Native American communities by forcing assimilation and the removal of children from families to educate them to abandon their heritage.


    • Worried says:

      I thought I would be prepared for the announcement of Alex Trebek’s passing.

      But I wasn’t. Similar to when a key figure of my adolescent years, SF Giants announcer Lon Simmons passed away, a fundamental part of my life is now gone. And I am sad.

      But, he gave me many years of joy hosting very smart people who knew so much and wishing I knew more. I feel very lucky that I was able to spend those years watching a genuinely kind person.

      RIP Alex

  16. Ed Walker says:

    My favorite part of this is watching the moderates call me a DFH for wanting more than they want, and ranking on AOC for pointing out that the Democratic Consultant Emperors have no clothes.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      We’re already seeing many illustrations of JFK’s quip: “Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.”

      AOC was responding, for example, to the Democratic establishment, which was on the offensive to claim victory for its staid, bidness-as-usual, don’t change the horses approach.

      Joining it were Republicans, like John Kasich, and the manifest failures that are Democratic consultants and pollsters, each wanting a piece of the same horse. I’ll go with AOC, but it’s really the policies. A lot will depend on Biden’s nominations, because personnel is policy.

  17. Jay says:

    She’s also a terrible person whose time as AG of California was the pinnacle of bad prosecuting. But I suppose it says something that not only can a woman of color be a heartbeat from the presidency, but in fact a totally awful one can.

    • bmaz says:

      Harris is not a horrible person, nor is she awful. Her stance on criminal justice reform changed for the marked better as a Senator. There clearly were some issues in her early and middle years as a prosecutor, but calling it the “pinnacle of bad prosecuting” is ludicrous and uninformed.

      • Norskeflamthrower says:

        Let’s remember that both Biden and Harris have found religion and announced real movement from the neo-liberal “throw ’em all in jail” and “the end of big government” policies which got us Donald Trump. The civil war is only inside the Republican Party unless Biden and Harris abandon the policies and people who got them elected. The days of the old, ossified leadership of the Democratic Party are over. And Biden is just the opportunist who can take advantage of that. Remember FDR.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          The days of the old, ossified leadership of the Democratic Party are over. And Biden is just the opportunist who can take advantage of that. Remember FDR.

          Yes, and the teachers that I know are over-the-moon giddy with excitement about his wife, Jill: a real teacher in the White House! Someone who actually understands education issues, after the horrors of Betsy DeVos. It feels more like a liberation than an election.

      • Chris.EL says:

        Senator Harris and I were born in the same California town!

        Wondering, is there a limitation on vice presidents being elected to more than two terms?

        Even though I’d love to see a woman elected to office of the president, for all that I’ve watched, heard and personally experienced, don’t think this country will elect a woman to president. Simply too much misogyny, even for popular, well liked, and qualified ladies.

        Frankly I was stunned to see how much is still encouraged and apparently accepted.

        Just as nasty and bad as racism, but more condoned.


  18. Dan_S says:

    O/T but can the new administration arbitrarily revoke security clearances for Trump, Kushner, Ivanka, Grenell, Ratcliffe, etc?

    • Raven Eye says:

      The President is at the top of the classification food chain and delegates original classification authority (OCA). Those delegations are typically through EO or President Memo cabinet secretaries and agency heads – some at Top Secret level and others at the Secret level, etc. And then there are further sub-delegations, typically based on specific programs, operational areas, systems, etc.

      The flip side of the same coin delegates the granting of security clearances. But even if an individual has a clearance at the same level as a piece of classified information, that person may not have a “need to know” and can be denied access.

      That’s a simplified explanation, but to operationalize it: The Executive Branch requires the means to protect classified information and control access to it. So it isn’t “arbitrary” for a person to have a clearance withdrawn after a person leaves a job. If the next job requires a clearance, the new agency/employer has access to the individual’s records and can restore the clearance at whatever level and access is needed with the new job. Clearances are subject to regular review, or review based on circumstances associated with the cleared individual – personal or business financial irregularities are a common reason for review and denial.

      In the case of relatives of the President, while those individuals may have filled out an SF-86 or other paperwork, the President can make a decision as to the level of clearance and access to certain compartments regardless of what a background investigation and/or adjudication might have turned up. (We know that Jared needed more than one attempt at getting his SF-86 accurately completed.)

      Where is this going? Nobody should walk away from the outgoing administration with a clearance. There are legitimate reasons for requiring a clearance in the future, but those need to be granted on a case-by-case basis.

      And some of these people…Rudy? Jared? Ivanka? Even in the commercial world, firms (such as the Big Four audit firms) conduct adverse data searches when considering clients and partners. I think that some of the players we’ve seen in the Trump administration, including family members, would raise a few eyebrows among a firm’s partners.

  19. Terrence says:

    It’s my understanding that former presidents, as a matter of course, receive periodic national security briefings. In the case of Trump, can this be revoked by Biden?

    • Raven Eye says:

      Presidents have often reached out to past presidents. Even when they were from a different party, they have a perspective that is shared by only a handful of people on the planet.

      I can’t imagine a scenario where Biden would need to reach out to Trump…If Trump would even accept the gesture.

      And by the time the IC got a briefing condensed down to a few cartoons AND excluded anything that couldn’t be deduced from open sources AND taking into consideration that Trump is the smartest person in the room…

      The one type of briefing Trump should get is personal security.

  20. PeterS says:

    It occurred to me that there’s an English speaking democracy which had a woman as prime minister two generations ago. I’m overjoyed about Kamala, but jeez why did it have to take so long.

    (The democracy I’m thinking of has strict limits on election spending, and non-partisan control of boundaries and the election infrastructure. We can dream…)

  21. OldTulsaDude says:

    I have total confidence in Kamala Harris in her new role – and it’s fitting that an ex-DA helped run the Trumps out of town.

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