Is Biden's choice of Harris a clever move?

Donald Trump's rival Joe Biden presented his candidate for vice-president at a high school in his hometown of Wilmington on Wednesday: Senator Kamala Harris. Both blamed Donald Trump for the crises in the country and especially for the many coronavirus deaths. Harris's nomination has stoked high hopes in Europe's commentary columns, but not all journalists share these expectations.

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Népszava (HU) /

Republicans think it's still 1970

For Népszava, Harris's nomination testifies to a profound change:

“White people will become a minority in the US in the next 20 to 25 years. ... This demographic trend and the resulting change in perception already made Barack Obama's presidency possible in 2008. And now it's only natural for the Democrats to put a half-Indian, half-African-American, female vice-presidential candidate in the running. But what is strange is that the Republicans are trying to win with two white men - as if we were back in 1970 - or even 1820. If the US wants to remain a country where only merit counts, it must put more women and non-white people in leading positions.”

Deutsche Welle (RO) /

A flag in the wind

Kamala Harris doesn't exactly stand out for having strict principles, writes the Romanian service of German broadcaster Deutsche Welle:

“The nominee for US vice-presidential running mate often makes unproven or unfounded accusations. For example against her new boss, Biden, whom she once ruthlessly accused of having a racist past. She has also accused him of a series of sexual abuse cases. Yet now, when it seems opportune, she is refraining from such polemics. Ideological relativism and duplicity are not a sign of prudence and pragmatism. ... Can the Democratic Party's feminist principles really be taken seriously anymore?”

taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

That should be enough for a victory

The fact that Harris is hard to pigeonhole made her an attractive option for Joe Biden, the taz suspects:

“He can only beat Trump if the progressive wing of the democratic electorate supports him and - unlike in 2016 - actually goes out to vote. At the same time, however, he must not scare off voters in the swing states that allowed Trump to win in 2016. With Kamala Harris there's something for everyone: the historic step of her being the first black woman as vice-presidential running mate, as well as both progressive and neoliberal aspects in her career. That may, one hopes, be enough for the elections in November.” (HR) /

Already a milestone

This is a historic step for the US, is sure:

“At the moment when the survival of the nation, the continued existence of democracy and the future of the American project are being decided, Kamala Harris puts the experience of African American women, who have taken everything America has to throw at them in terms of racism, sexism, and discrimination, firmly on the agenda. With this election, Joe Biden has become one of the most important US politicians of the last 50 years. He is turning the partnership he entered into with the first black US president into one that could lead to the first female president - and the first black female president.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Running mates don't decide elections

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung sheds light on the significance of the vice-presidential candidate:

“The choice of 'running mate' is one of the most overrated things in American election campaigns. ... In reality there is little evidence that Americans are influenced by the second name on the ballot. ... This year the number two is likely to be even less decisive for the outcome than usual - November 3 is primarily a referendum on Trump and his administration. ... The importance of vice-presidents lies not in their supporting role in the election but in the fact that many of them end up in the Oval Office themselves at some point.”

The Times (GB) /

An opportunistic turncoat

Harris should not be seen as a beacon of hope, The Times warns:

“There is almost no topic on which Ms Harris has not at one point occupied a position designed to gain her maximum support with a particular constituency, only to reverse herself when a different and larger constituency hove into view. This may well not do the Democrats much harm in the age of President Trump, a man not known for unbending consistency in his political views. But it's unlikely to do much for those claiming their post-Trump world is one where authenticity and principle triumph over naked cynical ambition.”

Habertürk (TR) /

Not much to offer for progressives

One should not expect any major changes from these running mates, Habertürk laments:

“The US is experiencing a major left-wing progressive wave. Thanks to it, proposals such as the provision of state health insurance, free state universities, the splitting up of technology companies and higher taxes for large companies are entering mainstream politics. Kamala Harris's response to such revolutionary programmes was: 'I don't want to rebuild the country'. On several occasions she zig-zagged between progressive politics and a middle course. ... But Biden is also a man of the middle way. The two have at least managed to absorb part of this left-wing movement over time. ... This is not the team the US really needs, but it's the one it has.”