On Tuesday night, former Vice President Joe Biden made political history when he selected California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate. Harris will be the first woman of color on a major Presidential ticket and she will make history as the first female Vice President if she and Biden win the general election against incumbent President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
Shortly after Harris was selected, Alabama Democratic Senator Doug Jones applauded Biden’s decision in a tweet: “I know the power and energy of African-American women & the difference their hard work made in my race. Now we’ll make history by electing our first African-American woman VP & I’m so proud that person will be my friend and colleague @KamalaHarris”
Since Jones was elected to the Senate, he and Harris have developed a personal friendship and they have worked together on many of the same policy issues even though their voting records are slightly different. Harris has raised money for Jones’ 2020 re-election campaign and she took part in a forum on empowering women with his wife, Louise.
At the forum, Harris stated, “We need his Alabama perspective,” and “Please send him back, Alabama.”
High turnout among African-American voters was a key factor in Jones’ surprise victory against Judge Roy Moore in 2017. According to NPR, “Black voters made up 29 percent of the electorate in Alabama’s special Senate election, according to exit polling. That percentage is slightly more than the percentage of Black voters in the state who turned out for Barack Obama in 2012. And a full 96 percent of Black voters in Alabama Tuesday supported Jones, including 98 percent of African-American women.”
Lower turnout among African-American voters was a major contributor to Hillary Clinton’s loss in the 2016 general election and Democrats are determined to not repeat the same mistakes of 2016. In fact, polling indicates that Biden’s choice of an African-American woman as his running mate will generate enthusiasm among young voters and African-American voters in battleground states that he will need to win the election. If Jones is to have a shot at winning re-election, he will need to garner very high turnout among African-American voters in Alabama, specifically because President Trump will be on the ballot and will undoubtedly generate a high turnout among his base of support in the Yellowhammer state.
The 2020 general election will be held on Tuesday, November 3.
Dakota Layton graduated from the University of Alabama in Huntsville with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. He is currently enrolled at the University of Mississippi where he is working to earn his Master of Arts in Philosophy.