After getting into a run of the mill law school under its affirmative action Minority Admissions Program, Kamala Harris got selected for Veep in another affirmative action decision. From the New York Times news section:
By Alexander Burns, Jonathan Martin and Katie Glueck
Aug. 13, 2020
… Ms. Harris was one of four finalists for the job, along with Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Susan E. Rice, the former national security adviser.
But in the eyes of Mr. Biden and his advisers, Ms. Harris alone covered every one of their essential political needs.
Ms. Rice had sterling foreign-policy credentials and a history of working with Mr. Biden, but was inexperienced as a candidate. Ms. Warren had an enthusiastic following and became a trusted adviser to Mr. Biden on economic matters, but she represented neither generational nor racial diversity. Ms. Whitmer, a moderate, appealed to Mr. Biden’s political and ideological instincts, but selecting her also would have yielded an all-white ticket...
Mr. Biden’s instincts were not destined to lead him to Ms. Harris: He and members of his family had long expressed discomfort with the way she attacked him at a Democratic primary debate, and his political advisers remembered well the seemingly constant dysfunction of her presidential campaign.
If you can’t run a primary campaign well enough to even make it to Iowa caucuses, you’ll be great at running the federal government someday if something should happen to Old Joe.
There was a particular distrust in the Biden camp for the sharp-elbowed California operatives with whom Ms. Harris has long surrounded herself, fearing that they might seek to undermine Mr. Biden in office to clear the way for Ms. Harris in 2024.
Yet no other candidate scored as highly with Mr. Biden’s selection committee on so many of their core criteria for choosing a running mate, including her ability to help Mr. Biden win in November, her strength as a debater, her qualifications for governing and the racial diversity she would bring to the ticket. No other candidate seemed to match the political moment better.
Harry Reid, the former Senate majority leader, said race had been essential to Mr. Biden’s decision.
“I think he came to the conclusion that he should pick a Black woman,” Mr. Reid said. “They are our most loyal voters and I think that the Black women of America deserved a Black vice-presidential candidate.” …
13 years ago, I was told by a worker at the Capitol, that Senator Reid was pretty punch-drunk. But here at iSteve, we like old guys who can’t remember all the spin and just blurt it out.
And for the most part, that is what Mr. Biden got — a discreet search team, led by four Democratic dignitaries, that held interviews with about a dozen women, a smaller number of whom were then asked to turn over a huge volume of private documents for review.
So only women were eligible and being black was a major plus.
… Ms. Harris recognized from the start that her attack on Mr. Biden — for having worked with segregationist senators to oppose school busing — was a liability for her as a potential running mate, and she spent considerable time reaching out to Biden allies to seek their advice about how she should approach the former vice president.
One longtime Biden supporter told her bluntly that she should make clear she would not upstage Mr. Biden in the campaign, telling her, “You don’t need to be Sarah Palin to his John McCain.”
… There was broad agreement among his advisers that Mr. Biden should choose a woman of color, though Mr. Biden remained drawn to both Ms. Whitmer and Ms. Warren. …
In some Democratic focus groups, too, voters expressed skepticism that Biden would choose a candidate with strong qualifications: By making gender a nonnegotiable requirement, they wondered, was Mr. Biden indicating he cared more about identity than experience? To Democratic strategists who have studied the obstacles for women in politics, the presumption that there would be better credentialed men available was not a surprising concern.
In other words, the Democratic voters who were worried should Old Joe die, he would leave the country in the hands of a worse President than if he hadn’t been biased against men and whites, are dangerous bigots in the eyes of Biden’s staff.