Washington, D.C. – 09-10-2020 (PRDistribution.com) — WHEN it was announced in mid-August that Donald Trump’s challenger, Joe Biden, would select California Senator Kamala Harris as “Running Mate”, it was finally clear: The Democratic team would enter the race for the presidency as an easy favorite. The top lawyer is an excellent candidate from the “middle” of the ideological US spectrum and also appeals to moderate conservative Republicans, of course especially female and not white voters. And as the daughter of two renowned scholars who were not born in the United States, she is a prime example of successful integration into the American society. I also feel a special sympathy for her personally: not only professional – she was a recognized attorney general of California – but also from three, naturally coincidental, parallels to my personal development.
Like hers, my father also came from Jamaica. And like her mother, I studied at Berkeley and completed my second degree the previous year at the Stanford Department of Economics, admittedly long after Harris’s father’s active apprenticeship. Kamala Harris is the daughter of Shyamala Gopalan Harris (1938-2009), a breast cancer researcher who emigrated from Madras in 1960, and Donald Harris, born in 1938, an economist who also taught at Stanford. Her parents divorced when she was seven years old, she grew up in Montreal at times because of her mother’s profession, finished high school there and studied political science and economics in Washington, and finally law in California. There, the brilliant lawyer soon rose in the justice system: in 2003 she was elected District Attorney of San Francisco. There she also made some controversial decisions: During the election campaign, she promised never to seek the death penalty as a prosecutor and also kept her promises despite strong protests after the killing of a police officer. But the other way around, too: When she applied for the post of Attorney General, she promised to have the death penalty carried out in her new office despite her personal opposition-and once again she kept her promise. Internationally, Harris became known for President Obama’s flappy formulation, which was criticized as sexist: In 2013 he praised her as a brilliant and tough lawyer – and as by far the most visually appealing Attorney General by far. Harris has long been considered a close confidante of Obama, and the description “female Obama” often given to her seems almost logical. Barack and above all his wife Michelle stood out at the Democratic Nomination Party Conference, which due to Corona reasons was only held virtually, with particularly fiery speeches for the Biden-Harris team.
Of a different “quality” there were the first insults from his successor in the face of Harris’s freestyle: as with Barack Obama, he questioned the legitimacy of her candidacy by spreading the rumor that she was not a “real” American born in the States. Trump reaped broad indignation for this: the running of an “African-American” woman (measured by her – like Obama – somewhat darker skin color) as vice president in a U.S. election with realistic chances of victory is seen by many Americans as a fulfillment of the “American dream”: every citizen should have career opportunities according to his or her qualities, regardless of race, religion and class. So is KAMALA HARRIS the right candidate to give Joe Biden the required drive? I am consulting with one of my closest mentors at Stanford, David Crane, the Democrat who, as a strategist, once helped Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger win the California Governor’s election. Could Kamala Harris be the decisive factor in a Democratic election victory over Trump? As a Stanford professor, Crane has long known the Harris family. Kamala also polarized California: some – especially Republicans – criticized her for being too lenient, especially during her tenure as a state attorney in San Francisco, while others saw her as a hardliner, especially because of her very restrictive drug policy, and considered her to be a Democratic Law and Order type. In this context, an evaluation system that is alien to many European lawyers becomes evident: US prosecutors are primarily measured by how many convictions they were able to get through, the proportion of prison sentences is then presented quite succinctly as the “success rate”. Even the original Republican Condoleezza Rice, who also teaches at Stanford, spoke out quite positively about Harris behind closed doors – as a key figure in Trump’s election defeat, which some Republicans would like to see.
Two prominent Republicans also appeared at the party conference among the speakers in praise of the democratic duo: Former Secretary of State Colin Powell and John Kasich, former governor of the state Ohio, which has always been contested in presidential elections. Democrat Crane, on the other hand, also views his party colleague skeptically: Harris comes from “liberal” California and could make success in the partly more conservative “Swing States” more difficult. The vice-presidential candidates in the U.S. elections have always been a prime example of skillful negotiation skills: ideally, they should conceal weaknesses of the “boss” and address other voter groups than the boss.
It is therefore not surprising if the two candidates sometimes diverge somewhat in their views and statements and the running mate – especially among Republicans – tends to take extreme positions more often (note Mike Pence 2016 or Sarah Palin 2008). In this respect, Harris is a good maneuver in any case, Stanford professor and Nobel Prize winner Alvin Roth attests me. At the Stanford campus, people are almost unanimously enthusiastic about Harris’s freestyle, her father is famous there for his theories on economic growth. She will probably soon have her first election campaign appearance there and be able to convince the occasional skeptic. In the event of an election victory for Biden, she will certainly play a major role: Biden would be 78 years old when she takes office, and Harris would have the very best chance of becoming his successor – no matter when.
(from: trend.PREMIUM, 35/2020, 86/87)
About Robin Lumsden: Robin Lumsden is an Austrian attorney and entrepreneur based in Austria and California. After a career as professional tennis player (having played in Wimbledon), he became a Special Forces Officer in the Austrian army. Thereafter, he studied law at the University of Vienna (2003) and the prestigious University of California Berkeley (2005) and passed the bar exam both in Austria and New York. In 2010, former Austrian president Heinz Fischer appointed Lumsden as honorary consul of Jamaica in Austria. In 2013, he founded the law firm Lumsden & Partners with offices in Vienna, New York and Silicon Valley, where he studied from 2017 to 2019 at Stanford University to obtain an MBA degree. His mentors include former US Secretary of State and Stanford Professor Condoleezza Rice, political scientist Francis Fukuyama, long-time Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s former cabinet chief David Crane. In 2014, he was appointed by then foreign minister Sebastian Kurz to act as integration ambassador, acting as a role model for young immigrants. Between 2015 and 2019, Lumsden successfully defended the airport of Vienna in the course of a USD 168 million litigation in New York. (Web: www.lumsden.at)
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