Senator Kamala Harris has now accepted the Democratic nomination for vice-president in a speech that centred around two themes – the historic nature of her own candidacy and the coming election being a referendum on the presidency of Donald Trump.
On the first front, as her autobiographical sketch ranged over an expanse of family black, white, Asian, it was of course being heard by people in India and people of Indian descent in the US with special joy. Celebrity TV host Padma Lakshmi spoke for many of these viewers when she tweeted, “I literally have tears in my eyes. @KamalaHarris just said ‘chithis’ which means auntie. My heart is so full right now.”
On the second theme she hammered it in: “Donald Trump’s failure of leadership has cost lives and livelihoods.” This has been the collective message of the ongoing Democratic National Convention. Bernie Sanders said: “Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Trump golfs… The future of our democracy is at stake. The future of our economy is as stake. The future of our planet is at stake.” Michelle Obama and Barack Obama spoke passionately along similar lines.
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But next week it will be the turn of the Republican convention. Trump has already said with some weight that the reason he is in the White House is because of Team Obama-Biden. As for the Biden-Harris ticket, it is already attracting Birther attacks and even stranger conspiracy theories such as QAnon. Different narratives of America are embattled here and they will duke it down to the wire. But for now the acceptance speech of Kamala Harris has underlined how strong and inspirational her candidacy is.