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Next to Kamala Harris Mike Pence is the Red Headed Stepchild

Vice President Mike Pence just got some very bad news.

He’s going to lose the vice presidential debate this fall, and that loss is going to do serious damage to the already diminished 2020 election prospects of the Republican Party.

California Senator Kamala Harris will shred Donald Trump’s hapless running mate when the two confront one another during the vice presidential debate on October 7 at the University of Utah.

That’s not the only reason why presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden chose Harris as the Democratic vice presidential nominee. Harris brings to the ticket youth, as a candidate 22-years younger than the party’s presidential pick, and diversity, as the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants who will be the first woman of color to run on a major party ticket. She has the sort of experience in local, state, and national politics that Biden appreciates. She’s more liberal than Biden on a number of issues, but she’s certainly not a progressive along the lines of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders or New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

That frustrates the left, which pushed for Biden to consider VP prospects such as Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Congressional Progressive Caucus chair Karen Bass. But, by now, it is clear that the former vice president and his ideologically cautious inner circle are planning to run a campaign that puts a bigger emphasis on beating Trump and Pence than it does on scoping out the sort of bold, structural change that Sanders and Warren proposed with their 2020 presidential bids.

John Nichols (@NicholsUprising) is The Nation’s national-affairs correspondent and the author of the new book The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party: The Enduring Legacy of Henry Wallace’s Anti-Fascist, Anti-Racist Politics (Verso). He’s also the author of Horsemen of the Trumpocalypse: A Field Guide to the Most Dangerous People in America, and co-author, with Robert W. McChesney, of People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy, among others.

Founded by abolitionists in 1865, The Nation has chronicled the breadth and depth of political and cultural life from the debut of the telegraph to the rise of Twitter, serving as a critical, independent, and progressive voice in American journalism.

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