Barack Obama and Vice-presidential Candidate Kamala Harris go tough with the incumbent President at the US Democratic Party conference. There is a clear calculation behind their appearances.
There it is now. Kamala Harris gives the most important speech of her life, her application for the office of Vice President of the US – and she is almost all alone.
At the Democrats’ online party conference, there is no audience in the hall due to the ongoing corona crisis in the US, and consequently no cheering fans in front of the stage. Kamala Harris is speaking in a draughty hall in Wilmington, Delaware on the third day of the convention, with only a few technicians, journalists and consultants in the room at that moment.
It’s a bizarre scene. But Harris is not deterred by this. She talks like this is the most normal thing in the world for her. “We believe our country can be better,” she exclaims. “We want to live in a country where we take care of each other, where we celebrate our victories together.”
It’s a remarkable, historic appearance in American politics – and not just because of the unfamiliar setting. Harris is only the third woman to run for the second highest office in the state. And: She is the first non-white woman in US history to be nominated for the vice presidency.
As the daughter of immigrants, her father once came from Jamaica, the mother from India, she stands for the modern, the colorful, the diverse America. Harris talks again and again about her single mother who helped her to consistently go her own way in life. The mother always admonished her and her sister to feel like proud, black women of Indian descent, says Harris.
Her speech shows that Kamala Harris can become an effective weapon in the political fight against Donald Trump in this election campaign for Joe Biden. It is clearly important for her to address all those voters who often feel marginalized in Trump’s America: African Americans, Latinos, Asians. The long-time prosecutor is also a trained speaker who knows how to pinpoint the weaknesses of her opponents.
She sharply attacked Trump’s crisis management in the corona crisis: The chaos in the pandemic caused by Trump must finally come to an end, she calls into the empty room and into the TV camera. “Donald Trump’s failure as a leader has cost lives.”
Shortly before Harris, Barack Obama, the former president, speaks in this virtual election campaign. He also delivers a historical speech, but this is true in a different sense.
Never before in US history has a previous president settled accounts with his successor in this way. Trump’s presidency must come to an end and American democracy is in danger, Obama warns. It stands in Philadelphia in a museum that commemorates the founding of the US and the drafting of the constitution in the 18th century. More symbolic power is hardly possible.