Biden-Harris ticket not surprising to UTSA political scientist

Harris seen as 'great pick' for Democratic Party's generational transition

SAN ANTONIO – A seasoned political observer, Jon Taylor, Ph.D., chair of the UTSA Department of Political Science and Geography, said he wasn’t surprised former Vice President Joe Biden asked Sen. Kamala Harris to join him on the Democratic Party ticket in November as his running mate.

"Great pick," Taylor said, for what he called the generational transition of the party.

“They’re handing off the baton, as it were, to a Democratic Party that is much more related to persons of color, to the progressive agenda, to LGBTQ individuals, to issues that are of importance to Latinos, to issues that are important to global politics, in a way that I think is different than what we’ve seen,” Taylor said.

Taylor said Harris, who is more than 20 years younger than Biden, was “the logical choice” as a middle-of-the road liberal “in the same mold” as Biden and Barack Obama.

As for any downsides to choosing Harris, Taylor said some may point to her lack of executive experience, other than being a former state and federal prosecutor in California and her legislative record as a U.S. Senator.

"Same argument was made, by the way, against Obama," Taylor said. "It didn't seem to hurt him in the end."

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Much has been said about Harris confronting Biden during one of the Democratic debates last year. She challenged Biden about school busing and working with segregationist lawmakers at the time.

"In 1960, Johnson and Kennedy, in 1980, Bush and Reagan, for that matter, 2008, Obama-Biden," Taylor said. "It happens all the time."

Yet Taylor pointed out Obama and Biden became close friends.

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He said Biden and Harris already were close friends before that moment on the debate stage, because of his late son, Beau.

They were both state attorneys general at the same time.

Given her being “a woman who is not going to shy away from a good fight,” Taylor said the vice presidential debate between Harris and incumbent Mike Pence will be “interesting.”

Although Harris would be a heartbeat away from the presidency if the Democratic ticket wins in November, Taylor said, “Joe Biden wouldn’t have picked her had he believed she was not ready to be president.”

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