- The magazine says Biden embraced his role as “a bridge to a new generation of leaders” by choosing Harris, the country's first female, first Black and first South Asian American vice president-elect.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are Time magazine’s 2020 Person of the Year, “for changing the American story, for showing that the forces of empathy are greater than the furies of division, for sharing a vision of healing in a grieving world.”
CNN says “Biden and Harris made history on Nov. 7 when they beat Donald Trump in a bitter election that put him in a small club of presidents who served only one term.” That day, Harris became the country’s first female, first Black and first South Asian American vice president-elect. “I will be the first, but I will not be the last,” Harris tells Time. “That’s about legacy, that’s about creating a pathway, that’s about leaving the door more open than it was when you walked in.”
A year after selecting climate activist Greta Thunberg, the youngest person ever named Person of the Year, the magazine has named one of the oldest in the 78-year-old President-elect. “Biden calls himself a bridge to a new generation of leaders, a role he embraced in choosing Kamala Harris, 56, the first woman on a winning presidential ticket, daughter of a Jamaican father and an Indian mother,” Times editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal writes, explaining their choice for Person of the Year. “If Donald Trump was a force for disruption and division over the past four years, Biden and Harris show where the nation is heading: a blend of ethnicities, lived experiences and world views that must find a way forward together if the American experiment is to survive.”
In an article about Biden and Harris in Time, Charlotte Alter writes: “Biden had the vision, set the tone and topped the ticket. But he also recognized what he could not offer on his own, what a 78-year-old white man could never provide: generational change, a fresh perspective, and an embodiment of America’s diversity. For that, he needed Kamala Harris: California Senator, former district attorney and state attorney general, a biracial child of immigrants whose charisma and tough questioning of Trump Administration officials electrified millions of Democrats,” she continues. “Biden and Harris share a faith that empathetic governance can restore the solidarity we’ve lost.”
The in-depth article traces Biden and Harris’ career, growing up years, influences and family life, as well as Harris’ presidential bid. It particularly refers to the Presidential debate in Miami, Florida, when Biden “wasn’t ready for Harris’ attack.”
As the only Black person on this stage, I would like to speak on the issue of race,” the article quotes Harris as saying. Telling Biden that it was “hurtful” to hear him praise segregationist Senators who had been his colleagues, she called him out for working with them to oppose busing. “There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me,” Harris said, according to the Time article.
“Picking a former rival — one whose dynamism might exceed his own — was a move that Trump never would have made,” Alter writes. “It “revealed a lot about Joe Biden,” former Representative Steve Israel tells Time. “And she had the pronounced effect of mobilizing Democrats across the country.”
Highlighting Harris’ growing up years, Time says: “If Biden grew up in an age of American ascendance, Harris came of age in a nation confronting its legacy of injustice. Her parents took her to civil rights marches in a stroller.” The article continues: “In 1970, when she started first grade in Berkeley, Kamala was in one of the first groups of students to be bused to a mostly white school across town in an early local experiment in integration”
Discussing her career trajectory from San Francisco District Attorney to California Attorney General to the first Indian American Senator, Time says: “Although she grew up among activists and organizers, Kamala Harris wanted to make change by working within the system, not outside of it. At nearly every station in her career, she broke a barrier. Even in the 2020 campaign, Harris seemed to be juggling allegiances, down to her campaign slogan, “For the People,” intended to evoke her prosecutorial roots while blurring their controversial connotations.”
Times says like Biden, Harris “had a knack for sensing where the political wind was blowing and sometimes disappointed liberal activists.”
In the Senate, Harris, “already a political celebrity, impressed colleagues as much with her infectious laugh as with her ruthless probing of witnesses,” Times said. “Then–Attorney General Jeff Sessions complained that her rapid-fire questions made him “nervous”; she reduced the current Attorney General, Bill Barr, to stammering when she asked if the White House had ever asked his Justice Department to investigate anyone. In September 2018, her calm but pointed grilling of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh went viral, enhancing her reputation on the left.”
Close friends and associates of Harris tell Time that reality hasn’t quite sunk in for Harris. Her longtime adviser Minyon Moore told the magazine that she keeps asking Harris: “Do you know you’re the vice president yet?” And Harris replies, “No, not really, but I’m trying.”