Kamala Harris: More pragmatist than revolutionary, but still a historic choice in US presidential politics

The historic nature of Joe Biden's choice of Kamala Harris is unmistakable.

She becomes the first woman of colour ever to be on a presidential ticket.

Her personal story is certainly remarkable: her father was Jamaican, her mother was from India, she identifies as Black, and she has risen rapidly through the cut-throat world of Californian politics.

She has long been seen as the frontrunner for the role of vice president.

Harris is a widely admired Senator and Democrats love how she took on Donald Trump in the early debates, calling him a "predator and a coward."  

Her forensic cross-examination of witnesses in Senate hearings is legendary.

The early reaction to Biden's decision to choose Harris is positive within the party.

He has delivered on his promise to bring diversity to the White House if he wins, and he has chosen not a political novice (like John McCain did with Sarah Palin) but an experienced and seasoned player who knows how to get things done.

This is not tokenism. Biden is playing to win, and he has chosen the strongest possible running mate.

Furthermore, given how Harris attacked him on the debate stage when she was fighting for the Democratic Party nomination, Biden looks magnanimous. He doesn't hold a grudge.

Trump has surrounded himself with loyalists and sycophants. In marked contrast, Biden seems to bringing together a coalition of powerful politicians who can think and act independently.

Joe Biden Credit: Andrew Harnik/AP

The President has tried to launch a counter-attack accusing Senator Harris of being a "phony" and of embracing "the radical left." But that is likely to fail.

Yes, she has a super liberal voting record in the Senate; but Harris is also a former prosecutor who often supported the police. Indeed, her critics on the left say she incarcerated too many people and gave the police the benefit of the doubt too often.

In other words, she is more pragmatist that revolutionary.

But there is another reason to pay close attention to Harris' new role.

If Biden wins in November, he will be 78 when he becomes president, the oldest leader by some margin in US history.

So if Biden's health declines over the next four years, or he doesn't survive his term in office, then today hasn't just broken a diversity and gender barrier.

It will have given us Biden's successor, and America's 47th President.

Looking at the state of the polls, it is likely Kamala Harris will be an American vice president.

It is also a distinct possibility that she is a future president too.