OPINION: Dissecting the Biden/Harris ticket


Photo credit/ Autumn Bohner

Emma Rushworth, Opinion Editor

The Democratic Convention was underway in August for three days virtually when former Vice President Joe Biden accepted his party’s nomination to be its candidate for president of the United States. Biden chose Sen. Kamala Harris of California to be his running mate. But how strong is this diverse duo against an incumbent Republican president?

There are five factors that I used in weighing this ticket:

  • Accessibility
  • Policy
  • VP Power
  • Electability
  • The “Compromise Factor”

Accessibility is how easy it is to find information on the candidates, to view their platform and to access their social media platforms or to view the website in Spanish.

Policy refers to how clear and concrete the initiatives they propose are. Is there a strategic policy plan or are these policy statements simply platitudes to get votes?

VP power is essentially how much weight the vice presidential pick brings to the ticket, as well as their accomplishments and/or drawbacks.

Electability is at the heart of every election and is how well-suited a candidate is for office. Are they electable?

The “compromise factor” is based on the candidate’s history. How willing are they to work with the other side of the aisle to get legislation passed?


The Biden/Harris ticket, like any, has both its strengths and weaknesses, especially against an incumbent. Their website was incredibly easy to find, and I was able to easily find their platform issues easily. Their platform follows the trend of recent years with the Democratic Party and their “big tent” mentality. Essentially, the party wants to appeal to a broad range of voters by having a wide platform to cover any issue someone might want addressed under a future administration.

However, it seems like there is hardly any room left in the tent, as there are so many issues that the campaign touches on. Some of these are simply ideas for plans and some are concrete ways of achieving change. I give the Biden/Harris ticket an eight out of 10 on accessibility.


Aside from the vagueness of the Biden campaign’s website on policy, the Democratic Party’s platform in itself excludes popular stances that would only help, not hurt, them if they were adopted into the party’s official platform. For example, the party refused to include a strong stance on the legalization of marijuana despite being popular among young people, and already legal in several states.

One quote from the website struck me as odd.

“Trump has waged an unrelenting assault on our values and our history as a nation of immigrants. It’s wrong, and it stops when Joe Biden is elected president.”

For starters, the damage the Trump administration has caused on immigration is extensive, and Biden isn’t a cure-all for the complexity of the issue. Also, while Biden was vice president, the policy to put families in cages was enacted, leading to Trump’s family separation policy, which sparked outrage.

Besides this, it feels like there is too much on Biden and Harris’ plate to accomplish in four years, especially if Republicans maintain control of the Senate. On policy, I give the ticket a six out of 10.

VP Power

Let’s talk about Harris. She is definitely a strong woman and a worthy adversary to take on current Vice President Mike Pence in debates. However, she is not without her drawbacks. As attorney general in California, she was responsible for failing to change the laws that allow for the mass incarceration of black and brown people for small marijuana offenses. These prisoners fought wildfires in California for just around a dollar an hour, and they cannot pursue firefighting as a career after their sentence is over since they have criminal records. The argument has been made that since Harris did not push to change the law, she was complicit in the unethical situation.

Online she has been likened to a cop, earning her the moniker “Cop-mala” on platforms like Twitter. However, she is a black, middle aged woman, who has proven her political prowess and can hold her own. For these reasons, I give her VP power a seven out of 10.


Every election cycle hinges on electability.. How will the electorate react to this candidate, will they be able to carry out their duties in office and will they even be elected? t Joe Biden’s health has been extensively discussed,, along with sexual assault allegations and his dodgy record which can all be used as ammunition against him.

Harris also has some troubles. I think that as a whole there is a strong base of middle-aged and upper-class white people who will unquestionably vote for Biden and some millennials who will vote more so because of Kamala. The young electorate tends to be more wary of politicians and especially those who are similar to the Democratic candidates, so getting the youth to vote will be of key importance. With all of this in mind, I give them a six out of ten on electability.

The compromise factor

For my final assessment of this ticket, I’ll analyze the “compromise factor.” This is based on Biden’s years as a senator and as vice president and Harris’ experience as an attorney general and senator. Biden worked with many Republicans during his tenure as vice president to pass legislation for a variety of issues, like when he persuaded Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter to defect to the Democratic Party and vote for Obama’s economic recovery bill in 2009. As a senator, Biden worked in 2007 with career Republican Senator Orrin Hatch to pass the Cyber-Crime Act of 2007, a bill to strengthen laws regarding online crimes.

Harris tends to vote with the rest of her party on issues, but has the skills as an attorney to negotiate and hammer out small details. For these reasons, I give the ticket an eight out of 10.

Overall, the Biden/Harris ticket is not the strongest the Democrats could have chosen. It’s only marginally a step up from 2016 where they lost in key states. I cannot predict who will win in November because of how close and contentious this race is.

For my criteria, the Biden/Harris ticket earned a 35/50, or a 70%. If this was a test, the ticket passes but by the skin of its teeth. It falls to you, the electorate, to decide our next president. Whether it’s by mail or in person, I encourage you to vote and make your voice heard.

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Twitter: @e_tww