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Kamala Harris is Donald Trump's worst nightmare

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenRev. Barber says best way to undercut extremism is with honesty Biden requires international travelers to quarantine upon arrival to US Overnight Defense: House approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee | Biden to seek five-year extension of key arms control pact with Russia | Two more US service members killed by COVID-19 MORE’s selection of Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris takes up temporary residence at Blair House Amanda Gorman captures national interest after inauguration performance Democrats formally elect Harrison as new DNC chair MORE (D-Calif.) as his running mate this week made history and put one more large crack in the highest and hardest glass ceiling in politics.

Biden’s selection of Harris is a breakthrough for women of color that will no doubt excite and inspire African Americans and Asian Americans, as she will be the first candidate of South Asian descent on a major party ticket. But she also will be a big boost for Biden among Latino voters, a crucial voting bloc that the former vice president has struggled to bring home

Harris also represents the Trump campaign’s worst nightmare.

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Ironically, much of the media coverage has described Biden’s selection of Harris as “safe,” which says a lot about how far we have progressed in our view of women in politics. Sen. Harris is certainly seen as an establishment figure and, in that sense, can be considered a safe pick. But as a black woman, the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrant parents, at no other time in history would she have been considered safe.

Regardless, “safe” does not mean she will have an easy time of it. As someone who’s always exceptionally well-prepared and tough as nails, and as a woman of color, Harris will draw fire from all sides as she steps into a ring no woman who looks like her has ever been in. 

But that is exactly why she was the perfect pick for Biden. He needed to fulfill several needs with his VP choice. 

Primarily, he needed someone who could step into the job on Day 1. 

He also needed someone who would be, as he has put it, the “bridge to a future generation of leaders.” At 55 years old, Harris is part of that generation of younger leaders.

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He needed a tough competitor who has already been tested on the national stage. And he needed someone who would represent what the country looks like and reflect the diversity of the voters who got him the nomination. Specifically, he needed to honor Black women, who were a key to delivering the Democratic nomination to Biden. 

But the selection of Harris does something else that Biden needs. She will be able to bring him closer to the Latino community. As the daughter of immigrants – twice over – she has lived the immigrant experience and knows what the American dream means to hard-working families whose moms, dads or grandparents came to this country seeking economic opportunities, a better life and a brighter future. 

Additionally, as a former district attorney and former attorney general of California, the state with the highest percentage of Latino voters, she knows Latinos and has worked on their behalf. In turn, they have supported her overwhelmingly in both of her past statewide elections, even when she ran against well-known Latina Rep. Loretta SanchezLoretta L. SanchezIn her three elections, Kamala Harris has learned to adapt — and win Kamala Harris is Donald Trump's worst nightmare Disputed North Carolina race raises prospect of congressional probe MORE during her Senate campaign. 

In a recent Latino Decisions poll, 59 percent of Latino voters in key battleground states said they would be excited about Harris as Biden’s vice presidential pick. 

Fifty-two percent of Latinos said the choice of Harris would make them more likely to vote for Biden, while only 20 percent said they would be less likely to vote for him. This represents a net 32-point advantage with Kamala at his side.

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Almost two-thirds of Latinos identify as Democrats, which puts Biden in a good position to receive an important bump among Latinos by selecting Harris. It could also help excite and mobilize this important swath of voters, which will represent the largest ethnic voting bloc in the country in November, with 32 million Latinos eligible to go to the polls.  

The Trump campaign is already flailing in its attempt to increase its percentage of the Latino vote. It’s focusing on attacks against Biden in Florida, and has launched a silly ad that tries to tie Biden to one of Colombia’s leftist politicians. 

The Trump campaign seems to have settled on the “radical left” attack but doesn’t seem convinced it will work. (It won’t.) So far, their attacks only betray their worst instincts, as shown by Trump’s bizarre “suburban housewife” tweets and his supporters’ conflicting attacks against the Biden/Harris ticket. 

Harris will be Trump’s worst nightmare. She is an accomplished, intelligent, able woman of color who used her prosecutorial chops to great effect during the Trump impeachment hearings.

Kamala Harris is an exceptional choice for Joe Biden. Together, they will be a formidable team ready to make the case against Trump in this existential election. They will show Americans what real, competent, values-based, compassionate leadership looks like. 

Maria Cardona is a longtime Democratic strategist and co-chair of the Democratic National Committee's rules and bylaws committee for the party's 2020 convention. She is a principal at Dewey Square Group, a Washington-based political consulting agency, and a CNN/CNN Español political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @MariaTCardona.