Juan Williams: Harris proves the doubters wrong

You read it right — $48 million in 48 hours.

That’s how much Joe BidenJoe BidenPressure grows for breakthrough in Biden agenda talks State school board leaves national association saying they called parents domestic terrorists Sunday shows preview: Supply chain crisis threaten holiday sales; uncertainty over whether US can sustain nationwide downward trend in COVID-19 cases MORE’s presidential campaign raised after naming Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisRepublicans would need a promotion to be 'paper tigers' Democrats' reconciliation bill breaks Biden's middle class tax pledge We have a presidential leadership crisis — and it's only going to get worse MORE (D-Calif.) as his running mate.

“It’s really palpable, the excitement,” Biden said the day after Harris joined the ticket.


Oh, that’s not all.

Act Blue, the fundraising platform for Democrats, processed almost $11 million in just four hours after Biden picked Harris. That’s a record.

And get this — in the first 24 hours after Harris joined the ticket, Biden’s campaign got 150,000 people who had never given a dime to Biden to reach into their pockets.

So, I guess I was wrong about Harris.

I thought Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenMisguided recusal rules lock valuable leaders out of the Pentagon Biden's soft touch with Manchin, Sinema frustrates Democrats Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Congress makes technology policy moves MORE (D-Mass.) was the smart pick to unify the party by expanding the Biden tent to include her supporters as well as fans of Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPressure grows for breakthrough in Biden agenda talks Sanders, Manchin escalate fight over .5T spending bill Sanders blames media for Americans not knowing details of Biden spending plan MORE (I-Vt.).

Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) also seemed to have other ideas.

The man who saved the Biden candidacy with his endorsement in the South Carolina primary is said to have preferred Rep. Karen BassKaren Ruth BassFirst senator formally endorses Bass in LA mayoral bid Bass receives endorsement from EMILY's List Photos of the Week: Congressional Baseball Game, ashen trees and a beach horse MORE (D-Calif.). His thinking seemed to be that Bass was a better bet to unify the party because of her leadership of the Congressional Black Caucus and ties to advocacy groups on the left.

As Biden looked over the field at a time of nationwide Black Lives Matter protests, Harris’s work as a prosecutor in California did her no favors.

Critics said she was slow to investigate police shootings and noted that she appealed a ruling that the death penalty is unconstitutional.

And then she butted heads with Chris Dodd, a leader on Biden’s vice presidential selection team.

Harris famously refused to kowtow to Dodd, the former senator, when he asked her if she had remorse for smacking Biden in the first debate. She said it was just hardball politics when she knocked Biden for opposing mandatory school busing in the 1970s.

And there was grumbling about her failure in the race for the Democratic nomination.

She went into the race as a leading contender. But her campaign was poorly organized. And she never generated enthusiasm among voters, specifically black voters.

Remember, she dropped out before the first primary vote.

OK, but now those problems are in the past. Harris is joining a strong, existing campaign organization.

Her ties to Black Lives Matter activists have also improved. During her speech accepting the nomination, she memorably said: “There is no vaccine for racism.” She also read out loud the names of victims of police brutality, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

But even now there is concern about her past waffling on issues, most of all "Medicare for All."

You can expect Vice President Pence to mention in their debate that Harris backed Sanders’s single-payer health plan in the Senate before changing her position in the primaries.

As a candidate, she shifted to a plan described by The Wall Street Journal as a “government-run health care system that would maintain a limited role for private plans.”

Pence will also remind union members that while Biden supports the U.S.-Mexico-Canada deal that President TrumpDonald TrumpMcAuliffe takes tougher stance on Democrats in Washington Democrats troll Trump over Virginia governor's race Tom Glavine, Ric Flair, Doug Flutie to join Trump for Herschel Walker event MORE negotiated to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, Harris voted against the deal. She said it lacked environmental protections.

Those splits contributed to the Biden camp’s surprisingly long deliberations over naming a vice president.

Harris was the early favorite. But questions about her waffling led critics to argue her ambition was greater than her principles. That allowed other candidates to rise and fall as the flavor of the day among Biden’s inner circle.

Still, Harris consistently scored well with former President Obama, who counseled Biden on the pick.

Now all the hesitation looks crazy.


With the excitement Harris is generating — especially among black women and immigrants but also white women — and the flood of donations, she is clearly the right pick.

Note the importance of her support from suburban white women. The Democrats’ big win in the 2018 midterms, reclaiming the majority in the House, was based on those suburbanites. Already, 59 percent of female suburbanites disapprove of Trump, according to a July Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll.

And then there is the element of relief in Harris’s selection for deep pocketed, mostly white corporate donors who are much more at ease with Harris than with Warren’s tough approach to big tech monopolies and Wall Street regulation.

Harris even got a backhanded endorsement from Trump when he said her tough questioning of Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughLocked and Loaded: Supreme Court is ready for a showdown on the Second Amendment Why Latinos need Supreme Court reform Feehery: A Republican Congress is needed to fight left's slide to autocracy MORE was “extraordinarily nasty.”

As Biden said at his first event with Harris: “Is anyone surprised that Donald Trump has a problem with a strong woman?”

Harris is the first woman of color — and only the fourth woman — to appear on a major party’s presidential ticket.

“Yet so many of the Black women who helped secure that victory [passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote a hundred years ago] were still prohibited from voting, long after its ratification,” Harris recounted in her acceptance speech.

“But they were undeterred. Without fanfare or recognition, they organized, testified, rallied, marched and fought — not just for their vote, but for a seat at the table.”

Welcome to the biggest campaign table of all, Sen. Harris.

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.