With Americans pained by both civic violence and cases of police brutality, the times call for leaders who support law and order and justice. Former Vice President Joe Biden has found such a person in choosing Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate.
But getting there was not half the fun. It was not fun at all. As often happens in Democratic campaigning, the process deteriorated into a self-harming orgy of identity politics.
For starters, Biden should not have vowed early on to pick a woman. Then Black activists — backstopped by the woke white left — demanded that the woman be "of color." Both groups framed such a decision as a "reward" for Black women who, they say, are the "backbone" of the Democratic Party.
No. The reward is getting rid of President Donald Trump. And a look at voting patterns suggests that most African American voters understand something the activists don't.
Those participating in the Democratic primaries had Black candidates to choose from, but they preferred Biden by a very large margin. Why? Because the color of the nominee was not their paramount consideration. Replacing Trump was.
And they knew what they were doing. So did President Barack Obama when he made Biden, a regular white guy from Scranton, his partner. Obama knew how to win.
Let's get the sad part over with. In her first primary debate, Harris cynically attacked Biden as racially insensitive because he opposed forced school busing. As it turned out, she held the exact same position. Later on, she declared she was "the only Black person on this stage," exuding the kind of identity politics that get Democrats into so much trouble.
May all that be in her past. Much of Harris' appeal — both as San Francisco district attorney and California attorney general — was being a tough prosecutor. She went after the violent criminals who, it should be noted, prey mostly on minority communities. There won't be any moronic "defund the police" rhetoric coming from her.
Some on the left dislike her for this, but it's a strong selling point in the general election. A DA can oppose mass incarceration of low-level drug offenders and at the same time seek higher conviction rates for serious crimes. There's no contradiction there.
A sharp mind combined with experience in some of America's biggest law enforcement jobs makes Harris someone who could conceivably step in as president. The Harris debate we can look forward to is the one with Vice President Mike Pence.
Biden's insistence that his running mate be a woman oddly trivialized many of the candidates on his list. Several of the top names were exceptionally qualified apart from their gender, apart from their race. Lumping them together in a DNA-segregated playpen seemed somehow demeaning.
Daughter of a Jamaican father and Indian mother, Harris is herself driven "crazy" at being reduced to a "demographic archetype," according to a longtime aide. Identity diehards who loudly insist that if Biden hadn't picked a "woman of color," Black female voters might stay home insult both the voters and the candidates.
Biden's choice of Harris is, in the end, a good one, not because of her coloration but because of her talents, experience and understanding of the moment we live in. But it should have been OK for him to choose a white man with the same strengths. Or a Black man or a male Asian American.
There was nothing wrong with Cory Booker or Andrew Yang. They should have been on the vice presidential list, as well as Pete Buttigieg.
Well, the process was unnecessarily painful, but Democrats now have a strong ticket. Time to forward march to Nov. 3.
Froma Harrop is a syndicated columnist with Creators Syndicate.