Kamala Harris is a sitting U.S. senator who was vetted during the primaries, the daughter of immigrants and the first black woman and Indian-American on a major-party ticket. She thus satisfies the basic requirements of a vice-presidential choice: First do no harm, and second pick up what you can.
Three salient points:
She rose far fast. She was sworn into the Senate in January 2017. She went national early and quickly, like Barack Obama, who’d also been in the Senate less than two years when he began running for president. (Her pre-Senate background includes more-impressive offices, notably California attorney general.)
She is a woman of the left who entered the law not as a defense attorney but as a prosecutor. This hurt her in the Democratic primaries, where she was called a cop, but will help her in the general election with centrists and moderates.
She is an excellent performer of politics. Like Bill Clinton she enjoys and has a talent for the necessary artifice. She takes obvious pleasure in campaigning—making speeches, waving, laughing, pressing the flesh. In committee hearings she cocks her brow in the closeup to show skepticism. Her glamour, and her consciousness of it, were vivid enough to be spoofed by Maya Rudolph on “Saturday Night Live.”