Within minutes of Joe Biden’s announcement that Kamala Harris would be his running mate on the Democratic presidential ticket in the US, prominent voices in the right-wing media and the Trump administration started pushing the narrative that Harris is the one who’s really in charge. This was not some sudden recognition of female empowerment or a nod to just how historic the pick is; rather it was a deliberate prelude to launch misogynistic and racist gutter attacks that the right has been unable to make against Biden.
Donald Trump Jr. immediately tweeted out the hit video from father’s reelection campaign on the Democratic senator with the line: “Might as well switch the hashtag to #HarrisBiden2020,” adding that she will be calling all the shots, “not slow Joe!”
Fox News’ Greg Gutfeld even posited that Biden will drop out soon to make way for Harris. “When he drops out, does she move to become the ‘P’? Or does she stay at VP, or they put something else in there?” he asked Tuesday.
Biden is more moderate than Harris, allowing the right to fuel fears of a radical left agenda taking over the Democratic ticket. But these attacks also opened the floodgates to a deluge of racism and misogyny, two hallmarks of President Donald Trump’s campaign style.
Unfortunately, it works: Trump launched his career on birtherism, and sexism was one of the key factors that helped him win the 2016 presidential election. Trump was wildly misogynistic throughout that cycle’s campaign, infamously calling Hillary Clinton “a nasty woman” during a debate. Nor was his campaign derailed when he was heard on leaked 2005 audio admitting to grabbing women “by the pussy” ― just one example of his long history of sexist remarks.
Trump and the right-wing media are already employing these tactics now that there’s a woman of colour in the race.
Conservative media has jumped on the bandwagon that Harris is meritless and chosen for the ticket because of...