Historic Win for Biden and Harris

Harris, who turned 56 on October 20th, will become the 49th Vice President of the United States. She will be the youngest vice president since Al Gore (who assumed office at 44 years of age) was sworn in as the 45th Vice President in 1993 under Bill Clinton.

Official portrait of Vice President Joe Biden in his West Wing Office at the White House, Jan. 10, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

Official portrait of Vice President Joe Biden in his West Wing Office at the White House, Jan. 10, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

In a real nail-biter, former Vice President Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. and Senator Kamala Devi Harris were declared the winners today of the U.S. Presidential race four days after Election Day. The race was called after the Biden-Harris ticket was declared the winner of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes. The 2020 election is notable for many reasons.

At last count, Biden and Harris received well over 74 million votes, the most ever received for a presidential ticket. Secondly, it was the first time in 60 years the race was won without winning Ohio’s electoral votes. The last time that occurred was when the John Fitzgerald Kennedy/Lyndon Baines Johnson ticket defeated Vice President Richard Milhous Nixon and his running mate U.N. Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. in the 1960 contest.

It is also an election of many firsts.

Biden, who turns 78 on the 20th of this month, will become the oldest person to assume the office of the presidency when he is inaugurated on January 20, 2021 as the 46th President. He is the first former vice president to be elected to the nation’s highest office since Richard Milhous Nixon was elected as the 37th President of the United States in 1969.

Harris, who turned 56 on October 20th, will become the 49th Vice President of the United States. She will be the youngest vice president since Al Gore (who assumed office at 44 years of age) was sworn in as the 45th Vice President in 1993 under Bill Clinton.

Vice President Charles Curtis in 1931 (Library of Congress/Public Domain)

Vice President Charles Curtis in 1931 (Library of Congress/Public Domain)

Significantly, Harris will also become the first woman, the first black person, and the first person of south Asian origin to serve as vice president. It is important to note that Charles Curtis (1860-1936), was the first vice president of documented non-white ancestry. On his maternal side, Curtis was of approximately 3/8ths Native American ancestry (which includes Kaw, Osage, and Potawatomi). He served as the 31st Vice President under the 31st President Herbert Clark Hoover from 1929 to 1933. [Joel Augustus Rogers in his booklet, The Five Negro Presidents, made an unsubstaniated claim that Hannibal Hamlin, Abraham Lincoln’s first vice president was black].

Vice President George Mifflin Dallas, 1848 (Public Domain)

Vice President George Mifflin Dallas, 1848 (Public Domain)

Harris is the daughter of the late Shyamala Gopalan, a biomedical scientist of Tamil Indian origin (who was born in present-day Chennai, India), and Donald Jasper Harris, an emeritus professor of economics at Stanford University, who is a native of Brown’s Town in Saint Anne’s Parish, Jamaica. One has to go back 175 years to find the last vice president to have both parents born outside of the United States. That was George Mifflin Dallas (1792 – 1864), who served as the 11th Vice President of the United States from 1845 to 1849 under the 11th President James Knox Polk. Like Harris, Mifflin’s father was born in Jamaica (in present-day Kingston). Mifflin’s mother was born in Devon, England. Spiro Theodore Agnew (1918-1996), the 39th Vice President of the United States from 1969 to 1973, was the last vice president to have at least one foreign-born parent. His father was born in Gargalianoi, Greece. Agnew served as the first vice president under Nixon.

Kamala D. Harris (US Senate)

Kamala D. Harris (US Senate)

Previously, Harris made history as the first non-white person elected district attorney of San Francisco and later the first woman, first black person, and the first person of south Asian origin to serve as Californai’s attorney general. She’s also only the second black woman to serve in the United States Senate.

Prior to serving as the 47th Vice President of the United States under Barack Obama, Biden served six terms in the United States Senate. When he was first elected in 1972, Biden was the sixth youngest U.S. senator in history.

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