Harris/Shapiro Ticket Will Sweep the Nation.

I’ve written several articles about Kamala Harris over the past 5 years, and another few about Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro.  But not until this week had I connected the two as, potentially, the most powerful Democratic ticket for 2024, which could win in a national landslide.

Long before Biden showed the world that he, in the words of his former COVID Advisory Board Member Dr. Zeke Emanuel writing this week in The Atlantic (“There Are Exceptionally Sharp Octogenarians.  Biden Isn’t One.), that President Biden has “clearly deteriorated” since as recently as his State of the Union address earlier this year, I was hoping he’d live up to his 2020 promise of being a “bridge to the next generation,” and gracefully pass the torch of leadership, as Nancy Pelosi did.  Before it was too late.

For months I’ve been telling friends that Kamala Harris at the head of the 2024 Democratic National Ticket would be a far better candidate than Biden, since few are as passionate and articulate as she is on the essential issue of reproductive rights, and the Supreme Court’s repeal of Roe v. Wade.  Harris’ sweet spots on the issue of reproductive rights, Voting Rights, and her tough questioning of Trump’s Extreme Right Wing Supreme Court nominees, from 2017 to 2020, have made her history’s hand-picked candidate this year, as all of those powerful waterfalls of justice and individual rights have collided this year.

Biden certainly was not as articulate as Harris would have been, when he staggered through an incomprehensible answer on abortion, during the Trump debate, demonstrating to many of his supporters, “a staggering failure of fluid intelligence,” as Dr. Emanuel phrased it in The Atlantic.  Few people are as loyal to Biden as Dr. Emanuel, whose brother, Rahm, was appointed by Biden as Ambassador to Japan. 

Bright red “danger” signs began flashing in the homes of Democrats, Independents and voters across the country, who care about personal freedoms and democracy’s future.  If Biden couldn’t hit it out of the park on such a softball question against the person most responsible for the Repeal of Roe, it was time for Joe to go.

 Not an early Kamala Harris fan when I moved to California 15 years ago, she won me over with her tenacious, fearless and seering cross-examination of  Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett—and of the bulbous, bloviating Bill Barr—during the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings.  Harris was a skilled prosecutor, at the top of her game and was excoriating Right Wing extremists on an enormously important national stage.  Of course, she could prosecute the case against Trump better than an incoherent Biden could.

I argued with friends that Kamala—as the first mixed-race female candidate, and daughter of immigrants, to head a national ticket—would electrify the electorate.  Despite poor press since she was elected Vice-President, a Democratic party that owes it’s success to woman, and in particular, women of color, could never, ever hopscotch over Harris, especially when reproductive rights, and an overreaching, extremist Supreme Court, are as central to this year’s campaign as the Convicted Felon and sex abuser heading the GOP ticket.  For added value, as a local prosecutor, Harris has put away her share of felons, and is not easily intimidated by criminals, whether they committed sex crimes or white collar fraud—both of which Trump has done.

When Biden withdraws as a candidate for re-election (by any number of methods), the only productive exercise for Democrats, or anyone serious about saving democracy from Christian Nationalist extremists peddling an updated 2025 version of Mein Kampf and the Felon Trump, would be to focus on a Vice-Presidential running-mate for Harris, who would bring the most to national ticket, and sweep in a Democratically controlled Senate and House. 

Much of my early attention went to Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona as the perfect running mate for Kamala Harris.  A Navy Captain and former astronaut and genuine American hero, married to Gabby Giffords, another American hero, from a key swing state, Kelly, beat multimillionaire and Trump stooge Blake Masters in 2022, carried moderate Arizona voters by 30%, and independent voters by a margin of 55-39%.   

My thought was that his moderate appeal would balance ideologically with Harris’ progressive record, and Kelly’s partner, Giffords, would help galvanize young voters passionate about gun violence.  However, one mitigating factor against Kelly might be that if the Ike-look alike were tapped to run with Kamala, the Democratic Governor of Arizona, Katie Hobbs, would have the opportunity to fill his Senate seat temporarily with another Democratic, until a special election could be held to fill out the balance of his term through 2028, and another Democrat might not be able to keep that seat.  Additionally, having the US Senator from Arizona—a border state– on the Dems National Ticket would elevate border control and immigration to the same level as Roe, Christian Nationalism, and the Fourth Reich Project 2025. Plus, that ticket would lack regional balance.

Which is why a Harris/Shapiro ticket has become far more appealing to me. 

The growing threat against women, the LGBTQ community, people of color, and non-Christians, from Christian Nationalists—on the Supreme Court, in Congress, and the Totalitarian blueprint for a Christian Nation—will require an all out campaign against those dire threats to democracy by every Democrat and independent voter in the nation.  Two skilled prosecutors—like Harris and former Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro—can effectively and relentlessly bring that case home.

 In fact, Shapiro already has, when he trounced the Ultra Right Wing Extremist Christian Nationalist and Trump apologist Doug Mastriano by 15% points in the 2022 Gubernatorial race in Pennsylvania, a crucial battleground state in the national election.

I wrote about that election in my piece entitled “From Here to Harrisburg: Josh Shapiro is Frank Sinatra & Mastriano is the Bully Borgnine,” in May, 2022. My article on Josh Shapiro was one of my top half-dozen most widely read pieces on social media, putting it up in the thousands of readers category with stories about Billy Joel, Mario Cuomo, E. Jean Carroll, John Gotti, and Trump’s Relationship with Organized Crime. Maybe it was the comparison of Shapiro to Frank Sinatra that pushed it into such rarified readership company.

In it, I compared the madman Mastriano—a gnarly mix of Donald Trump and the Heritage Foundation’s (and Pat Buchanan’s acolyte) Kevin Roberts—to Ernest Borgnine’s bullying character “Fatso Judson,” in From Here to Eternity, who kills Sinatra’s truth-telling character “Maggio,” because Fatso doesn’t like “wops.”

I researched Mastriano’s Christian Nationaist fanatical diatribes—a precursor to the Fourth Reich Project 2025—and they reminded me of the other-world screeching of Savonarola, the puritanical Dominican friar of 15th Century Italy who headed “bonfires of the vanities,” to destroy of all things condemned by religious authorities.

Throughout the pages of his parade of prejudices—a 65-page Masters thesis at a Military college– Mastriano expressed his “disgust with anyone who doesn’t hold his view that homosexuality is a form of ‘aberrant sexual conduct,” said former George W. Bush Administration White House official Peter Feaver, who was horrified by what Mastriano wrote.

The Christian Nationalist’s fevered fetishes over “homosexuals in the military, “ and a “morally depraved and relativistic populace”, gushes from his pen, like a crayon-scrawled edict nailed to a church door, rather than a “research” paper.   His apocalyptic vision of a decaying world and military is obsessed with “moral anarchy,”  “worship of Hedonism,” and the consistent theme that the “assault started with the insertion of homosexuality in the military.

Foreshadowing the forthcoming fury of the Fourth Reich’s Project 2025, declaring war on “Awokeness” (sic), Mastriano railed against “homosexuality sensitivity training.”

“The political correctness of the 1990’s established moral relativism as the norm, “ Mastriano wrote.  Ironically, Mastriano, much like the Fourth Reich Project 2025,  blusters about the “duty to uphold the Constitution,” as opposed to “overzealous loyalty to one person,”—the exact opposite of what he, MAGAites, and his fellow  “Stop the Steal” sycophants did for Trump on January 6, and in campaigning for high office, despite the evidence of 60+ court decisions debunking claims of election fraud.

That’s the kind of untethered-to-reality extremism and bigotry, Shapiro, a devout practicing Jew, was up against when he made mincemeat of Mastriano in Pennsylvania in 2022, carrying many key counties by 14 to 20% more than Biden/Harris did in 2020.

Shapiro’s impeccable record of integrity and accomplishments as Pennsylvania’s Attorney General for two terms—and his unyielding campaign in defense of the rule of law, constitutional rights, reproductive rights, voting rights, and racial and religious equality, has won praise from all parts of the political spectrum.

 Even progressive writer and founder of The Lever News David Sirota wrote a glowing piece about Shapiro entitled “The Democrat Who Picks Fights with Bad Guys,” ((https://www.levernews.com/the-democrat-standing-between-america-and-fascism/), calling Shapiro “the cheery mensch your Jewish grandmother wanted you to be.”

Many of my fellow Jews have expressed concern about having a prominent Jewish elected official on the national ticket, teamed up with a bi-racial woman, and running against Trump and his crazed Christian Nationalist supporters. They worry that it will increase anti-Semitic attacks against all Jews, by fanatical Trump supporters known for threatening peoples lives, and committing acts of violence.

That’s precisely why its so important that, Shapiro, who has never backed away from a fight, will be the perfect addition to a Kamala Harris ticket.  Just as he did in his campaign for Pennsylvania Governor, Shapiro, has stood forcefully for the protection of personal liberties, like religious freedom, LGBTQ rights, and a women’s right to make her own health care decisions.  He is, in every way, the Anti-Trump, with a reverence for the Rule of Law, and a track record for enforcing it, and protecting the public.

Not only is a Harris/Shapiro ticket geographically, racially, religiously and gender balanced, but there is an added advantage among Democrats this year: the split among American Jews concerning Israel and the War in Gaza, will be mitigated as a factor in this election with a prominent, and proud, Jew on the national ticket.  Jewish grandmothers from Boynton Beach, Borough Park or Beverly Hills, will find it hard to resist wanting to pinch the cheeks of Shapiro, the “cheery mensch,” and wish him well.

Coupled with fellow prosecutor and former California Attorney General Kamala Harris, the very existence of a Harris/Shapiro ticket makes several bold statements:

First, that no one is above the law, especially the President, regardless of what a jaundiced Supreme Court might think, and that two tough prosecutors are determined to make sure of that;

Secondly, that defending the rule of law, the Constitution and Democracy, fighting for human and civil rights, and individual personal freedoms has been their life work, and will be the priority of a Harris/Shapiro Administration;

And, third, that the United States is not a Christian nation, but a nation where Christians and all faiths, or people of no faith, are free to practice their beliefs.

The very presence of a non-Christian on the Democratic National ticket makes the declaration of Religious Freedom, loud and clear; the very presence of a woman of color at the top of the ticket, lifts every voice to acknowledge the equality and justice for all races, genders, faiths and people—in direct defiance of the Fourth Reich’s Project 2025 explicit efforts to erase them.

I’m reminded of the Academy Award winning short film from 1945, The House I Live In, made during this country’s last life-and-death struggle with Fascism.  In it, Frank Sinatra sings the song “What is America to me?”a powerful anthem against discrimination of all types. 

It ought to be the Harris/Shapiro campaign’s theme song.

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