This time in the US elections, India is very keen on Kamla Harris of Indian origin, who is running for the post of Vice President along with Democratic candidate Joe Biden. But what is the importance of him entering this election? What will she be able to do as a Vice President if she is elected? What responsibilities or strengths will they have? We spoke to Joel C. Immel, who is a Professor of Law Emirate at St. Louis University School of Law, about the historical facts about the Vice President and the current situation. According to Professor Immel, the US Constitution has defined two roles for the Vice President – the Vice President is the head of the US Senate and his vote is a tie-breaker if there is a tie in the voting. And the second role is that when needed, the President is the first successor. Until most of the 19th century and half of the 20th century, the Vice President had no role outside the Senate. The party used to elect him and many times his opinion did not match with the President. He did not have any special ability or he was very famous. But these circumstances began to change when Richard Nixon became Vice President in 1953.
This situation also changed because a lot changed in the world at that time. In the US, the New Deal i.e. efforts for economic revival, national government became the most important after the second world war. It was also the time of the Cold War and in order to compete with Russia, it was necessary to have a person on the post of Vice-President who can put the country in front of other countries in the Atomic Age, who knows about these subjects and who has respect for them. President Dwight C. Eisenhower used to send Nixon as an envoy on international tours, Nixon was involved in security meetings, heads of committees. In Nixon’s time, the post of Vice President became the most important beginning for the presidency.
But Professor Immel points out that the concrete change came in 1976–77 when Jimmy Carter was on the presidency and Walter Mondale on the vice president. At the same time, the Vice President was brought to the White House and became one of the President’s closest office bearers. This model has been running for the last 44 years. The Vice President is the highest level advisor to the President and performs the tasks that are to be done at the highest level in the government. He can meet the President every day, see his memos, attend briefings, and at times can also give advice which the President does not like very much but he needs to know.
During President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden was given the responsibility of withdrawing the US Army from Iraq. Vice President Mike Pence is heading the Corona Task Force. So the Vice President is probably called running mate in America because he has to walk step by step in the government.