VP Kamala Harris in Las Vegas: ‘This race will be decided by you’

VP Kamala Harris in Las Vegas: ‘This race will be decided by you’

Vice President Kamala Harris at a rally in East Las Vegas on June 28, 2024. (Jannelle Calderon/The Nevadan/El Nevadense)

By Jannelle Calderón

June 28, 2024

Vice President Kamala Harris reassured Nevada voters that President Joe Biden still has the ability to be the country’s leader amid concerns about his age after the first presidential debate against Donald Trump.

In her fifth visit to Las Vegas this year, Vice President Kamala Harris reminded voters the importance of their participation in the 2024 election, especially in a swing state like Nevada.

Harris’ 10-minute speech mostly focused on the debate Thursday between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump — which left many viewers disappointed and anxious about their choices for November’s election. Trump spent much of the night lying and sharing misleading information, while Biden navigated a raspy voice and struggled to articulate his achievements.

Harris sought to remind voters that despite Thursday’s debate, there are stark differences between the two men when it comes to character and policy.

“Our president made clear there is a contrast between someone who lies and someone who leads,” Harris said during her speech, which was held at the East Las Vegas Community Center. “And as President Biden has said, we know Trump will sign a national abortion ban if he gets the chance, but we won’t let him.”

Harris reassured Nevada voters that Biden still has the ability to be the country’s leader despite being 81 years old and urged them to exercise their vote in support of Democrats. Nevada’s swing state status makes it a key battleground for both parties, especially as registered nonpartisans and minor party voters make up the plurality of the active voters in the state. 

“We’ve got 130 days, I’m counting, until Election Day. And this race will not be decided by one night in June. This race will be decided by you, by us,” Harris said. “Ultimately, in this election, we each face a question, what country do we want to live in? … We each have the power, each of us, has the power to answer this question with our vote and with our voice.”

For first-time voter Rebecca Haile, this election is “a rocky one,” but having lived through Trump’s first term as a teen, she wants to help prevent another one now that she has a voice to speak on the policies that directly affect her.  

“Especially as a young voter, we want to see our values and our beliefs on the ticket. Seeing the crazy things [Trump did] growing up and just seeing what I don’t want in a president, definitely helped inform me about who I wanted to be president now,” she said, adding that reproductive rights and access to abortion are important issues to her. 

Trump — who appointed three of the US Supreme Court justices that overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022 — has previously said he would allow individual states to enforce abortion restrictions, no matter how extreme. In a second Trump term, he told Time Magazine in April, Republican-led states with strict abortion regulations would be free to track pregnancies and even criminally prosecute providers or even patients who violate abortion restrictions.

Biden and Harris, meanwhile, have vowed to restore the protections offered by Roe v. Wade — which allowed abortion nationwide until fetal viability (usually around 24 weeks) — if reelected and given a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives and Senate majority that’s willing to reform the filibuster.

“At the end of the day, it’s just policy that’s really important,” Haile said. “People can talk [about Biden’s age], but what’s important is how they’re able to show the action.”

Several members of the League of United Latin American Citizens, a Hispanic civic engagement and advocacy nonprofit, were present at the rally, including Carlos Gonzalez, who was even more motivated to vote for the first time after hearing the Vice President’s speech.

“The ultimate and big picture here is to motivate youth like us to keep going,” Gonzalez said, adding that the Trump presidency created a sense of responsibility in him because his undocumented Mexican parents can’t vote.

Trump, who has spent the better part of a decade demonizing undocumented immigrants, has this year said he would seek to deport the nation’s 10-million plus undocumented immigrants if he’s elected in November. 

“Now understanding the situation and understanding how much of an impact it can have on Mexican families like mine,” he said. “I really, really want to spread that message to others, so they understand why this [election] is so important.”

  • Jannelle Calderón

    Jannelle Calderón is a bilingual politics and community multimedia reporter with a passion to highlight the human side to policy and issues as well as showcasing the vibrant cultures found in Southern Nevada. She previously reported for The Nevada Independent and graduated from UNLV.

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