Kamala Harris may inherit a Senate that is evenly split for at least two years. If she does, she may become the most powerful Vice President in US history.
For senior politicians such as Bernie Sanders, being VP means little. But for Kamala, who was relatively unknown outside of California before this election cycle, the move was big. Unlike Bernie, Kamala lacked experience as an executive before she ran for the Senate; Bernie had been the mayor of a US city and so knew the burden of being in the spot where the buck stopped. Harris, however, is now uniquely poised to make a true name for herself in national politics.
As for Bernie, Biden would do well to tap him for Secretary of Labor. Given that many states in the US have no department of labor or a very weak one, Bernie would be the firebrand to enforce the labor laws and straighten up a lot of problems for the working class.
A cabinet position, unlike the Vice-Presidency, is a position of true authority. A cabinet secretary carries the authority of the Executive within the area they oversee, meaning that being Attorney General, Secretary of State, Secretary of the Interior, etc. is often seen as a superior position over the VP.
Early in the primary process, some people were smugly insisting that Kamala becoming Attorney General would be a demotion from being a Senator. These people don’t understand the power of the President’s cabinet. Cabinet appointments have the power to reorganize entire departments of the government which is a big, big deal. I have no doubt that, had Biden tapped another woman of color for the Vice-Presidency, that she would now be a contender for Attorney General.
But as it stands, if there is a 50/50 split in the Senate, Kamala will become one of the most prominent figures in politics and that can be her ticket to becoming the first woman and woman-of-color President in US history.