Probable Democratic Party presidential nominee Joe Biden may reveal a bit more on his running mate. The Hill reported today Biden planned some announcement about a vice-presidential vetting committee in the middle of April but it appears coronavirus put a dent in the plan.
Biden unveiled a few details by promising he’ll pick a woman to share the ticket and previously mentioned New Hampshire U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, ex-Deputy AG Sally Yates, and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams as possibilities. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris appear possibilities, more the latter than the former, and it’s likely Senator Amy Klobuchar will get consideration.
Abrams openly wants the job telling Elle, “I would be an excellent running mate. I have the capacity to attract voters by motivating typically ignored communities… If I am selected, I am prepared and excited to serve.” Kudos to Abrams for her plain-speaking candor dating back to 2019, unlike other politicians who tend to hem and haw or slowly roll out larger policies while attempting to hide naked ambition. Jonathan Chait opined in New York magazine last year he believed Abrams might satisfy any VP bonafide by balancing out the ticket and setting up the next step for the Democrat Party if Biden prevails in November. The party itself believes Abrams has a future or else she wouldn’t have been picked to give the response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union in 2019. She also got the endorsement of Democracy for America which told The Hill her policies go well with progressives.
Harris’ yearning for the VP nomination was more political. She nailed Biden on his policy past in debates before dropping out in early December. Her campaign leaked a little over a month later Harris might endorse Biden before the actual endorsement took place in March. David Byler at The Washington Post wrote Harris is the right pick for multiple reasons, including keeping California’s Senate seat in the hands of a Democrat if Biden wins in November and balancing out the ticket.
If Biden picked Harris, he’d instantly bring demographic balance to the ticket. Harris is an African American and Asian American woman who is 22 years his junior. Biden wouldn’t be the presumptive nominee without the support of African American voters in South Carolina, and he constantly heaps praise on Democratic politicians who are women and people of color. If Biden really cares about representation, he should put his money where his mouth is.
And in the long run, picking Harris would be good for the party…Democrats can’t indefinitely try to re-create the Obama years…[B]y 2024 or 2028, the problems facing the United States and the politics around them will change even more than they already have. Obama’s 2008 template for victory will be obsolete. Democrats will need someone who can write a new political playbook and reimagine policy on the fly…
Harris’ past as a cop with a “long record of pushing illiberal ideas,” to quote Reason’s Elizabeth Nolen Brown may also go well with Biden’s defense of tough on crime measures.
Another name floated within the media on Biden’s potential pick is Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Karen Tumulty at The Washington Post seemed to suggest Whitmer’s ability to get under Trump’s skin is good enough, but also lauded her campaign ability and the fact she’s from a state which Trump won in 2016.
There are some other things that Trump might want to learn about Whitmer, besides her name. One is that the former Michigan Senate minority leader was elected in 2018 on the basis of her common sense and pragmatism.
She ran a disciplined and focused campaign, rejecting, for instance, the Medicare-for-all proposals touted by her more liberal opponents. Whitmer rarely mentioned Trump. Her campaign slogan was: “Fix the damn roads.”
What Trump surely does know is that when he won Michigan in 2016, it was by the closest margin of any state in the country. If he cannot keep its 16 electoral votes in his column come November, his road to reelection will grow steeper.
All of which brings us back to why Biden should put Whitmer on his ticket.
Whitmer’s name is interesting, however, picking someone because they can get under the president’s skin seems odd and counterproductive for voters wanting the so-called “return to normalcy” Biden claims to offer. One would think any potential debate between the governor and Vice President Mike Pence would be cordial given her past praise of Pence in the coronavirus handling.
Harris and Whitmer are first and third in the betting odds, for those who pay attention to that sort of thing, with Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar placing second. Michelle Obama is getting plenty of bets too, for some reason.
Only Biden and his handlers know who will be the pick and much of it depends on the duration of the current pandemic. Unless Draft Cuomo works, which who knows at this point.