Madam Veep

Today I’d like to play the latest political parlor game that doesn’t involve Trump bashing. It even stays within the most recent coronavirus social distancing guidelines because we can play it virtually thereby avoiding crowds of more than ten people. The game is: Who will Joe Biden pick as his running mate? In my version I have slimed the list down considerably. In fact I not only have it down to four but I will rank them in order of likeliness. Let’s explore.

For this game to make any sense you have to work on the assumption that Biden will be the nominee. At this point I am willing to do that.

Sunday night Biden declared that he would choose a woman for his running mate. Previously he had expressed a preference for someone who had been debate tested. These days we have debates for most offices above dogcatcher so that one could be worked around if necessary but it shows a definite preference of another of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. It is safe to rule out Tulsi Gabbard and Marianne Williamson so that leaves Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren. Gillibrand really didn’t have much of an impact and I just don’t see a Biden-Warren ticket (but I’d like it).

I don’t see geographical balancing being much of a factor, so for the most part we can disregard it unless it is an accidental bonus. A Veep pick who can deliver their home battleground state is another issue.

Most female candidates should help deliver the female vote which will be crucial in 2020. Although with Mike Bloomberg to a large degree underwriting the campaign I don’t see money as a major issue but we are long past the days where women had to ask their husbands to write a check. Next to votes the biggest thing that a woman can help deliver/motivate are campaign volunteers. Motivated women will make phone calls and (if the coronavirus subsides by October) knock on doors.

The unknown is how much a woman of color will help the ticket. African-American voters turned Biden’s campaign around in South Carolina and he owes them. Three of my final four self-identify as black. Would a black woman be the motivation to energize the all-important female African-American volunteer and voter base?

With all that in mind here is my final four in order:

Kamala Harris

Harris is sharp, attractive (it shouldn’t count but unfortunately it still does) and generally made a positive impression on voters in the primary. Her biggest problem appeared to be raising money but as I outlined above I don’t see that being a factor in the general. Her immediate replacement in the Senate would definitely be a Democrat. I can’t see a Republican upsetting the replacement in 2022 with California being a very blue state and has a huge bench of Democratic talent.

Amy Klobuchar

Aside from some allegations that she is a tough boss there doesn’t appear to be any grounds to attack her on. Like Harris she is smart and accomplished. The biggest political matchmaker slam on her is that she is white. The plus is that she comes from a purple state that she has a record of delivering for the Democratic Party.

Her immediate replacement in the Senate will be a Democrat and that person would have an advantage in 2022 albeit rather narrow.

I see a very good chance that if Biden wins he will select either Harris or Klobuchar as his Attorney General if they are not the Veep.

Val Demings

This pick may be a surprise to some and certainly that I have her ranking this high will be a surprise to many. Demings is smart, accomplished and like the two above, cutting when she needs to be. She is also black and attractive. She hails from the battleground state with the most electoral votes. On top of that she currently holds a House seat from a district in the I-4 corridor; which is where statewide races are won and lost in Florida. If she could generate enough Democratic votes to swing Florida she would have served her political purpose and almost certainly assure Biden’s election.

Stacey Abrams

Her name is batted around too much to ignore her as a top tier contender. Abrams lacks the D.C. experience of the other three in my final four. She served in the Georgia State Senate and lost her only statewide race (for Governor). However she may well have the best name recognition among black voters – particularly among young black voters – of any contender for the number 2 spot. Abrams also has a relationship with Biden and decided not to contend for one of the two Senate seats up in her state instead opting to run a registration campaign.

I’m among the Democrats who feels Abrams’ move was selfish and that while voter registration is important her efforts along those lines could well have been incorporated in a Senate campaign for one of those crucial seats. That being said people like me are not going to abandon Biden over her selection and a lot of young people will be much motivated. I think without an all out push Georgia is still beyond the Democrats’ reach in 2020 and that all out push would have been easier to justify with Abrams challenging for one of those Senate seats.

Well there you have my top four picks. The bottom line is that I’m not the decider here; Joe Biden is. Add to that the fact that there are several other well qualified women that I didn’t even mention. Let the parlor games (even if they are held via the internet) continue.

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