The vice presidential sweepstakes

There are as of this writing just over 100 days left until the 2020 election. It is hardly an exaggeration that this will be the most consequential election in the past 90 years, or maybe forever.

The presidential campaign is going to be a referendum on the administration of Donald J. Trump and the sycophants who have supported and enabled him for the past three and a half years. The judgment of the voters will be of historic proportions.

Future posts will get into issues that will define this referendum but first let’s deal with the task immediately at hand – the selection of vice presidential candidates.

The Republican vice presidential nomination is easily resolved. Mike Pence has the spot locked up. While Republicans might want to jazz up the ticket with someone like Nikki Haley or some young up-and-coming senator, Trump doesn’t like to be upstaged. Mini-me Mike has no thoughts of his own and he has now endured months of hits in his mindless defense of Trump COVID-19 screw-ups, so he is going to be their guy again.

Democrats, however, have nearly as many serious VP choices as they had presidential candidates, even after Biden announced that his candidate would be a woman. He is expected to make his decision known by around August 1.

Biden and the Democratic Party have a wide variety of talented candidates to choose from. Here is the alphabetically sorted list of women most prominently mentioned:

• Former Georgia legislative leader and 2018 gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams
• Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin
• California Congresswoman Karen Bass
• Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
• Florida Congresswoman Val Demings
• Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth
• California Senator Kamala Harris
• New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham
• Former Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice
• Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren
• Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer

All of these women have proven records in public service and all but one (Rice) have run for office multiple times. Let’s sort out the list.

Harris and Warren arguably have had the most vetting, having been presidential candidates this year. They were participants in many national debates. Trial under fire provides a good test for a VP candidate.

Two others are United States Senators with track records and voting histories that can be analyzed (Baldwin and Duckworth).

Duckworth is a distinguished veteran, having lost both of her legs while flying a combat mission in Iraq. The recent attack on Duckworth by commentator Tucker Carlson in his defense of Private Bone-Spur Donald Trump was disgusting and boomeranged badly on him and the state-run media known as Fox News.

Two of the women on the list (Lujan Grisham and Whitmer) have been publicly tested while serving as state chief executives during the pandemic. Their cool and controlled responses to the issues at hand have shown their meddle.

Two are members of the House of Representatives (Bass and Demings) with voting records that will be oppo researched. Demings is a former police chief with work experience that will undergo scrutiny if she is selected.

Bottoms is the mayor of a major American city who has dealt first hand with pandemic issue, including a legal battle concerning the wearing of masks with the coronavirus denier Governor, Brian Kemp, who has not bothered to let intelligence and science get in the way of Trump-based BS.

Abrams also has history with Kemp, who as Georgia Secretary of State and candidate for governor in 2018, suppressed voting through the questionable removal of tens of thousands registered voters, many of them Black Democrats. The election for governor was very close, and it is highly likely Abrams would have been elected governor if Kemp had not reduced the voter rolls.

Rice, in addition to her National Security position, also served as ambassador to the United Nations, experience that would come in very handy in a Biden administration that will need to work hard to rebuild America’s role in world politics.

So how to choose the right candidate? There is no perfect candidate in any campaign. Each candidate presents their experience, intelligence and character to the voters. All candidates on the national stage will have their lives and their work probed incessantly.

A lot is written about the possibility that Joe Biden, if he is elected, will only serve one term. Who knows, but since he would be 82 in 2024, that possibility seems likely. A Biden administration would be a transition administration, with tons of things to do to right the wrongs of the Trump administration.

If a Biden Vice President were to be considered a future presidential candidate that woman would be serving with one eye directed to the next campaign. If Biden were to call it quits in 2024, the Democratic presidential field that year would rival the numbers of candidates in 2020. Many of the above listed women, along with men who ran this year plus others would emerge.

In considering his options Biden will need to consider such things as:

• Who has already been battle tested on the national stage. Harris and Warren fit the bill. How would Harris’ record as a prosecutor play out? Would the possibility that a Vice President Warren would be replaced as Massachusetts senator by appointment of the Republican Governor affect her selection? The battle for control of the Senate is very important. Giving up a Senate seat for the next year or two could complicate Democratic efforts to control that legislative body.
• How would the on-the-ground efforts of Lujan Grisham, Whitmer and Lance Bottoms in COVID-19 issues play on the national stage?
• Would a Duckworth candidacy assist in demonstrating the Party’s respect for those who wear the uniform?
• Would the possibility that Bass or Rice might not be interested in running for president in 2024 allow them to focus on the job at hand?
• Would Abrams’ hands-on experience with Republican voter suppression efforts help focus attention on a major campaign issue for Democrats up and down the ballot?
• Would the lack of national attention on Baldwin or Demings help or hurt in a vice presidential campaign?

There is a lot for Biden and his team to consider. His early conclusion of the Democratic primary has given him plenty of time to review his selection for vice president. Any of the eleven women listed above would be a good choice.

And then there is this. A recent POLITICO/Morning Consult poll demonstrated that on the Democratic side voters are pretty focused on Biden versus Trump. Fifty-four percent of the poll respondents said that the VP candidate will have no impact on how they will vote. Twenty percent said the selection will have only a minor impact on their vote.

We’ll soon have Biden’s decision and then the campaign will move into the home stretch. Traditional presidential politics dictated that the campaign would formally begin after Labor Day but not the 2020 election. It started in January 2017 when Trump filed re-election papers. It’s time to wrap things up.

Here’s a little poll on the vice presidential choices. I’ve include Pence and Haley along with the eleven Democrats.



2 thoughts on “The vice presidential sweepstakes

  1. I do not have a firm grasp on all these candidates. However my first choice is Susan Rice. She is brilliant and has the temperament and grace to be a fine vp. My second choice is Kamala Harris, only to see her rag doll Mike Pence in a debate.


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