Chapter Two: “So who does Biden pick for VP?” - Sunday Political Brunch - May 10. 2020

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CHARLESTON, W. Va. – Wow, my column last week really touched a nerve. I had a lot of response to, “So who does Biden pick for VP?” We profiled nine possible picks, Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams, Elizabeth Warren, Gretchen Whitmer, Amy Klobuchar, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Lujan Grisham and Catherine Cortez Masto. Several readers took issue with my list and were outraged by who I left out. Biden has a buffet to choose from, so let’s “brunch” on more possible picks this week!

“Don’t Duck Duckworth” – Sen. Tammy Duckworth, (D) Illinois, was mentioned by a few of you. Duckworth is a decorated and disabled Iraq War Veteran, who lost both legs and partial use of her right arms when the helicopter she was piloting was shot down. She won two terms in the U.S. House before being elected to the Senate in 2018. Aside from six years in Congress, she served in senior Veterans Administration positions in both Illinois and Washington, DC. Her biggest drawback? She’s from Illinois, a state Democrats are likely to carry no matter what. So, where does she help Biden beyond the Land of Lincoln?

“Delegates for Demings” – Rep. Val Demings, (D) Florida, made a name for herself in the impeachment of President Donald Trump, as one of the seven House Impeachment Managers. A 27-year police officer, including as Chief of Police in Orlando, Demings built a reputation as a tough cop, but critics rated her weak on gun owner rights, with the NRA giving her a grade of F. Many are pushing Demings because they want Biden to pick an African American woman as a running mate, and he has lots of options in that regard. Demings is in just her second term in Congress, and critics view her legislative experience as thin.

“Georgia on my Mind: Round Two!” – Last week I wrote about Stacey Abrams, an African American woman who lost a close race for Governor of Georgia in 2018. Well another name being offered for the Peach State is Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta. Bottoms, an African American woman, served on the Atlanta City Council for eight years, before serving as mayor the past two years. She’s an interesting possibility, as Democrats continue to view Georgia as a red state – turning purple – that can turn blue on 2020. Abrams’s near-miss for governor in 2018, may hold some weight. But being a big city mayor has never been a launching pad for the White House, so I view Bottoms as a possible, but not a probable pick.

“The ‘Gates’ to the White House” – Among the best “chatter” picks is Melinda Gates (the wife of Microsoft Bill), and co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has donated billions to various causes around the world. Gates (like Trump) has no elective political experience, but in the world of big business, leaders get lots of experience dealing with governments and regulators, and those lessons are instructive and invaluable. Her husband has been mentioned as a potential running mate, too, but both eschew any interest. I rate her as a longshot, at best!

“Right Time for Rice?” – Susan Rice served as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in President Barak Obama’s first term. She then served as National Security Advisor in the second Obama term. Rice was also a high-level State Department advisor in President Bill Clinton’s second term. But Rice’s roll in the controversial U.S. response to the 2012 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi torpedoed her chance at being Secretary of State. Rice, an African American, was born in Washington, DC, raised by a mother and father who were highly accomplished in economic and education circles. As I mentioned with other candidates, the Democrats are likely to carry strongholds like DC, so where does Susan Rice help Biden beyond the Beltway?

“So, What’s My Educated Guess?” – Politics is as much about strategy as it is about policy. Biden promised to pick a female running mate and in my lists for the past two weeks there were six African Americans, two Latinas, and two Asian Americans. Biden is under great pressure to pick a woman who is also a minority. The problem for most of those choices is that they come from states that Democrats are likely to win anyway. My best guess is that this pick comes down to two people. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, (D) Minnesota, can carry her home state, plus neighboring Wisconsin. And Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, (D) Michigan, could bring her home state back to the Democrats. If that holds, Biden needs to win his Pennsylvania birthplace, and he’s president.

Who would you pick for Joe Biden’s VP running mate? Just click the comment button and let us know!

Mark Curtis, Ed.D., is Chief Political Reporter for the five Nexstar Media TV stations serving West Virginia, its five surrounding states and most of the Washington, DC media market. He is a National Contributing Political Writer for The White House Patch at www.Patch.com.

© 2020, Mark Curtis Media, LLC

Photo courtesy: PBS

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