As the Trump presidency continues to set new lows in corruption, incompetence, and a complete lack of moral compass, Joe Biden is getting closer to picking his running mate for the November Election. Having already made clear that he will pick one of the country’s formidable women, it is getting close to crunch time. Minnesota’s Senator Amy Klobuchar has publically withdrawn from consideration and I would like to respectfully suggest that he pick California Senator, Kamala Harris.
I will explain why I support the selection of Senator Harris after first discussing some of the other candidates that appear to be on the list.
Traditionally, a Vice president is chosen to balance a ticket geographically and to ensure a win in key swing states. This was the logic of Hillary Clinton’s picking Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate. Kane did deliver Virginia but failed to convince the nation that Donald Trump was unfit for office. Using this logic, Biden should pick someone from a swing state such as Georgia and there are people who feel he should either pick Stacey Abrams or Keisha Lance Bottoms. Ms. Abrams narrowly lost the race for Governor of Georgia in 2018 and would probably have won if the election was fair, and Ms. Lance Bottoms is the Mayor of Atlanta.
Both would increase the likelihood of winning in Georgia and getting the African American vote to the polls across the country. Both are accomplished politicians and I could imagine will be effective Vice Presidents. My concern is if they have the experience and personality needed to become president if anything happens to Joe!
Another line of thinking has the democratic party divided between progressives who supported Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on one side and moderates who supported people like Senator Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, and Joe Biden on the other. This line of thinking would indicate that Senator Warren is the perfect match as it would unite the party and encourage progressives and younger voters to come out to vote. While I am an enormous fan of Senator Warren, my concern is that the right-wing of the Republican party and the President will paint her as a socialist radical and do their best to scare both moderate Democrats and reasonable Republicans that if she were to become President, the country would face economic destruction. Massachusetts will support Biden in any case.
A third line of thinking is that Biden already has the support of African Americans and that the progressives will come out to stop Trump in any case. This thinking then looks at securing the increasingly important Latino vote. According to Politico, the two leading candidates from this list are New Mexico’s governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, and Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto. Both New Mexico and Nevada ended up supporting Ms. Clinton and it is unlikely they would flip to Trump in 2020. In any case Ms. Masto has said she needed to focus on issues in Nevada.
The reason I like Kamala Harris is the same reason Bill Clinton chose Al Gore as his running mate back in 1992. On the surface, Gore seemed a poor pick as his electoral base was similar to Governor Clinton’s and he came from Tennessee which is not so far from Arkansas. When asked why he chose him, Clinton gave the best possible answer which was “I think he would make a great President if something happens to me”. Biden will not need her to deliver California’s 55 electoral votes and will need to make sure he does something to mollify the progressive wing of the party but I still think she is the right choice.
At this moment in time, the United States desperately needs a president who embodies what Dean Williams calls Real Leadership. Someone who puts the country’s interest before their own reaches out to all Americans regardless of race, wealth, gender, or sexual orientation and helps to heal the wounds left by Donald Trump. At the same time, the country needs someone who can help Americans wrap their heads around a number of very difficult issues which include the need for a better health care system, criminal justice reform, and an accelerated path to a low carbon economy. To know more about where she stands on most issues, her campaign website is still online and you can find it here.
Although her presidential campaign did not get very far in the polls, Senator Harris developed her position on these and a number of other issues and seems to have the temperament and experience to lead the country if called upon to do so.
Assuming Joe Biden’s health does allow him to complete his term, his Vice Presidential pick will be well placed for running for President in 2024 and Senator Harris is someone who could truly bring the country together to face its many challenges in the years ahead. The one area she will need to develop will be in the foreign policy space but she would have four years to get ready for that.
In its own list of who is in the running for the VP slot, the New York Times put Senator Harris at the top of the list but also included Susan Rice, the former ambassador to the United Nations and head of the National Security Council in the Obama administration. She would, of course, bring a wealth of foreign policy expertise to the job but will have to demonstrate her capabilities on domestic policy.