One of the most fundamental pieces of good advice in ANYTHING is to keep your options open. Former Vice President Joe Biden did not do that regarding his eventual selection of a running mate – and he is now paying the price.
His first mistake was to commit to naming a woman. Maybe that worked for him during the Democrat primaries – but so far, a female on the ticket has never proven to be a winning strategy. The concept seems to be more popular than the reality. It did not work for Walter Mondale in 1984 when he picked New York Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate. President Reagan beat them in 49 or the 50 states. It did not work in 2008 when Senator John McCain selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. President Obama racked up 365 electoral votes in 29 states. And it did not work when Democrats put former First Lady Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket. It is eventually going to happen – but maybe not this year either.
Although Biden has not promised to pick a woman of color – as they are called these days – he has left himself little choice. The Biden friendly news media is clamoring for it – and the powerful left-wing base in the Democratic Party are expecting it – demanding it.
Unfortunately for Biden, the leading candidates – according to the left – are potential disasters in the General Election.
It would appear that Biden does not have a win/win option – not even a win/lose option. Every one of the Black females on the shortlist has serious downsides. The common problem is that they are all too far to the left. In addition, they each have unique negative attributes.
In addition, they will be more closely scrutinized for their presidential potential because virtually every voter understands that Biden is unlikely to be running for a second term even if he survives the first four years – and there is reasonable concern that he will not.
Let’s start with former Georgia State Senator Stacey Abrams. While she is a darling of the left-leaning media, she would be the least qualified candidate in modern American history – maybe ever. Outside of being a state senator, her political experience extends to losing a gubernatorial race in the Peach State. She has no executive experience. No Washington experience. No international experience. Although President Obama was also a state senator, he at least had a couple of years in the United States Senate. He also had a much stronger personal resume. Only in movies does the CEO pick the office boy as a successor. Rule her out.
If not the best policies, the person with the best credentials is former UN Ambassador Susan Rice. She knows Washington because she IS Washington. And that is a problem. She and Biden would look too much like the return of the “establishment” – something both Republican and Democrat voters have been trying to disrupt. Rice also has gotten her hands dirty in the phony Russian conspiracy theory that Democrats tried to pin on Trump. With the investigations of the investigators still underway, Rice could wind up in trouble smack-dab in the middle of the campaign.
Then there is California Congresswoman Karen Bass. Among all the contenders, she has been the most obviously campaigning for the nomination – including taking subtle jibes at the competition. She is ready and raring to go. However, she may be far too left for the shrinking herd of so-called moderate Democrats. As chair of the Democrats’ Congressional Black Caucus, she may be too narrowly focused on racial issues. In addition, her long public record of admiration of Fidel Castro should be a deal breaker. She could end all hope of Biden carrying Florida, with its large Cuban American population.
Another Congresswoman, Val Demings of Florida, is often named by various pundits. She is a positive for the hardcore left but may not be with the all-important swing voters. Demings gained national attention as one of the House prosecutors in the impeachment trial of President Trump. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi not only failed to have Trump removed from office, most folks not in the Democrat base thought the entire exercise was a mistake – especially after Democrats were embarrassed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s exoneration of Trump & Co. in terms of that phony criminal conspiracy theory that Democrats and their media cronies had been advancing for more than two years. Demings established a bit of a national reputation, but not necessarily a good one.
Two mayors get a lot of mentions – Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta and Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C. Bottoms could be one of the better picks for Biden. Her handling of the Atlanta riots made her more of a centrist on the issue of violence. She did not throw her own police department under the bus as a lot of other Democrat mayors did. Her greatest shortcoming is a lack of federal experience. Mayors rarely make it to the national ticket. Bowser’s handling of the D.C. riots – including order federal troops out of the federal District of Columbia — and her promoting Black Lives Matter by dedicating an area in front of the White House to the controversial organization makes here a very loooong shot.
Then there is California Senator Kamala Harris. Many pundits put her in the catbird position. But she has more negative issues than most. First of all, she is by today’s standard a person of color, but she is not African American. Her mother was born in India and her father is a multiracial immigrant from Jamaica. Many African American blacks draw a distinction from themselves and those referred to as “island Blacks.” Harris’ ancestry – and her aggressive prosecution of blacks as California Attorney General as made her unpopular with many segregated inner-city African American Blacks.
Many Democrats in Biden’s inner circle have not forgiven Harris for her racial attack on the former Vice President during the early debates – for which she has not apologized. Harris would be a constant reminder of Biden’s sponsorship of the crime bill that overcrowded federal prisons with young black males charged with low level crimes.
So, here is the dilemma for Biden. If he plays the political correctness identity politics card and chooses a black woman with her gender and race appearing to be the primary purpose, Biden will suffer a backlash to some degree. The choice – whoever it is — may not be popular with swing voters.
If Biden was to break his commitment and choose a white male, he would almost surely lose the General Election as the radical left in his base would not show up on at the polls. If he picks a white woman – like Senator Elizabeth Warren – Biden’s minority and radical left support would wane. But if he bends to pressure and pics a black woman – there are a lot of non-racist reasons why a goodly number of the swing voters may reject such a blatant political correctness move.
Biden could still win the November election, but it appears that his pick for Vice President could be costly – just as McCain’s pick of Sarah Palin was very costly. A lot of people could just not see Palin as President. With the possible exception of Harris, none of the Black female contenders look like presidential timber – and Harris has too many other problems.
It appears that Biden does not have a choice that will give the ticket a boost. Thanks to limiting his options, he must now base his decision on which candidate will damage his candidacy the least. Perhaps that is why his announcement keeps getting delayed.
So, there ‘tis.