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The Biden Ticket Nears Completion

Who is on Joe Biden’s shortlist of potential VP picks, and what will each provide to his campaign?

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Joe Biden is likely to be the Democrat who challenges Donald Trump for the presidency, later this year. While many presume Biden will enter the electoral race, many are still wondering who he will choose to be his vice presidential nominee.

Early into the Democratic debates this year, former Vice President Joe Biden promised mid-debate to pick a female running mate. He also vowed to build a broad Democratic coalition involving both progressives and moderates, something Hillary Clinton seemed to lack in 2016. While many praised the move as a reassurance of Biden’s commitment to progressive causes, it also backed him into a corner with regards to his potential picks for the vice presidency. Thus far, Biden has not indicated who he has chosen for the position, but his campaign has interviewed, vetted, and held discussions with many of his potential picks.

The Candidates

Topping off the list is one of Biden’s main rivals throughout the Democratic primaries, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA). Harris is a mixed-race African American and Indian American woman who was formerly the district attorney of San Francisco and attorney general of California. She is currently the junior senator of California. Harris’ legislative and judicial experience is extensive. Still, her record as an anti-drug prosecutor while portraying herself as a progressive reformer would likely upset the progressive voting bloc within the Democratic Party. Another caveat to her resumé is her scorching attacks on Biden during the primaries. She wasn’t subtle when she called him an enabler of racism for working with segregationists decades ago.

Susan Rice, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and the United States national security advisor to former President Barack Obama, also leads the field to become part of the Biden ticket in 2020. Rice’s foreign policy experience would help Biden, who has been criticized heavily for his foreign policy record over the years. Like other candidates, Rice has her baggage, arising from the 2012 attack on American government buildings in Benghazi, Libya. Rice appeared on morning news shows and blamed the release of an Islamophobic movie for the attacks. Investigations later uncovered that the attacks were coordinated beforehand, and had nothing to do with the movie’s release.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI) is the only potential pick to visit Biden for an interview thus far. Governor Whitmer has described herself as a progressive but has worked with the Republican-controlled legislature in her state. She has also wants an expansion of the Affordable Care Act, like Biden. Her status as the governor of a swing state would prove influential with the Rust Belt region of working-class Americans, whose support Biden needs to beat President Trump in 2020.

Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is a full-blown progressive who has fought for her views for decades. Many progressives believe she destroyed Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) nomination hopes by refusing to endorse her longtime ally, scoring points with the Biden campaign early on. If Biden wants to guarantee his coalition of moderates and progressives, he would be wise to choose Senator Warren. Still, concerns about her age and history of lying about her ethnic background may make her a liability.

Joe Biden has reportedly done considerable soul-searching in trying to find the right partner for his campaign, and he will likely choose his running mate by the Democratic National Convention on August 17. Each potential pick has her pros and cons, and it’s just a matter of what Biden thinks will help secure him a victory in 2020.

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Jose Backer, General Assignment Reporter, is a graduate of St. Michael's College and is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Political Science. Born and raised in Southern California, he currently resides in the Pasadena area.

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