Three women of color top Joe Biden's list of four possible running mates
Elizabeth Warren remains the only white candidate while the others are Kamala Harris, Val Demings and Keisha Lance Bottoms
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has entered into the climax of his hunt for a running mate for this year’s presidential election. While the former vice president’s age and decision to stand for a single-term presidency has already made his still-to-be-decided vice president an important figure, the ongoing anti-racism protests across the US have added to the significance. Biden has been stressing throughout on picking a woman as his deputy and three of the four candidates who are considered to be leading the race for the No.2 position are people of color.
According to a report in the CNN, the hunt for the vice-presidential face is being done with utmost secrecy as most campaign aides, donors and even long-time allies have been kept uninformed. People who are close to the process say that the four leading VP candidates are California Senator and former presidential candidate Kamala Harris, 55; her Massachusetts counterpart and another former presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, 71; Florida Representative Val Demings, 63, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, 50. Minnesota Senator and former presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar, 60, was a frontrunner in the list till recently but dropped out saying the time is suitable for picking a black candidate.
"The whole way that (issues of race) have come to fore is having a real, serious impact on the search. You can do a search in order to check a box or you can do a search to get a running mate. I think this search is going to be genuine about getting a running mate rather than checking a box," South Carolina Representative and House Majority Whip Jim Clybern, an influential African-American whose endorsement saw Biden making a deep impact in the primary race, was quoted as saying by CNN.
The report added that separate teams of legal experts assigned to each of the candidates are approaching the closing stages of reviewing three distinct reports — written, financial and medical — while making the background checks, as per those who are close to the screening procedure. The search committee has conducted extensive interviews with several candidates but the presumptive presidential nominee is likely to sit with the finalists only in mid and late July and the final announcement is expected in early August, the CNN report added. Biden himself served as the deputy to America’s first black president Barack Obama between 2009 and 2017.
Former NSA Susan Rice is still in the race
The vetting process of the leading candidates is still underway. While the cases that Harris persecuted in California have come under the scanner, complaints made against Demings as a former Orland police chief are also being looked into. Besides, Warren’s scholarly writings are also being assessed. Apart from the four, some other women leaders are also being vetted and they include former national security adviser Susan Rice, California Representative Karen Bass, Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth and Secretary of Senate Democratic Conference Tammy Baldwin.
"The colonoscopy of the vetting is now occurring," a Democratic official associated with the process said on the condition of anonymity, the report added. The Democratic camp conceded that the recent protests have marked a real change in public take on racial issues and policing in a way that has impacted the overall calculus. Klobuchar’s exit from the race and her opinion that Biden should pick a woman of color makes that evident.
The search for Biden’s running mate is officially being handled by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, former Connecticut senator Chris Dodd, former Biden counsel Cynthia Hogan and Delaware representative Lisa Blunt Rochester. Lisa Monaco, a former homeland security adviser in the Obama administration, is also in the scheme of things. Some of the vetting procedure is being done virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic but the overall objective has been the same.