Who will Joe Biden pick as his running mate? Here are all the possible women of color in the race for VP
The American vice presidency could see its most significant phase in history if Joe Biden goes on to become the president next year by winning the November elections. And with the former VP zeroing on women to take up the post, the issue has generated even more interest among political observers. A number of names of women who could emerge as Biden’s running mate eventually are doing the rounds. During an interview on Monday, July 20 night, the 77-year-old presumptive Democratic presidential nominee spoke a little more about the selection process of his VP candidate.
Speaking to Joy Reid on her new MSNBC program 'The ReidOut', Biden said: "I am not committed to naming anyone but the people I've named, among them there are four Black women." Biden, who served as the VP to America's first president of color Barack Obama, did not specify the four women who are being vetted for the post but promised that his administration "will look like America". “From the Vice-President to the Supreme Court, to cabinet positions, to every major position in the White House. It’s going to look like America. It's critically important that be the case. I can guarantee you that," the veteran leader said.
Biden under pressure to pick woman of color as VP
The Biden campaign has found itself under pressure to pick a Black woman leader as the VP candidate in the wake of race riots that erupted in the US following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May. Even Amy Klobuchar, a senator from Minnesota and former presidential candidate, stepped aside from the race saying it is high time Biden went for a woman of color as his running mate.
Those who are rumored to be part of Biden’s probable VP list include Senator Kamala Harris, Rep. Val Demings and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms who is making a lot of headlines now in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. Besides these, former national security adviser Susan Rice, former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and serving House member Karen Bass are also among the probables.
The presidential nominee said he was still in the middle of the vetting process for a running mate. He said that the campaign is still procuring detailed reports about the candidates that took about six weeks and those reports are just being finished. Biden is expected to announce the name of his running mate next month. Here's a look at some of his frontline VP candidates:
The 55-year-old senator from California was among Biden’s rivals in the early run for the presidency but she dropped out even before the primary season started. She is now among the prominent faces that are in the fray for the VP post. She has been California’s attorney general and San Francisco’s district attorney. A mixed-blood with an Indian mother and Jamaican father, Harris is a top choice candidate for the VP position not only because of the pro-Black mood but also because of her own ability to move quickly on her feet and speaking outright on issues. She has a good relationship with the media and the Democrats love her for her direct criticism of President Donald Trump. However, Harris' record as a lawyer in the past raises questions about whether she was tough enough against rogue law-enforcement officials.
Florida Representative and former Orlando Police Department chief Val Demings has not been a known face till recently. It was after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave the 63-year-old a prominent role as an impeachment manager during Trump's Senate trial when she gained more limelight. While she was on the radar as a possible VP candidate for Biden, the Floyd incident and the riots that followed helped her get more traction. Biden feels the former cop suits the mood in terms of tackling key issues like racism and police reforms even though Demings doesn’t have much of a political experience. However, her involvement in Trump's impeachment process which did not eventually go according to the Democrats' liking, could be one reason that could go against her since the party would not like to revive the issue during the election and help the Republicans' cause.
Keisha Lance Bottoms
The 50-year-old is one of the mayors in America who have come to prominence in the wake of the race riots with her handling of challenging issues like racism, law enforcement and civil unrest. Bottoms has put on a brave face even when sued by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp who accused her of not abiding by his orders and sticking to mask mandates. Bottoms has earned praises not only for managing her official responsibilities effectively but also her personal journey in raising four children in turbulent times. The first-time mayor, who is the daughter of late R&B singer Major Lance, would be an unconventional pick for Biden since she belongs to a state which is traditionally conservative but is turning into a battleground one.
The 55-year-old Susan Rice could be a surprise VP candidate if she ends up as the final choice. The former NSA (2013-17) in the Barack Obama presidency has no experience in holding an elected office and neither is she much known among common Americans. The former diplomat, who served as the assistant secretary of state for African affairs (1997-2001) and the US ambassador to the UN (2009-13) is more well-known to Biden and could be one of his key foreign policy aides. In 2012, Rice came under attack from the Republicans who accused her of misleading the people of the US over the attacks on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that saw the death of the US envoy to that country along with some other Americans.
The 46-year-old Stacey Abrams is not an experienced politician either. She has spent a decade in the Georgia House of Representatives (she was the Minority leader in six of those years). In 2018, she ran against the state’s governor Brian Kemp but lost narrowly and said accused her Republican opponents of suppressing voters. However, Abrams is still popular since her voice resonates strongly with the Democratic base. She has worked tirelessly on voting rights and gave her party's reply to Trump's 2019 State of the Union Address. Abrams is a rising star in the Democratic Party and if she gets picked eventually, it would advance the prospects of all Black women under a probable Biden presidency.
The 66-year-old Karen Bass, a representative from California, is a late entrant in the VP race but she could beat all odds to become the final face. The five-term lawmaker from Los Angeles and former speaker of California State Assembly has progressed so fast in the VP race that even conservative columnist George Will believes that she would be a great pick as Biden's deputy. The daughter of a postal worker, Bass became the first Black woman to lead the California State Assembly or any similar legislative body in the nation. The biggest advantage that lies with Bass is that she is not only leading the Congress’s effort to bring police reforms but even trying to build a unity team featuring supporters of Biden and his former rival Bernie Sanders.