This article was published on June 28th, 2020
In the last Democratic primary debate in March, former Senator Joe Biden pledged to select a woman as his running mate if he clinched the party’s nomination. Since that time, not only has he clinched the nomination, but several potential Vice Presidential picks have made the headlines as possibly joining the ticket and making history. With Biden set to announce his running mate by the first half of August , HomoCulture breaks down the serious contenders that are primed to become the first female Vice President in the history of the United States.
The Field Has Widened, Narrowed, and Widened Again
Before Biden made any formal announcements concerning his Vice Presidential running mate, there were already many names that were thrown around that could potentially join him and add some much needed excitement to his campaign. The usual suspects have been at the top of the list for months: Senator Kamala Harris o California, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Georgia politician Stacey Abrams. The last few months, however, have caused a major shakeup in the contenders, due in large part to the Black Lives Matter movement, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the current financial status of the country. Biden has been privately vetting women to add to this campaign and now that Klobuchar has taken herself out of contention, a new short list has emerged and includes the following women: Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Congresswoman Val Demings of Florida, Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and former National Security Advisor Susan Rice. In news that sent minor shockwaves through the party, Klobuchar not only took herself out of contention, but did so with the notion that Biden should select a black woman as his running mate for November.
The pressure is building for Biden to select a black woman.
Black women have been the backbone of the Democratic party for generations, and with their power gaining momentum every year, Biden is being called on to not only unite the party, but to finally acknowledge the contributions of black women in securing his nomination. One of the advantages to selecting a black candidate is increasing voter turnout in November and adding spark to Biden’s campaign. The current contenders may all be black women, but that is where the similarities end. HomoCulture break down the top contenders for the ticket.
The Frontrunner: Kamala Harris
Her resume is already the stuff of legend and many insiders consider her one of the biggest stars of the Democratic party. Harris has been a fixture in California politics for two decades across several roles – district attorney in San Francisco, attorney general, and currently the U.S. Senate. Already popular in her own state, Harris’ diverse background (Indian mother, Jamaican father) is seen by many as just what the party needs to set an example of inclusivity by putting women at the forefront and the future of the Democratic party. She is respected by politicians within both parties, knows how to fundraise with the best of them, is the most qualified (at least on paper) for the position and still remains nearly a year later one of the best bets to be at Biden’s side come November.
The Congresswoman That Can: Val Demings
No one knew who she was a few months ago, but after being appointed by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as one of the impeachment managers during Donald Trump’s Senate trial, Val Demingsdramatically elevated her national profile with her charisma and grace under fire. After the death of George Floyd by policeman, Demings’ previous position in Orlando, Florida as chief of police makes her a top contender as Biden’s vice presidential pick and she is now considered in the top tier to be selected as confronting racism and instituting police reform have become top issues for the country that no longer can be ignored.
The Clean Up Woman: Stacey Abrams
It is rare in politics that a loss is bigger than a win, but for Stacey Abrams, losing the 2018 race for Georgia governor has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Formerly a member of Georgia’s House of Representatives, she has gained nationwide attention by forging a plan to minimize voter fraud and uphold fair voting practices. The media has a love affair with her candor, wit, captivating energy, and stoic personality – all attributes that would add to a Biden ticket. Abrams is the type of Democrat that the party needs – progressive, bold, and a fighter for change. Since giving the Democratic response to Donald Trump at the State of the Union address in 2019, she has cemented herself as someone that the country needs in these trying times and for the sake of the future. Her voice resonates wherever she is, and if not the Vice Presidential pick, she could be useful in other areas of a Biden office, with some also considering her a potential nominee for the Supreme Court.
The Insider Outsider: Susan Rice
In the last few months, her name has crept up the list of potential VP picks, and Susan Rice already has an impressive resume that makes her a serious contender thanks to her status as an Obama confidante and National Security Advisor. Her experience on foreign policy is considerable and she is known for being a tough yet fair diplomat that can engage anyone on anything. Although she doesn’t quite have household name recognition, Rice’s charisma makes her a great choice that would be ready and capable of serving in the White House from day one.
The Constant Contender: Elizabeth Warren
Once a frontrunner in the field that was packed with top-tier talent, Warren’s concession speech was the end of what almost could have been. The woman that is known for having a plan for everything has the respect of her party, the fear of Republicans, and the political capital that allows her to wield her wares with confidence. As a progressive Democrat that has vowed to transform the party, she is a favorite of younger voters and would appease those that are not a fan of Biden’s more centrist views. Also, she is a huge hit with black voters that have seen her fight for their causes and many minorities prefer her even over potential black VP picks. If the Democrats wants to truly unite both wings of the party, Warren serves as the best bet to face the economic crisis directly and lend considerable force to a Democratic ticket in need of a jolt.
The pick for Vice President has always been one that comes with its own unique challenges and there have been many surprises (Sarah Palin joining the John McCain ticket comes to mind), over the years. What we already know for certain in 2020, however, is that history will be made as a woman will be running alongside Joe Biden in what looks to be a pivotal election in American history.