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Podcast | Race to the White House: Joe Biden's Vice President picks

V Nivedita | Updated on June 20, 2020 Published on June 19, 2020

In March, Joe Biden promised to pick a woman as his Vice President, if he won the Democratic party’s nomination

That was Amy Klobuchar removing her name from the list of probable VP picks for Joe Biden, and that’s our focus in this episode of the Race to the White House.

In March, Joe Biden promised to pick a woman as his Vice President, if he won the Democratic party’s nomination. In the past few weeks, there has been a lot of speculation about Biden’s potential running mate.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, was once leading the race to become the VP choice, but the death of George Floyd changed that when it was recently revealed that she let over a dozen police officers evade prosecution in fatal shootings, during her tenure as a prosecutor from 1999 – 2007. One such officer was Derek Chauvin, who is charged with killing Floyd.

On Thursday, she withdrew herself from the list of probable candidates. Before we talk about the impact of the move, have a look at the top contenders.

The first one on the list is Kamala Harris. Harris is a senator from California and was the Attorney General of California from 2011 to 2017. The plus side is that she knows administration, and she has a winning track record – she won the election to the Attorney General office twice. We already know she can answer questions related to national issues -- she has done this on the campaign trail across the nation.

That’s where her greatest pitfall is though – during the presidential campaign, she took on Biden and his policies and attacked him on his criminal justice work.  

But, her “tough on crime” record was very problematic as she put people in prisons for a long time, without addressing the real causes of crimes, according to critics.

Elizabeth Warren is progressive, a plus, as Biden really needs to unite his party. The Senator is popular nationally and is known to be a good administrator. She worked with the Obama administration and has extensive knowledge in banking and finance. Another big plus is that she has a proven track record of raising a lot of money for the party and the campaign.

One major problem is that she is seen as too progressive by Biden’s Wall Street supporters as her election plank is to raise taxes and fund social security programmes. Another problem is her age, she will turn 71 this month, so she is not exactly the next gen powerhouse candidate.

Even though all these contenders have various skills that would benefit the Biden campaign, they all have one flaw. All of them did not do well in the primaries. Harris dropped out before the primaries began. Warren performed very poorly in the primaries and finished third in her own state.

Then, there is Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Whitmer has experience in governance and she is just 48 years old. She is a Washington outsider, another plus point. Most importantly, she is popular in her home state, which is a key battleground state in the presidential election. The only area of concern is that she is not well known outside her state.

Amy’s comment on Thursday could potentially stop Biden from Whitmer or Warren, who are both white. It could help get in new faces like Florida Representative Val Demings, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, both of whom are black, along with New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who is a Latina.

Val Demings was a former chief of the Orlando Police Department before she became a politician. Now, she is spearheading the Dems’ move to reform the police force. Keisha Lance Bottoms is like the new face. She is just a Mayor and has risen to prominence due to her response to the #BlackLivesMatter protests.

Michelle Lujan Grisham is the 32nd governor of New Mexico. Previously, she has represented the State in the Congress and she became the first Democratic woman elected governor of New Mexico and the first Democratic Latina elected as a state’s chief executive in the history of the US.

A disclaimer though: we don’t really know who will actually know his pick will be, all we know is he is expected to announce his decision by August. Whenever the announcement is made, I’ll get you all the details, so watch this space for more!

Published on June 19, 2020