Some believe Joe Biden’s Vice President pick will be the most important in United States history—and it’s almost certain a woman will land the spot.
If presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden is elected, he would be both the oldest president and potentially the first intentional one-termer since Rutherford B. Hayes in 1877. This makes his VP pick more important than usual. His running mate could not only become a possible future presidential nominee, but also Biden’s successor in the White House were he unable to finish his term.
The US vice presidency was long considered a political graveyard, derided as “the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived” by its first occupant, John Adams, and even jokingly referred to as a “bitch” of a job by Biden himself in 2014. Starting with Nixon, however, eight of the last 13 vice presidents have gone on to win their party’s nomination for the presidency.
In short, Biden has a key choice to make, and although he has vowed to choose a woman candidate there are any number of opinions as to who it should be. With a decision expected in early August, here are the contenders likely under final consideration:
Senator Kamala Harris
Following this year’s protests over racial injustice and police brutality, pressure has increased on Biden to choose a woman of color. Harris, the daughter of Jamaican and Indian parents and a first-term senator from California, would be perfect. A road-tested former presidential candidate and ex-prosecutor, the high-profile 55-year-old has already been heavily vetted by the media and rival campaigns.
Donald Trump is terrified. He knows he's going to lose to @JoeBiden. It will require every single one of us to make that happen.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) July 30, 2020
Former national security adviser Susan Rice
Also 55, Rice served as President Barack Obama’s national security adviser during his second term, where she worked closely on foreign policy matters with Biden and has also been US ambassador to the UN. A Black woman, Rice could help drive the African-American vote, the Democratic Party’s most loyal constituency. But she has never run for public office, which means she would be untested on the campaign trail.
I'm proud to endorse @JoeBiden for President.
Here he is comforting me on 1/4/17 just after my mother passed away. There is no one kinder, more empathetic and caring than @joebiden. He will lead America with the same deep compassion and decency. pic.twitter.com/4IBscj75VN
— Susan Rice (@AmbassadorRice) March 2, 2020
Representative Val Demings
The 63-year-old African-American congresswoman and former Orlando police chief served as one of the managers of the House of Representatives’ impeachment proceedings against Republican President Donald Trump but has a lower profile among voters nationally. Demings is very much an outsider for now, especially given the current political climate regarding law enforcement.
I am a descendant of slaves, who knew that they would not make it, but dreamed and prayed that one day I would make it.
So despite America's complicated history, my faith is in the Constitution.
I've enforced the laws, and now I write the laws. Nobody is above the law. pic.twitter.com/hzS9BkfOLp
— Rep. Val Demings (@RepValDemings) December 12, 2019
Representative Karen Bass
Bass, a congresswoman from Southern California and chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, would add a progressive voice to the ticket. She has an extensive background in police reform efforts and led the legislative response in the House to the killing of George Floyd by police in May. At 66, however, Bass is the oldest candidate on this list.
This picture is from a month and a half ago when I had to tell Louie Gohmert to put his mask on so that we could finally start our hearing. He did so reluctantly.
Now, 44 days later, he's tested positive for COVID-19.
Listen to current (and former) health professionals. pic.twitter.com/zeSPGwnfEV
— Congressmember Bass (@RepKarenBass) July 29, 2020
Senator Tammy Duckworth
With a compelling personal story as a combat veteran who lost her legs during the Iraq War, Duckworth, 52, would help bolster the campaign’s national security credentials. The senator from Illinois was the first woman with a disability and the first Thai-American elected to Congress.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
Bottoms, 50, is the first-term mayor of a city that has been on the front lines of the country’s two greatest challenges this year: the coronavirus pandemic and the protests for racial justice in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. Nevertheless, some feel her lack of experience at the federal level may cost her the opportunity.
— Keisha Lance Bottoms (@KeishaBottoms) July 22, 2020
Senator Elizabeth Warren
The 71-year-old senator from Massachusetts is seen by Biden advisers as a bridge between the former vice president and people skeptical of his commitment to progressive policy priorities. Her selection, however, could fuel allegations by the Trump campaign that Biden favors an overly leftist agenda and cost him voters in key battleground states.
Person to person. Dollar by dollar. That’s how we’re going to win in November—and why I’m joining @JoeBiden on Friday for a grassroots fundraiser as we head to one of the most critical elections. Pitch in $5, or whatever you can, and I hope you’ll join us: https://t.co/T5VKadMhe0
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) July 28, 2020
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham
Lujan Grisham, 60, became the first Latina Democratic governor in 2018, following a six year spell in Congress. Biden’s campaign has been encouraged to consider a running mate who could boost his support among Latino voters, potentially the largest minority voting bloc in this year’s election.
My administration is supporting workers whose employers demonstrate a blatant disregard for the safety of their staff, their customers, and their community.
It is unacceptable to be maintaining an unsafe workplace amid the ongoing pandemic.https://t.co/gC79rKzvzD
— Michelle Lujan Grisham (@GovMLG) July 29, 2020