WASHINGTON – The week Joe Biden will announce his running mate has finally arrived.
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Susan Rice, former national security adviser to President Barack Obama, have emerged as the top contenders. Either one would make history as the first Black woman to be a running mate.
Biden, who has made it clear earlier he’ll choose a woman as his running mate, is also considering Rep. Karen Bass of California, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Rep. Val Demings of Florida, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois.
Political experts often debate the extent to which a vice presidential nominee can have an impact on the ticket but the stakes are especially high for Biden, who is 77. If he wins, he would be 78 by Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, 2021, making him the oldest president in U.S. history. Because of that, voters may look more carefully at a potential successor.
Biden is also facing increased pressure to select a Black woman as his running mate. On Monday, more than 100 Black male leaders, including political activists, athletes and celebrities, such as rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs, signed an open letter saying Biden would alienate the Democrats’ most loyal voting bloc if he decides against choosing a Black woman.
“Failing to select a Black woman in 2020 means you will lose the election,” the letter said.
POLITICO reported last month that Chris Dodd, a member of Biden’s vice presidential selection committee, criticized Harris for showing “no remorse” over her clash with the former vice president at the first Democratic debate over his civil rights record.
“So, Black women are the only ones required to stay in their place and to show remorse for even questioning their own oppression?” the letter said.
Niambi Carter, an associate professor of political science at Howard University, said Biden needs to find someone who excites the younger and more progressive wings of the Democratic Party concerned the presumptive nominee is too moderate.
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Source: USA Today