VP news is perhaps the only interesting thing left in the Biden campaign right now. While the former vice president convincingly defeated his rivals in the primaries, he still faces an excitement problem. The VP pick Biden eventually chooses may revitalize his campaign and give his presidential bid a jolt of life.
However, this is not why the running mate Biden chooses is important. Usually, VP picks are more of a marketing gimmick. Obama chose Biden in 2008, but it didn’t matter who he chose because he himself was a brilliant candidate. Trump chose Pence, the governor of Indiana not many in the country had ever heard about.
With Biden, the choice of VP has more to do with who leads the party once Biden leaves the stage. The Democratic Party’s future, and by extension the future of the country, could change in the next few days when Biden announces his VP.
Why is the running mate Biden eventually chooses so important?
Biden May Leave after One Term, Leaving the Party’s Leadership to his VP
Biden has not ruled out the possibility of becoming a one-term president. Considering his age, Biden is right to not rule out this possibility. Biden was around during Reagan’s presidency and would have seen how the Republican’s health became a problem for the executive branch. Biden may not want to go through what Regan had to.
If Biden were to win and leave after his first term, he would leave the leadership to this VP.
If you doubt this would happen, take Biden’s victory in the primaries as an example. Why did Biden win the primaries? After all, Biden ran for president many times before. What did he do this time that clicked?
The only reason Biden is the nominee is that he was Obama’s VP for eight years. Similarly, Al Gore was the Democratic nominee in 2000 because he was Clinton’s VP for eight years. The Democratic Party’s leadership tends to pass on from VP to VP.
The running mate Biden chooses next will probably run for president in 2024. If Biden’s presidency is somewhat decent, his VP could stand a good chance to win the primaries in 2024 and win another term until 2028.
While choosing a VP may usually be a marketing gimmick, this is not the case for Biden. His VP pick could end up becoming the leader of the Democratic Party in the future.
Who Has the Best Chance at Becoming Biden’s Running Mate?
During the primaries, Biden promised his VP would be a woman. He knew the Democratic base would lap up the promise. Some rumours connected Michelle Obama to his ticket, but the former First Lady is not yet ready to enter the political stage again.
Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, and Elizabeth Warren are the frontrunners to become Biden’s VP at the moment.
While Warren may help placate the progressive vote for Biden, the former vice president might feel she is a risk to his moderate base. Warren’s chances to become Biden’s VP are also improbable because she’ll have to vacate her Senate seat from Massachusetts. Biden could pass over Warren for his VP pick as her candidacy could guarantee a Republican-controlled Senate in January 2021.
Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar both stand a good chance. Amy Klobuchar showed fight in her presidential campaign. Despite polling poorly in the lead-up to the primaries, she performed better than most expected. Her endorsement of Biden before Super Tuesday was vital in his path to the nomination.
Harris also has the credentials establishment Democrats crave. She is a woman of colour, a tough critic of Trump, and a status quo politician. There is a very good chance Biden will choose one amongst Harris and Klobuchar for VP.
While Stacey Abrams was earlier a good shot as well, but her desperation to be on the ticket could put off Biden.
The Progressive Take
Democrats are telling progressives to swallow the bitter pill and vote for Biden this time. However, a vote for Biden could end up becoming a vote for Harris or Klobuchar 2024. The Democratic establishment could settle the question of the party’s leadership for the next ten years in choosing a VP for Biden.
Since Sanders is not likely to run again and no other progressive looks ready to challenge Democrats in 2024, it is highly likely we will see moderates running the party for years to come.
Once again, the chance of a progressive making it to the ticket is getting snuffed out. What can progressives do? The only power voters have is showing parties they are capable of not voting for them. Progressives will only be valued in the Democratic Party if they show they are ready to not vote for any blue dog Democrat.
(Image Credit – Wikimedia Commons)