The Stew Reporting on government and politics

Exploring Biden’s VP list

Politics | The Democratic presidential candidate has a full slate of options
by Harvest Prude
Posted 7/30/20, 04:44 pm

At a news conference on Tuesday, a photographer captured a shot of former Vice President Joe Biden holding a piece of paper with handwritten notes about Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. “Do not hold grudges,” “Great help to the campaign,” and “Great respect for her,” the notes read, raising speculation the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee plans to pick her as his running mate.

While Biden has not committed to serving only one term as president if elected, advisers have raised doubts that he would seek the nomination again in 2024, the year he turns 82. This has raised the stakes even more for a potential VP who might become his heir apparent. Biden said on Tuesday he will settle on a running mate by next week. The Democratic National Convention begins on Aug. 17.

His speculative list remains long, but a few names have risen to the top.

Harris, the apparent front-runner, has more federal political experience than any other African American woman on the short list. The 55-year-old former California attorney general joined the U.S. Senate in 2017 and had a good relationship with Biden’s son Joseph “Beau” Biden before the former Delaware attorney general’s death in 2015 from brain cancer. Beau Biden supported Harris when she pushed for a multistate investigation into banks in the middle of the housing crisis in 2011.

In a June 2019 debate, Harris attacked Biden for working with segregationist senators while in Congress and for opposing busing as a way to integrate schools. But once her own presidential campaign failed to gather steam, she dropped out of the race, endorsed Biden, and campaigned for him.

Harris supports pro-abortion measures such as repealing the Hyde Amendment. In May, pro-life activist David Daleiden sued Harris and Planned Parenthood, alleging that she as California’s attorney general conspired with the abortion giant to prosecute him after he released undercover videos of Planned Parenthood executives illegally negotiating prices for aborted baby body parts.

Harris has said she supports the “freedom to worship” but not the free exercise of religion that would allow Christian principles to inform hiring and firing decisions in the workplace.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., amassed considerable support along the far-left of the Democratic spectrum in the early presidential primaries. After she dropped out of the race following a disappointing showing on Super Tuesday, Warren helped Biden raise campaign funds. He reportedly considered her as a running mate when he explored a presidential run in 2016.

In recent days, Biden has adopted plans with Warren’s stamp of approval on student loan debts, bankruptcy, and Social Security policy.

Choosing Warren would please the progressive wing of the Democratic base. As a 71-year-old white woman, Warren does not meet the recent pressure for Biden to pick a woman of color or someone of a different generation. Her progressive credentials could alienate moderate voters, among whom Biden is currently polling well. She has endorsed the implementation of a wealth tax to pay for “Medicare for All” and said Congress should pass a law to guarantee the right to an abortion.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., became a top contender more recently. The 52-year-old is Asian American, the mother of two young children, and a Purple Heart recipient who lost both legs as a helicopter pilot in the Iraq War. She served as assistant secretary of Veterans Affairs in the Obama administration and then two terms in the U.S. House.

Duckworth’s combat experience and her hailing from a Midwestern state could help Biden in the heartland. But outside of Illinois, she has low name recognition—something the vice presidential candidate needs in this campaign. Ryan Burge, an assistant professor of political science at Eastern Illinois University, noted that because the coronavirus pandemic has canceled the usual in-person campaign stops, “this VP will be much less visible than any VP candidate we’ve had in my lifetime.”

Duckworth has also stood against pro-life policies in the Senate, including the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.

Former national security adviser Susan Rice boasts something the other candidates do not: considerable experience working directly with Biden. She also served in the Obama administration as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and worked on the pandemic response team, something that could come in handy as the United States continues to deal with COVID-19.

Rice, 55, is African American, relatively young, and more moderate. She has never run for political office, so her positions on domestic issues remain relatively unknown.

Rice also may present an easy target for Republicans: After the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, she said in five Sunday talk show appearances that a protest against an American-made video sparked the incident, not a pre-planned act of terrorism. Her assessment ultimately proved incorrect. At the time, Republicans said her comments misled the public.

Other Democrats who are still alive in the Biden veepstakes include Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Reps. Karen Bass of California and Val Demings of Florida, former Georgia gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.


Read more of The Stew Sign up for The Stew email
Harvest Prude

Harvest is a political reporter for WORLD's Washington Bureau. She is a World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College graduate. Harvest resides in Washington, D.C. Follow her on Twitter @HarvestPrude.

Read more from this writer

Comments

You must be a WORLD Member and logged in to the website to comment.
  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Sun, 08/02/2020 10:51 pm

    All of these radicals are strongly against the Christian cause and it will hurt this nation greatly if Biden becomes President. Voting for third party candidates is essentially a vote for Biden. Christians are wise to vote for Trump for a second term. If we don't we may well see this country destroyed where the Christian influence will no longer be felt in politics and the PC goons will attack the church.

    Our focus should be on a revival in America, where we should pray and fast for one. We need to bring the gospel to the youth and others. Our lives need to be changed and we should focus on holy living. If we repent and turn to God, He will heal our land and turn to us with favor.

  • Spock
    Posted: Tue, 08/04/2020 01:29 pm

    I must respectfully disagree with the idea that "voting for third party candidates is essentially a vote for Biden."  We've been hearing this tired and fallacious argument for years.  We keeping voting for the "lesser of two evils" while both parties have completely abandoned the U.S. Constitution, fiscal responsibility, and limited government, let alone any semblance of Biblical morality.  We would be wise to remember Paul's appeal that we not "do evil that good may result" (Rom 3:8).

    The Republican party seems to be beyond redemption (can't put new wine in old wineskins), so it's time to move on to other parties.  None are perfect, but the Constitution Party may be worth considering.  Replacing the current two-party duopoly with meaningful alternatives is a long-term task.  It will take many election cycles and many defeats before attaining critical mass, but we'll never get there if we keep doing the same thing we've been doing, which is holding our noses while we vote for Republicans who don't have our best interests in mind. 

    All that said, I totally agree with your second paragraph.  :)

  • HANNAH.
    Posted: Wed, 08/05/2020 04:12 pm

    In 2016, I attended a political caucus and voted in the primary. The person that I thought was best suited for President of the United States did not win the nomination for the party's candidate. At first, it seemed that my choices were two: (1) vote for "the lesser of two evils" or (2) "despise my birthright" (as a citizen) by not voting -- and thus giving up any right to complain about the outcome.

    Then I discovered a third choice: other political parties. I looked into the various "third parties" -- including the Constitution Party -- and their candidates. Some were on the ballot in my state; some were not. I voted for the person that I thought was best suited for President of the United States, and I prayed that God would help me to accept the outcome. He did.

ADVERTISEMENT