“So, people are talking about revolution. What a revolution it would be to have a woman president.” – Madeleine Albright
Well, here we go again. Given the deteriorating economy, the Democratic Party should be a sure winner in November. There’s even a slight possibility they could pick up North Carolina, a possible swing state. But they may still be intent on pulling defeat from the jaws of victory.
This time, it’s the internal battle over who to pick as Biden’s female vice president. Progressives want someone to the left, like Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Moderates want a more traditional pick like Sen. Amy Klobuchar. But there’s no clear consensus candidate. And, at least at this point, neither side wants to compromise.
The choice is critical, more so than most voters realize. At Biden’s age, he could become ill or die at any point in the next four years, giving us our first female president.
Here are a few of the main people being considered:
Stacey Abrams — She’s the former Minority leader in the Georgia House and a strong, black woman. She would have been elected governor if not for then secretary of state Brian Kemp dumping 500,000 people, many black, off the voter’s lists. Her record (as well as my personal experience with her regarding health reform) shows her to be a hard-fighting pragmatic moderate.
Kamala Harris — She’s a U.S. senator from California and was their attorney general. Her heritage is Jamaican/Indian. Although she supports single-payer and legalization of marijuana, some progressives have criticized her for her hard stances on criminals when she was AG. During the primaries, she brutally attacked Biden for not supporting busing. Although effective, critics pointed out at the time that she was a child of privilege.
Elizabeth Warren — The U.S. senator from Massachusetts, Warren is a progressive known for her leadership during the 2008 financial crisis and for having a detailed plan for every one of her progressive proposals. Her political positions are almost identical to that of Vermont Sen. and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, although the far left of the party has criticized her for being a Republican up until 1996.
Amy Klobuchar — A Minnesota senator, she is an outspoken, tough moderate who supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primaries. Her political positions are closely aligned with those of Biden. Able to work with the GOP, she has been particularly effective in passing bi-partisan legislation.
Obviously, all of the above have pros and cons. Abrams, a skilled grass roots politician, can bring out the black vote, one key to the election. And, she would be helpful in Georgia and North Carolina, but not as much in other swing states. On the other hand, she has no experience at the national level.
Harris should also be able to bring out the minority vote and is an articulate speaker. However, being a progressive from California is not a positive regarding harder to win swing states like North Carolina.
Warren could possibly firm up support from the left wing of the party. As it stands, a substantial proportion of Sanders backers either intend to stay home or vote for Trump. However, a Massachusetts progressive will not help with swing states in general, including North Carolina.
Klobuchar is a fighter with a strong personality. She would not be afraid to go after Trump directly. Being from the Midwest, she would be helpful in essential rust belt states won by Trump in 2016.
So, there you have it. The Democrats have a tough choice ahead of them. Will the Democrats self-destruct yet again over the VP nomination? Or some other issue before November?
As Will Rogers once said: “The difference between a Republican and a Democrat is the Democrat is a cannibal. They have to live off each other. While the Republicans, why, they live off the Democrats.”
Jack Bernard is the former director of Health Planning for Georgia and a retired high-level executive with a healthcare corporation. He was one of the founders of Premier, Inc. in Charlotte. He is a widely published health reform columnist.