By: Nathaniel Ballantyne
Usually, no one really cares about who the candidate picks for Vice President. When John McCain picked Sarah Palin for Vice President in 2008, the media had a field day with her and treated her very badly. McCain’s loss to Obama could hardly be attributed to his choice of Palin. He could have picked God and still loses.
But this time, things are different for many reasons. Though a VP pick rarely sways the election, Biden’s choice of a vice-presidential candidate could be the deciding factor on whether he wins or loses to Trump. Biden, who is 77, has not committed to running for a second term if he wins. Whoever he picks will be the standard-bearer and nominee for the Democratic Party in 2024 with the ability to shape national politics for the next decade.
Biden has already promised the nation that he will pick a woman, and several women of color are under consideration including Sen. Kamala Harris, National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Rep. Karen Bass of California, and Rep. Val Jemmings of Florida. This past weekend Biden had a long meeting with another vice-presidential contender, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, which led to speculation that the VP will not be a black woman.
Black voters, in general, and black women in particular, have been the most loyal Democratic voters. Black voters expect the VP pick to be a black woman. If Biden chooses a white woman, black voters may feel slighted and stay home. There are many well-qualified black women who are ready to be president on day one. By-passing the chance to really make history by choosing a black woman could send the wrong signal to black voters, guaranteeing Donald Trump re-election.
The choice of a black woman will energize the Democratic Party the same way that an Obama candidacy brought out black voters en mass in 2008 and 2012. In 2016 black voters stayed home, and Donald Trump won. The best way to beat Trump is to give black voters a good reason to vote, a woman of color as Biden running mate will do just that.