Nearly lost amid the ongoing public health crisis brought on by the new coronavirus is the fact that, for all intents and purposes, former Vice President Joe Biden has become the presumptive nominee for the Democratic Party in the November general election.
It appears that Biden has assumed that mantle and will soon proceed with the process of choosing a running mate — a decision about which he has reportedly consulted with his former boss, President Barack Obama, according to the New York Post.
Biden prepares to select running mate
Biden held a conference call with top campaign donors on Sunday to give them a breakdown on where he currently stood in terms of his run for the White House, and one of the main topics discussed was his search for a running mate.
That search will reportedly begin “in a matter of weeks” and will include “in excess of six or seven people” that he and his team will be closely vetting “relatively soon.”
Politico reported that Biden didn’t name any names of potential vice presidential picks during the call, but there have been some hints about who may be in the running. All prospective candidates will almost certainly be women, given Biden’s repeated vow during debates and on the campaign trail to select a woman as his VP.
Likely near the top of the list are the three women senators he defeated in the primaries — Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Another possibility is former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, a hero to the anti-Trump left, who was also on the donor call and of whom Biden spoke warmly.
“I think there are plenty of women who are ready, been tested out there who are capable of answering all those questions,” he said, alluding to the vetting process.
As for Biden’s discussion with Obama about his potential choice in a running mate, that conversation reportedly boiled down to two major things — that a candidate must feel “comfortable” and aligned with Biden’s policies and must also be “prepared” to take over as president in case anything happened to him during his term in office.
Biden noted that he and Obama “agreed substantively” on the major issues even if they disagreed on tactics, and said, “So it’s going to be important that whomever I pick is completely comfortable with my policy prescriptions as to how we move forward. Doesn’t mean I don’t want, as Barack asked for, someone questioning me, challenging me, I do want that.”
“The most important thing, and I’ve actually talked to Barack about this — the most important thing is that there has to be someone who, the day after they’re picked, is prepared to be president of the United States of America if something happened,” he said, according to Politico.
Moot point, anyhow?
It obviously remains to be seen not just who Biden chooses to be his running mate, but also whether he even receives the party’s nomination in the first place, as his chief rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) still hasn’t dropped out of the race and there are lingering and unavoidable questions about Biden’s age, health, and mental faculties that Democrats will have to consider.
Unfortunately for Biden, all of that may end up being a moot point, as President Donald Trump’s approval ratings have soared instead of dipped during the coronavirus crisis and, assuming the nation weathers the storm and the economy bounces back over the summer, the president will be a formidable, perhaps insurmountable opponent in the race for the White House.