Although an evolving list of top candidates has been circulating in the press for weeks, it appears presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is still not ready to announce his running mate.
During a press conference this week, the former vice president told reporters that he could miss an initial timeline that included an announcement by Aug. 1, Breitbart reported.
The ongoing protests and civil unrest resulting from the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier this year appear to have taken a toll on Biden’s selection process.
Leading candidates falter
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) dropped out of the running in favor of a “woman of color,” but not before her chances had been potentially damaged by her prior record as a prosecutor and a perceived reluctance to prosecute officers accused of wrongdoing.
A similar narrative has emerged against Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a top contender seeking to distance her current stance from a record as a tough prosecutor in California.
Arguments along the same lines can be made about Rep. Val Demings (D-FL), who surfaced as a prominent competitor for the VP slot, but who is also the former police chief in Orlando, Florida.
While Demings and Harris are still very much in the running, Biden’s postponement might suggest his campaign is willing to look for a candidate with more credibility among those voters aligned with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Biden faces backlash
Biden has already asserted that he is not on board with the demands of some activists who want to defund or dismantle local law enforcement agencies.
Instead, he said he favors a reform plan that would include “conditioning federal aid to police based on whether or not they meet certain basic standards of decency and honorableness,” as BuzzFeed News notes.
The national press secretary for Biden’s campaign, however, put out a statement stressing the candidate’s empathy for Black Americans.
“He believes we need to reform, train, and invest in the policing programs we know work to help protect and serve all communities,” Jamal Brown said, according to BuzzFeed. “At the same time, he knows we need to invest in funding for schools, summer programs, homelessness services, and mental health and substance abuse treatment.”
In addition to criticism among some voters that he is too moderate, Biden faces potential pitfalls on a number of other fronts. If he botches the important rollout of his running mate, it could be another self-imposed injury to his candidacy.