A year ago, long before Basement Brigadier Biden emerged as The Candidate, I asked fellow Democrats if it were possible the top of the 2020 slate would be two white men.
A very large majority answered, sometimes reluctantly, no, it is not possible for race-obsessed Democrats to nominate two white men, not even if one were gay (hello, Mayor Pete).
Joe Biden is supposed to name his vice presidential pick early next week, although it may leak to friendly news outlets (cough, cough, CNN, The New York Times) before then.
When Biden announced he would select a woman to be No. 2, he cut half of humanity from his pool of potentials, but it was not a precedent. For the two major parties, Democrats were first to nominate a woman — Geraldine Ferraro, running with sacrificial lamb Walter Mondale against Ronald Reagan in 1984. The Dems got crushed, as did the Republicans in 2008, when kamikaze pilot John McCain selected Sarah Palin to revive his moribund campaign against Barack Obama. That’s 0 for 2 for female veeps, but it’s wrong to blame them.
It also would be misleading to say the women’s race had anything to do with anything, but I ask my fellow Democrats: Can Biden’s choice be anything other than a Black woman?
My answer is no. And I will tell you which Black woman with my usual mix of astute observation, keen analysis, and inspired guesswork. I am certain, but that doesn’t mean I am right.
Why must it be a Black woman?
First, the last two (failed) female veep nominees were white, so clearly it is time to go in a different direction.
Second, Democrats say that Black women are their most devoted voting bloc. If they believe it, their fealty should be rewarded.
Third, it might boost the enthusiasm factor that Uncle Joe lacks.
So, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren may be popular among party progressives, she will not be the nominee because of her race. In other circumstances making a decision based on race would be racist, but here — the ticket must not be as white as
Uncle Ben’s rice. D stands for Diversity, as well as Democrat. Not that there’s anything “wrong” with that.
It also eliminates Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, Wisconsin U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. All are Wonder Bread white.
The other leading nonwhite contenders are Latina New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, and Illinois U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, whose mother is Thai.
Reluctantly, I believe that nonwhite is a loser.
And that is one of the three torpedoes that will sink California U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, even though her name was on the top of a cheat sheet Biden carried into a news conference.
Her mother is Indian, her father is Jamaican, which makes her a person of color, but not an African-American.
The second torpedo is her service as California’s attorney general. She put Black people in jail. That’s a no-no for Democrats.
Finally, in a presidential debate, Harris basically called Biden a racist because of his long-ago opposition to busing. Do you remember the look on Biden’s face when she slapped him with that?
Republicans would cut that moment into attack commercials that would make Biden look like a Klansman.
Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is eloquent, and she is in a red state, but she lost her last race. Hate to say it, but she is borderline obese and that will weigh against her, pun intended.
Americans don’t go for fat presidents or veeps. From FDR forward, winners have all been slim, although LBJ had a paunch. If you are thinking Donald J. Trump is overweight, that is true, but Hillary Clinton looked like she had a higher BMI.
If Biden hopes to win Georgia, a better pick would be Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who is attractive, and who gained national notice when she lashed out against rioters in her city. Her relative youth (50) is a plus, but her resume is light.
Another very attractive Black woman, Florida U.S. Rep Val Demings, is hampered by a resume — showing she was Orlando’s police chief. Democrats want to defund cops, not elect them.
California U.S. Rep Karen Bass has experience, she heads the Congressional Black Caucus, and has strong progressive cred. At 66, she won’t make Biden look like Grandpa when they are pictured together. And in four years, she would be 70, which we now know is not “too old” to be president as both Biden and Trump are closer to 80 than 70. She could have “it.”
But he will choose former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, who was also ambassador to the U.N. She is youthful at 55, very attractive, and has foreign policy chops that Biden likes. She gets an enthusiastic kiss of approval from Obama, and Biden had a warm relationship with her when he was veep. He invests a lot in personal relationships.
One possible drawback was how Rice got slaughtered when she parroted false talking points on the Sunday morning news shows after Benghazi. But that was a long time ago — and most people blame Hillary, who hid under her desk.
In all other ways, Rice checks all the boxes.
She’s Biden’s logical pick.