I’m Jennifer Rubin, and this is Round 55. We know we’ve reached a tipping point in the presidential primary when the only real question is whom the leader will pick for his VP.
Former vice president Joe Biden said it himself at his campaign rally in Detroit on Monday night before his decisive Super Tuesday 2 victories. With Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.), Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer standing behind him, he told the crowd, “Look, I view myself as a bridge, not as anything else. There’s an entire generation of leaders you saw stand behind me. They are the future of this country.”
This was a remarkably self-effacing comment for a candidate surging toward the nomination. His comment suggests the 77-year-old understands the importance of the VP pick, not only to reassure voters the country would be in good hands if something happened to him but also to signal that the party is looking forward, not to the past.
Biden has sought to portray his base and the Democratic Party as a diverse coalition united by pragmatic progressivism. Given the critical role of suburban women in the 2018 House victories and in his own primary wins, it stands to reason Biden would benefit from selecting a center-left woman with significant governing experience, ideally someone who could spread the party’s appeal to the Sun Belt and the South. Fortunately, there is no shortage of such women, including Harris, New Mexico Governor and Congress vet Michelle Lujan Grisham, and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, who also served as her state’s attorney general.
If Biden is looking simply to nail down swing states lost or nearly lost in 2016, he could go with Whitmer, Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire (also a former governor) or Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.).
And despite the favorable buzz, it would be a high-risk proposition to select Stacey Abrams, who has not campaigned on the national stage and who lost the governor’s race in Georgia.
Seeing Biden as a bridge to a new generation gives extra weight to his veep choice. The good news for Democrats is that he has a plethora of capable choices and time to get to know them.
— Jennifer Rubin
Don’t forget to click on the chart’s yellow highlighted text to see the rest of the Ranking Committee’s annotations.
|1. (TIE)||Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.)|
|1. (TIE)||Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.)|
|4.||Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (N.M.)|
|5.||Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (Mich.)|
|6.||Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.)|
|7.||Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.)|
|8.||Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.)|
|9.||Sen. Tammy Duckworth (Ill.)|
|10. (TIE)||Sen. Tammy Baldwin (Wis.)|
|10. (TIE)||Sen. Maggie Hassan (N.H.)|
Also receiving votes: Gov. Gina Raimondo (R.I.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Michelle Obama
Last week’s ranking: Round 54 | The race seems clear now. But the Death Star is bearing down.
From the Annotations
Someone who dropped out early and ended up on the ticket? Sounds like Biden himself in ’08.
Karen Tumulty, on Kamala D. Harris
If Biden seems a bit shaky at times, Klobuchar radiates Midwestern solidity. Plus, she threw her support behind him as early and forcefully as she could. And, don’t know if you’ve heard, he could really do with a woman on the ticket.
Christine Emba, on Amy Klobuchar
Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments. We’ll see you for the next ranking. Until then, seriously, please wash your hands, distance yourself socially to the extent you can, and know how to be prepared for the coronavirus.
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