Millions of American voters wait anxiously — nay, desperately, inconsolably — for Joe Biden to finally, finally, name his running mate.

Naaah, not really.

It’s Round 68, and I’m Eugene Robinson. Welcome to our final veepstakes check-in.

The Commentary

It is indeed true that dozens, perhaps even scores, of political writers, pundits and Republican oppo researchers are impatient for Biden to announce his choice. Everyone else understands that the decision just has to be made before the Democratic convention — or the socially distanced infomercial that will have to pass for one. But since this pick is the most consequential one Biden will make during the campaign, I think most people are willing to give him the time he needs.

The smart money — which, by its recent record, isn’t very smart at all — says the two top contenders are Sen. Kamala D. Harris, who “ticks all the boxes,” and Susan Rice, with whom Biden is most comfortable. Harris has been attacked for her ambition and Rice for her bluntness in ways no man would ever be slimed. In fact, we admire male politicians who are “really going places” and “tell it like it is.” If anyone out there doubts that sexism still infests our society, just pay attention to how the women on Biden’s list of candidates are being talked about.

Some of those doing the talking — party warhorses who have been close to Biden for decades — should please be so kind as to shut up. And Biden, as he seeks counsel, should please listen also to younger, more diverse, more progressive voices in the party.

In the end, the decision is Biden’s alone. Very hesitantly, I’m going with the smart money this time. I think Harris might be the better candidate, because of her campaign experience and her prosecutorial chops; I think Rice might be the better vice president, because of her White House years as national security adviser and her close friendship with Biden.

Either will be demonized by the Trump campaign and his media ecosystem. Literally any human being Biden picks will be. But the campaign’s mission will remain as it always has been: make the election a referendum on Trump’s abysmal, intolerable performance, especially on the pandemic. And when Trump goes into one of his spasms of self-destruction, don’t interrupt him.

— Eugene Robinson

The Ranking

Don’t forget to click on the chart’s yellow highlighted text to see the rest of the Ranking Committee’s annotations.

Position
Potential VP
Change Over May 22 VP Ranking
1.
Kamala D. Harris
2.
Susan Rice
ADDS TO RANKING
3.
Elizabeth Warren
4.
Karen Bass
ADDS TO RANKING
5.
Val Demings
UP 1
6.
Tammy Duckworth
DOWN 1

Falls off ranking: Amy Klobuchar, Gretchen Whitmer, Stacey Abrams, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Tammy Baldwin, Gina Raimondo

Also receiving votes: Lujan Grisham, Whitmer, Abrams, Baldwin, Raimondo

From the Annotations

Fair or not, a basic rule of politics is: If you’re explaining, you’re losing. If you’re explaining that you’re not a communist, you’re really losing.
Charles Lane, on Karen Bass
She seems like the frontrunner. But Biden’s delays in choosing do make you wonder if something new has emerged that put previous certainties under doubt.
Christine Emba, on Kamala D. Harris

Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments. We’ll see you for the next ranking. By that time, we’ll have a veep nominee in hand — unless Biden wants one more round of counsel from the Power Ranking.

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