Evaluating Biden’s running mate options


Courtesy of Senate.gov

U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada.

Josh Brown, Sports Editor

The presumptive next step for Biden is choosing a running mate, which will be even more important given his age. If Biden gets elected and chooses to stay for only one term, he would likely throw his support behind his running mate, adding the stakes to his pick. He has already announced he is choosing a woman to be his running mate, which has narrowed the field of candidates but only increased speculation. Three popular names that have been thrown around are Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California), who also ran for president, former Georgia House minority leader Stacey Abrams. 

First, Warren is considered by many to be a very polarizing candidate through her actions and political stances, and has received strong backlash from Republicans and President Trump on multiple occasions, making her less appealing to some moderates. Also, her constant flip-flopping on issues such as Medicare-for-all throughout her own presidential bid irked even some far-left Sanders supporters, meaning that they would potentially not put their full-fledged support around a Biden-Warren Democratic ticket. 

Next, Abrams has been basically running a campaign for herself to be on the ticket, promoting herself as a strong running mate with Biden, and her key issue is voting rights, which will be especially important this cycle, as the pandemic could disrupt in-person voting in some places. Biden has already shown he can get support among African-Americans, so Abrams, who is African-American, would not help him win more votes among that demographic. Georgia is also typically a Republican state, and I do not believe Abrams being Biden’s running mate would allow them to win the peach state. 

Harris, on the other hand, is known to have a connection with Biden, as both she and Biden’s late son Beau both served as state attorney generals at the same time. The main differentiator I see between Harris and Abrams is experience, and I think Harris can easily run in Biden’s place in 2024 given her legal experience as well as knowing the “ins and outs” of Congress. However, coming from such a safe blue state may not help her chances of becoming the vice presidential nominee.

Yet there is one candidate I see as the perfect running mate for Biden: Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada). First, Cortez Masto hails from Nevada, a key swing state, and her popularity there could bring an added boost to the party if she is on the ticket. Second, she was the first ever Latina U.S. Senator and could help Biden rally support from Latinx voters, who overwhelmingly supported Sanders in the Democratic Primary. Her policies are liberal and relatively progressive but not to the extremes of Harris, Warren, or Sanders. Because of her non-polarizing stances, I think that can clearly benefit Biden, making her a low-risk candidate. If chosen, she would be the first Latinx to ever be on a presidential ticket for a major party. Finally, she has a similar experience to Harris, coming from a legal background as Nevada’s attorney general and then taking over former Senate minority leader Harry Reid’s seat in 2016.

With the Democratic Convention being pushed back, Biden will have plenty of time to make this key decision on his path to defeating President Trump. He will have to overcome many hurdles, including organizing his bid around COVID-19, in order to win the White House. Although the United States is in the midst of fighting a global pandemic and the election is still just six months away, the stakes in this race between Biden and Trump continue to exponentially grow.