Bankole: Biden's running mate could decide November's election

Bankole Thompson

Conventional wisdom suggests Democrats will make Donald Trump a one-term president. The coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 86,000 Americans, has brought the U.S. economy to a halt, sending millions into unemployment and denying Trump any opportunity to brag about economic buoyancy in a crucial reelection year.

Trump’s options going into the November election are limited, especially after his administration bungled its response to COVID-19. Democrats have plenty of cards to play against the president.

Recent history suggests, however, that the November election is up for grabs. Retaking the White House is not a done deal for Democrats, and Trump’s reelection is not impossible. 

The crucial test for Democrats winning the White House lies in whom their presumptive nominee selects as a running mate. Let’s face it: Former Vice President Joe Biden is not an exciting candidate. He does not represent the future of the party or a multiracial America.

In this Nov. 15, 2019, file photo former Georgia House Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams, speaks at the National Press Club in Washington.

Plus, he’s been MIA for most of the pandemic.

His 40-year political record reads like a typical white liberal moderate, a designation that has drawn mass condemnation from young, white progressives and black social justice advocates alike. These groups are demanding more from the Democratic Party than a candidate who represents the white male, patriarchal power that holds sway in both parties. 

To appeal to the young Democratic voter base, Biden will need to select a VP who significantly represents qualities that he does not have. And since Biden has described himself as a transition candidate, it is possible his running mate would be the party’s flag-bearer after his first term in office.

This is all the more reason why the woman that Biden chooses to be his VP must have a profound calling to social change, a deep passion to fight injustice, and an educated understanding of the need to take on the poverty crisis plaguing urban communities. That individual may become the nation’s first female president and stands to make a lasting imprint on generations to come.

Of the candidates who are potentially in the running to become vice president, only a few stand out with the distinctive, anti-status-quo qualities that the party’s base will find redeeming.

Stacey Abrams, former Georgia gubernatorial candidate, holds a record as a staunch fighter for the underdog and speaks with the force of nature. She would bring an incredible amount of excitement to the ticket. She is the type of candidate that the party has refused to groom over the years, but defiantly represents the aspirations of many who feel excluded by the Democratic Party especially black women, who are the majority voters in the black community. 

Another formidable candidate is U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who brings a combination of experience, passion, intellect and an undying drive for social transformation.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has also been mentioned as a potential pick. But Whitmer is a typical white, moderate politician who has many of the same shortcomings as Biden. She’s not the kind of pioneering choice that would give black people and other communities of color something to embrace. Her record in Michigan among blacks is a trail of broken promises, despite her newfound political identity in the COVID-19 era. 

Biden must choose wisely.

Twitter: @BankoleDetNews

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