A guest slot by Mr Ed
There has been article overnight that appears to be well-informed with those close to the matter that Biden’s choice for VP candidate has narrowed down to six candidates. Elizabeth Warren, Susan Rice and Kamala Harris are specifically mentioned, while the comments suggest that the other three advisors have looked closely at Val Demings, Keisha Lance Bottoms and Michelle Lujan Grisham, the Governor of New Mexico.
I think in these situations, one useful route to take is process by elimination to try to reduce the possibilities. First, I don’t think Warren will be acceptable to the ticket post-George Floyd’s death and the fallout. I suspect her name is on the list to show that Biden has not ruled out a white woman as VP but, if he was to pick Warren, I would expect the radicals in the Democrats to accuse Biden of “whitewashing” by not picking a non-white candidate. I think it is more likely he would offer Warren the post of Treasury Secretary.
The consensus is a Black woman will be picked, however there are issues for Biden here too. First, Black women are the most loyal block for the Democrats so there is no real upside there electorally apart from the hope of increased turnout by the Black community as a whole. That is possible but there is a good chance turnout may be up anyway because of what has happened acting as a catalyst. There are also issues with each of the candidates. Mrs Ed (a Black female Republican from California – how is that for a minority?) said last year Kamala Harris would never be the nominee because of her record as Attorney General in California, and I think that record will stop her being the VP candidate given the Democratic base’s anger over law enforcement. It is also too much of a risk given Biden knows Trump will bring up Biden’s role in the 1994 crime bill to claim he is no friend of the Black community – not to convince Black people to vote for Trump but to depress Democrat turnout. That latter point plays against Demings, an ex-law chief of Orlando, which has had issues of its own. Lance Bottoms may be a better bet but she may be question marks as to whether she could step up to become President if Biden needs to step aside (which will be one of the chief considerations on voters’ minds when they look at his choice for VP).
If I had to choose a Black woman as Biden’s VP choice, then Susan Rice would be an ideal candidate for the nomination in many ways and I have put a covering bet on her at 10/1 at Ladbrokes. She is experienced, smart and comes across well. However, the Republicans in the Senate have upped the ante dramatically by issuing subpoenas relating to the prosecution of Michael Flynn and the appointment of Robert Mueller, and it is very likely that they will look to escalate their claims that the outgoing Obama’s administration’s attempted to hobble Trump from the start.
Susan Rice’s memo on the subject is seen as a smoking gun by many Republicans (which it isn’t but…). So I think Biden will see it as too much of a risk to his campaign.
That leaves one candidate, Lujan Grisham, who I have recommended as a good bet for being Biden’s VP choice. There are clear advantages here for Biden in choosing her. First, unlike with Black voters, there have been signs of shift amongst Latino voters from the Democrats to Trump. According to one article based on an average of the latest polls, Trump has increased his standing by 10 points (23 to 33) compared with the final polls of the 2016 campaign, with Biden slightly down vs Clinton (61 to 58). I think Biden is aware of this issue, which is why in his recent interview (the one with the mask hanging off his face), his prominently talked about Trump’s comments in 2016 about Mexicans. Secondly, if Biden is serious that Texas is in play, then having Lujan as VP boosts his chances there and in Arizona, plus should lessen the risk in states such as Nevada and Colorado (where I think there is more of a risk to Democrats than assumed). Thirdly, having Lujan has the nominee (and with a serious chance of becoming the first Latina President) is also a powerful calling card. Finally, it also allows Biden to say he has chosen a woman of colour, which is important in these times.
You can get Lujan at 25/1 on Ladbrokes (it was 50/1 yesterday). I think that still represents value.