Most likely, Joe Biden will pick his Vice President at some point in the next 10 days. The Democratic National Convention begins on August 17th and only two candidates in modern history have waited until then to announce their running mate.
Biden’s VP selection has been the largest (and essentially the only) story receiving constant attention related to his campaign for President over the last few months. It has been followed closely only by the narrative that he has lost his marbles which has flared up once again following his regrettable comments about African Americans the other day. One could even speculate that the first storyline has been dragged out by Biden’s campaign intentionally in order to prevent the second from receiving more attention than it already is.
These top two storylines are fundamentally about indecision and a lack of fitness to serve as President, respectively. These are not good themes for someone aiming to get elected President, a role which requires one to be decisive and fit to serve as two of the most primary prerequisites.
I remain baffled by the way Biden’s original VP guarantee has been almost unanimously applauded and totally uncontroversial in the media. If Biden knew his pick already and she was a woman, I would have had no problem with him saying so a few months ago without prematurely revealing her identity at that stage. That was clearly not the case.
The fact of the matter is that Biden had no idea who he was going to pick when he made that guarantee to help secure the primary. This has been demonstrated by months of indecision on the matter with several names moving up and down the leaderboard of his most likely picks. This, to me, makes his guarantee an unfortunate one, though I try to give him the benefit of the doubt that his intentions were good at best and simply to get votes at worst.
That said, if I was a woman, I cannot imagine that I would want the first female Vice President to be selected this way, with the fact that she is a woman being the first and most outwardly advertised criteria. Furthermore, it now seems that our potential next VP’s race has become the second most necessary qualification, although Biden has not as explicitly said so.
I believe that the first female Vice President deserves to be selected at least apparently because she is the best person for the job, not just because she is the best woman for the job or the best black woman for the job. She should be chosen as the best candidate from a field that includes the best of the best regardless of gender or race. Anything else suggests that no woman is capable of landing the position by merit and that is so obviously not true.
Have people already forgotten that Hillary won the popular vote last election? We were well on our way to having our first female President well before this ugly and unnecessary VP guarantee.
Barack Obama won back to back elections to become the first black President. Can you imagine how much less meaningful that would have been if he was instead elected after we decided as a country that we were only going to pick from a pool of black candidates that year? Americans decided he was the best person for the job. That’s how it should be.
Biden’s VP selection comes with added consequence considering he would become the oldest President in America’s history on his first day in The Oval Office. Assuming he makes it through his first term, which is all but guaranteed, it seems doubtful that he would run for a second one. That would leave his VP as the candidate closest to being an incumbent and, all else equal, the most likely to win.
To be clear, I look forward to the day we have our first female President. I just hope she rises to power via election by the people of America, not via selection by the consultants of a presidential candidate who are only looking to assure the greatest possible benefit to his polls.