Selecting a Vice Presidential Nominee

Joe Biden has begun vetting potential nominees to join his ticket as a vice presidential nominee.

The following are excerpts from an opinion piece by Norman Sherman in The Hill. Sherman was press secretary to Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey in the White House and during his campaign for president. Sherman was also an informal advisor to Vice President Walter F. Mondale.

“When Joe Biden announced that he would select a woman as his running mate, we could guess those on his shortlist. How to choose among them?

“Two questions, gender neutral, grow out of my work long ago in a vice president’s office and his campaigns.

“First, among the possible selections, is there one who will bring crucial votes to the ticket that would not come without her? Second, if she has an aggressively held agenda, can she function in a subsidiary role as candidate and vice president?

“A vice president may be president tomorrow but must be a parrot today – without programmatic independence or any degree of separation from the president…

“What Biden needs is a woman who shares common policy goals, understands there can be only one president at a time, speaks the same political language and is not running for president on inauguration day.

“Biden – whomever he chooses – should seek a partnership like Carter and Mondale, not equals but two people with common political goals.”
[The Hill 4/19/20]

Here is a list of 11 candidates from whom various commentators think that Joe Biden will select his running mate.

Stacey Abrams – former Georgia gubernatorial candidate

Keisha Lance Bottoms – Mayor of Atlanta

Tammy Baldwin – U.S Senator from Wisconsin

Val Demings – U.S Representative from Florida

Tammy Duckworth – U.S. Senator from Illinois

Kamala Harris – U.S. Senator from California – former presidential candidate

Amy Klobuchar – U.S. Senator from Minnesota – former presidential candidate

Catherine Cortez Masto – U.S. Senator from Nevada

Susan Rice – former Ambassador to the United Nations and national security adviser in the Obama administrations

Elizabeth Warren – U.S. Senator from Massachusetts – former presidential candidate (* Governor of Massachusetts is a Republican)

Gretchen Whitmer – Governor of Michigan

The following are the criteria that Democrats say are “very/somewhat” important in the person that Joe Biden picks as his running mate. (Those under the age of 45 were an important part of the Bernie Sanders coalition.)

  Democrats Under 45 Registered Dem Voters
Legislative experience 40% 34%
Executive experience 37% 31%
More liberal than Biden 27% 11%
Younger than Biden 21% 25%
Woman 20% 13%
Person of color 17% 7%
Religious 13% 15%
More conservative than Biden 10% 16%
Man 9% 7%
Democrats Under 45
  Favorable No Opinion
Warren 57% 25% 17%
Harris 45% 37% 18%
Klobuchar 33% 53% 14%
Abrams 27% 60% 12%
Whitmer 21% 66% 13%
Masto 20% 69% 11%
Baldwin 17% 72% 11%
Registered Dem Voters
  Favorable No Opinion
Warren 36% 23% 41%
Harris 32% 35% 35%
Klobuchar 32% 42% 27%
Abrams 21% 58% 21%
Whitmer 14% 70% 17%
Masto 12% 70% 18%
Baldwin 10% 77% 13%

The Odds

Courtesy of Scott Cooley, Cool Media Public Relations

Kamala Harris 2/3
Amy Klobuchar 4/1
Gretchen Whitmer 9/2
Elizabeth Warren 6/1
Stacey Abrams 12/1
C. Cortez Masto 20/1
Val Demings 40/1
Tammy Baldwin 50/1
Tammy Duckworth 50/1

(Odds not available for Bottoms and Rice)

There is one previous vice presidential candidate selection of which WW is particularly familiar.

The following is an excerpt from a column by Joel K Goldstein, the leading expert on the Vice Presidency, in the current issue of Sabato’s Crystal Ball.:

“Jimmy Carter’s choice of Walter F Mondale in 1976 based on a then-pioneering process sent a message that the one-term former governor of Georgia was a careful and able decision-maker and reassured the liberal base of the Democratic Party that Carter was more receptive to its concerns than feared. Significant circumstantial evidence that Mondale’s presence on the ticket and campaign performance was critical to Carter’s election. Ronald Reagan’s selection of George H.W. Bush in 1980 comforted Republican moderates four years later.”