Joe Biden said he expects to form a committee by the end of next week to help him decide who he should select as his running mate, but that also means that it could be a while until we find out who will be the Democrats’ vice-presidential candidate. Still, the instant gratification of the internet has, of course, already rendered its verdict; and it’s a hung jury.
While Stacey Abrams has been a popular name bandied about in the discussion for who Biden should pick, it turns out that there is a growing movement on social media determined to show that her so-called lack of political experience on the national and international stages makes her unqualified to run for vice president. Nevermind the laundry list of obviously unqualified men who have not only been running mates but also won — hi, Dan Quayle.
The narrative for most of this political cycle has been that a Black person needs to be on the Democratic presidential ticket. And since Biden is the last remaining candidate who vowed to pick a woman, conventional wisdom tells us his selection will be a Black woman. Not to mention, Democratic kingmaker James Clyburn, the most powerful Black person in Congress as the Minority Whip, has expressed his expectation that the running mate is a Black woman. Clyburn’s word carries heavy weight, as shown by his influence in the South Carolina primary that turned the tide for Biden in the Democratic primary and forced remaining candidates to drop out.
Biden has vowed to pick a woman but recently said he wouldn’t commit to picking a woman of color, prompting mainstream media like CNN to subliminally inject their decidedly non-Black choices into the conversation.
Abrams, for her part, recently told Elle about all the qualities she brings to the table as a vice-presidential candidate.
“I have the capacity to attract voters by motivating typically ignored communities. I have a strong history of executive and management experience in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors,” she said. “I’ve spent 25 years in independent study of foreign policy. I am ready to help advance an agenda of restoring America’s place in the world. If I am selected, I am prepared and excited to serve.”
Clyburn, however, begged to disagree with that sentiment last month in an interview with the Financial Times.
“There’s something to be said for somebody who has been out there,” the congressman from Carolina said while expressing “doubt” that Biden would pick Abrams to be his running mate.
Abrams, however, is also a progressive Democrat much like the wave of upstart candidates who swept local and national races to beat incumbents in a number of midterm elections across the country in 2018 — think The Squad.
But when you look at some of the other names of people Biden is reportedly considering, the resume of Abrams — a former Georgia State Representative who nearly became the nation’s first Black woman governor before losing out to suspected voter suppression — falls short when it comes to bureaucracy. Kamala Harris is a former state attorney general and a sitting U.S. senator. Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar are also U.S. senators. Gretchen Whitmer is a governor. Val Demings is a Congresswoman.
However, it can’t be forgotten that the last time a Black person was on the presidential ticket, he also had the bulk of his experience rooted in statewide politics — and we all know how that tuned out for Barack Obama.
With that said, Biden said earlier this week that he would have Michelle Obama as his running mate “in a heartbeat.” While the former first lady was in the White House for eight years and would make a strong candidate alongside Biden, she also lacked the same political and experience as an elected official that people were saying Abrams doesn’t have.
Regardless of who Biden chooses, Abrams said she would have “concern” if he didn’t pick a Black woman.
“I would share your concern about not picking a woman of color because women of color — particularly Black women — are the strongest part of the Democratic Party. The most loyal,” she said on Wednesday during an appearance on “The View” TV talk show. “That loyalty isn’t simply how we vote, it’s how we work. And if we want to signal that that work will continue, that we’re going to reach not just to certain segments of our community, but to the entire country, then we need a ticket that reflects the diversity of America.”