Now that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has suspended his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, former Vice President Joe Biden is essentially the Democratic nominee, which means he’s going to need a running mate.
Since Biden has already said he’s going to choose a woman to be his VP, it seems only fair that there be a short list of possible choices, with five names appearing on nearly every list.
Below are those five names, in alphabetical order, along with what positives they’d bring to the ticket:
Catherine Cortez Masto: The Nevada senator is on the list for two key reasons: She’s Hispanic and is from a state many Democrats feel is key to winning in November. Prior to joining the Senate, Cortez Masto was the attorney general of Nevada. She’s a rising star in the party, but may not be enough of a household name to warrant Biden choosing her.
Kamala Harris: Harris is believed to at the top of Biden’s list, and it makes sense that she would be. After all, she’s a well-known senator and also happens to be a black woman. African-Americans and women are key to a Democratic victory in November. Harris is also a superb orator and would likely destroy Mike Pence in a debate. Also, since she’s from California, her Senate seat would be filled by Democratic governor Gavin Newsom, which is something the party has to consider.
Amy Klobuchar: Much like Biden, Sen. Klobuchar is a moderate who believes in reaching out to the opposing party to build coalitions on issues such as healthcare and fiscal policy. She’s a solid debater and is genuinely liked on both sides of the Senate aisle.
Elizabeth Warren: Since Biden won’t be choosing Sen. Sanders as his running mate, selecting Warren would show progressives that Biden wants to have a progressive voice helping him craft strategy and policy. But since the current governor of Massachusetts is a Republican, choosing Warren would be risky when it comes time for her to be replaced.
Gretchen Whitmer: Whitmer, the governor of Michigan, has gone from virtual obscurity to one of the most visible Democrats in the country. And she could probably carry her home state, which is one of the key battlegrounds, along with Florida, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Who will Biden choose? From recent reporting, it looks like Harris is the front-runner with Whitmer a close second. But of course all of this is merely a parlor game. Only Biden can make the choice, and he’ll have lots of wise men and women advising him, including his former boss, Barack Obama, who is known to be a brilliant political strategist.
When will the choice be announced? Probably before the end of April, and maybe within the next week. Until then, all we can do is wonder.