As we near August, presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden has yet to announce a running mate. The former vice president leads the incumbent Donald Trump by a wide margin in many swing states, according to national polling. As such, the Biden campaign feels as though they’re in a comfortable position. Historically, announcements of running mates rarely change a candidate’s standing.
If such announcements move the needle on a candidate, it’s typically a negative. Biden’s campaign is being cautious to not give any ammunition to the incumbent, meaning they’re likely to avoid picking a progressive like Senator Elizabeth Warren. What is almost certain, however, is that the campaign will likely settle on a female candidate. Many have called for Biden’s running mate to also be black, to give his administration diversity.
There are a few likely candidates on the short list for Biden’s running mate. However, none of them are “perfect” for the job, as few have a deep existing relationship with the former vice president. The closest person on the short list to this description is Susan Rice, who served as Barack Obama’s national security advisor in his second term. As such, Biden and Rice know each other better than, say, Biden and Kamala Harris.
Harris, for her own part, is another likely pick. However, one issue that is presented with Harris is that she’s a highly ambitious politician. In fact, she ran for the Democratic nomination for 2020, dropping out after Senator Bernie Sanders posted impressive numbers early in the primary. This might give Biden pause; Harris might not have the mettle to weather what is certain to be a vicious election.
Interviews with Biden’s campaign staffers have revealed that the biggest component for Biden is that his running mate needs to be someone he can trust. This is why Rice’s name has come up so often. Biden and Obama, famously, were very close, able to confide in one another. The two shared policy goals, and they were able to work together to craft their political strategies.
Other candidates that have been floated for the position include Stacey Abrams, who ran an unsuccessful but tight race for governor in Georgia. Abrams lost to Brian Kemp in an election that Democrats have alleged was corrupt, as Kemp oversaw the election board during the race.
Another prominent politician who has been mentioned is Keisha Lance Bottoms, the mayor of Atlanta. Bottoms has been a prominent supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement throughout the summer of 2020.