Mandy Grunwald, who served as Clinton’s media strategist and whose clients have included Senators Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, declined to comment if she has had conversations with the Biden campaign.
The questions surrounding the candidates’ political experiences are critical for Biden, who announced on March 15 that his running mate will be a woman. The additional layer of research and prevention is in part a reflection of the hard lessons learned from the Clinton campaign, but it is also a tacit acknowledgment of decades of research showing that women face complicated challenges linked to sexism and issues of eligibility, sympathy , experience and authenticity in their offers for the position.
Biden’s campaign investigation did not focus on any potential selection; instead, the committee is assembling the investigation because the campaign wants to understand “best management practices,” a Biden adviser told POLITICO.
“It is not who the candidate is. These are the challenges that a woman on the ticket could face, and we are talking to people who are adept at running successful campaigns with female candidates in preparation for a new phase of the campaign, ”said the adviser.
The selection committee, the advisers say, has not finished putting together a final list of candidates for consideration by Biden, who has made it clear that he will take his time and make his selection before August 1 based on his personal relationship. with the candidate and how “friendly” they are.
“We have never had a vice president in this country. So there is an imagination barrier for voters to see what that looks like, ”according to Amanda Hunter, director of research and communications for the Barbara Lee Family Foundation.
Only two women have been vying for a presidential ticket to a major political party: Democrat Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Republican Sarah Palin in 2008.
“It is one thing for voters to support a woman to be part of the need to be part of a legislative body, like a legislature,” Hunter said. “But if they’re going to be the decision-makers and essentially the CEO, voters need to be much more convinced that he’s up to the job.”
The foundation’s research also shows that women are generally viewed as having more empathy and multitasking, perceived as a “virtue advantage” over men because they are more reliable, Hunter said.
While the Biden campaign has capitalized on the work of the nonpartisan foundation, talks by the vice-presidential selection committee have been held with the Barbara Lee Political Office, a separate organization.
The foundation’s research after the 2018 elections used surveys and focus groups to show that women of all races scored and white men straight in electoral clashes.
Protests and riots nationwide since the murder of George Floyd by a white Minneapolis police officer in May sharpened the focus on the perspective of an African American woman as Biden’s running mate. Four black women are considered to be at the top of the former vice president’s list: California Senator Kamala Harris, Florida Representative Val Demings, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and former national security adviser Susan Rice.
Bottoms and Demings, who are surrogate leaders for Biden’s campaign, were originally not seen as top tier contenders in part because they lack experience statewide or in Washington. But Bottoms ’emergence as a firm and authoritative voice during the protests and Demings’ experience as a police chief in Orlando, as well as his role as the impeachment manager for the House, have raised his prospects.
“The chosen experience is not the only experience that exists,” said Christina Reynolds, vice president of communications for the EMILY List and former spokeswoman for Hillary for America.
Reynolds noted that in 2018, a record number of women were elected to Congress, and many won by emphasizing their personal life experience rather than just political experience. Furthermore, she said, Clinton’s experience in the 2016 race against Donald Trump, which has sparked strong levels of antipathy among women, according to polls, also raised the level of awareness of women more willing to report sexism.
Florida Representative Donna Shalala, a substitute for the Biden campaign who helped found the EMILY List in 1985, said it is not just advice that the group will help provide Biden. It is also money.
“What really prevented women from running for high office was money, and what the EMILY’s List brought in was an inexhaustible source of candidates,” Shalala said.