WASHINGTON – Joe Biden is under pressure to elect a black woman as his presidential vice president. But polls suggest that the most popular prospect among black Democrats is white.
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., And Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, are widely viewed by Democratic officials and activists close to the process as leaders, though other candidates remain in the mix and a Biden aide said NBC News says that “the process is dynamic and continuous and no final decision has been made.”
Biden’s two senators and former presidential rivals have reached an advanced stage of investigation that suggests they are formidable contenders, according to several people familiar with the process. Both women did fundraisers with Biden this month, with the Warren event raising $ 6 million and the Harris event $ 3.5 million.
In a CBS News poll last month, Warren topped the list of prospects Democrats wanted Biden to consider, followed by Harris. Warren even led among black Democrats: 72 percent said it should be considered, and 60 percent said the same of Harris.
Competing imperatives present a challenge for Biden, facing the prospect of making history with the first black woman as vice president and the prevailing evidence that black voters may prefer Warren. The issue has increased scrutiny due to Biden’s age and the rise of race relations as a problem amid the violent reaction to George Floyd’s death.
“I don’t support an all-white ticket,” said Aimee Allison, president of She the People, a progressive group that works to promote women of color in politics. “That was a tremendous mistake in 2016. We have a party with half of people of color and a quarter of blacks. The ticket should reflect that. “
Allison said Harris would be one of several “excellent candidates” for vice president, citing the former California attorney general’s open push for racial justice in recent weeks as the Senate debates police reform.
Is ‘a black face in a high place’ not enough?
Jorden Giger, a 29-year-old teacher and Black Lives Matter activist in South Bend, Indiana, disagreed. While he understands the need for a diverse ticket, he wants Biden to choose Warren.
“Descriptive representation is not enough. It is not enough to have a black face in a high place, ”Giger said by phone. “We need someone to defend our positions in a real way and she is the best there is.”
Giger argued that Warren’s policy record, such as drawing up the Office of Consumer Financial Protection and his aggressive oversight of Wall Street, shows that he is “ready the first day” and resembles what the black community needs.
In a Morning Consult poll last month, 24 percent of black voters said a Warren election would make them more likely to vote for Biden, while 19 percent said the same thing about a Harris election.
A Civiqs-Data For Progress poll this month found that Stacey Abrams, a former legislator and candidate for governor of Georgia, is the top preference for black Democrats. (Abrams said two weeks ago that he had not heard from Biden’s team.) Then there was Warren, six points ahead of Harris.
A Economist YouGov poll this month found that Harris led Warren by two points among black Democrats and called for his vice presidential preference, within the margin of error.
Other women of color who have received attention as possible elections include New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham; Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla.; Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif .; Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms; and former national security adviser Susan Rice.
Bass, the president of the Congressional Black Caucus who played a leading role in the police review bill passed this week, said she “won’t go there” when asked if the Biden campaign was investigating her.
Biden’s campaign declined to say who is being screened for the position. Warren and Harris’ assistants would not comment for this article.
Biden, a former vice president, told donors in late May that his team had been interviewing candidates and that he hoped to announce his election before August 1, according to a group report.
Generational contrast versus economic credentials
“I have not made that judgment because we have just now started deep dive into doing the background checks. It takes six to eight weeks to complete. There are several African American women being considered, as well as Hispanic and Caucasian women, ”Biden told WGAL News 8 during her visit to Lancaster, Pennsylvania on Thursday.
A prominent Biden ally predicted he would choose a woman he has a relationship with and face off in the 2020 debate stage, limiting him to Harris, Warren, and Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. Klobuchar withdrew from consideration last week amid scrutiny of her record as a former Hennepin County prosecutor who oversaw controversial controversial practices.
Klobuchar also took what many interpreted as a farewell to Warren, and asked Biden to “put a woman of color on that ticket.”
Harris, who is of Jamaican and Indian heritage, would make history as the first woman, first African American, and first Asian American to be vice president. She has another advantage over a superior rival: She is 55 years old, while Warren is 71. Biden, who would be 78 years old and the oldest president to take office, has volunteered as a transitional candidate serving as a bridge to the next generation.
“My challenge here is to have two candidates who, in their 70s, are something that ages. I don’t think we’ve ever had a fine where two candidates had a combined age of about 150, “Peter Hart, a Democratic pollster who helps conduct the NBC / Wall Street Journal poll, said in an interview.
Warren’s allies are selling the former Harvard law professor as a strong governing partner for Biden as he seeks to rebuild a tattered economy. They point to his strengths with young and leftist voters, a weakness for Biden, as evidence that he is the best option to limit defections to the Green Party, which were devastating to Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Her detractors say Warren’s comparatively left-leaning stances could make her a lightning rod for Republican attacks in the fall.
“The critical element Joe Biden needs is someone who sees himself as smart from day one to be president,” Hart said. “The entire campaign against him will be based on one idea: that he is ‘Sleepy Joe, and boy, I wonder if he’s even around when Inauguration Day comes.'” Then you have to pass the proficiency test. “