The smart money — which, by its recent record, isn’t very smart at all — says the two top contenders are Sen. Kamala D. Harris, who “ticks all the boxes,” and Susan Rice, with whom Biden is most comfortable. Harris has been attacked for her ambition and Rice for her bluntness in ways no man would ever be slimed. In fact, we admire male politicians who are “really going places” and “tell it like it is.” If anyone out there doubts that sexism still infests our society, just pay attention to how the women on Biden’s list of candidates are being talked about.
Some of those doing the talking — party warhorses who have been close to Biden for decades — should please be so kind as to shut up. And Biden, as he seeks counsel, should please listen also to younger, more diverse, more progressive voices in the party.
In the end, the decision is Biden’s alone. Very hesitantly, I’m going with the smart money this time. I think Harris might be the better candidate, because of her campaign experience and her prosecutorial chops; I think Rice might be the better vice president, because of her White House years as national security adviser and her close friendship with Biden.
Either will be demonized by the Trump campaign and his media ecosystem. Literally any human being Biden picks will be. But the campaign’s mission will remain as it always has been: make the election a referendum on Trump’s abysmal, intolerable performance, especially on the pandemic. And when Trump goes into one of his spasms of self-destruction, don’t interrupt him.
Don’t forget to click on the chart’s yellow highlighted text to see the rest of the Ranking Committee’s annotations.
Change Over May 22 VP Ranking
Falls off ranking: Amy Klobuchar, Gretchen Whitmer, Stacey Abrams, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Tammy Baldwin, Gina Raimondo
Also receiving votes: Lujan Grisham, Whitmer, Abrams, Baldwin, Raimondo
From the Annotations
Fair or not, a basic rule of politics is: If you’re explaining, you’re losing. If you’re explaining that you’re not a communist, you’re really losing.
Charles Lane, on Karen Bass
She seems like the frontrunner. But Biden’s delays in choosing do make you wonder if something new has emerged that put previous certainties under doubt.
Christine Emba, on Kamala D. Harris
Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments. We’ll see you for the next ranking. By that time, we’ll have a veep nominee in hand — unless Biden wants one more round of counsel from the Power Ranking.
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