Leslie Marshall: Biden should announce his VP choice quickly — here’s why

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Who will she be?

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has promised to select a woman as his running mate and said earlier he would do so by the beginning of this month. That deadline has slipped and rumors are flying as to who Biden might pick.

Clearly, Biden has many qualified women to choose from — and it’s long past time to end the all-male monopoly on the presidency and vice presidency of the United States. 


But as difficult as this decision must be, it’s time for Biden to make it. Continuing to delay makes Biden look indecisive and just fuels divisions and rivalries within the Democratic Party as to who would make the best vice presidential candidate.

The president of the United States needs to make tough decisions. Biden should show us he can do so by announcing his choice — the sooner the better. Since the Democratic National Convention — a largely virtual event this year due to the coronavirus pandemic — runs from Aug. 17 to Aug. 20, he doesn’t have much time left before delegates will nominate him and his running mate.

Axios reported Wednesday that “Confidants of Joe Biden believe his choices for vice president have narrowed to Sen. Kamala Harris and Susan Rice — and would be surprised if he picks anyone else.”

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I don’t know if the senator from my home state of California, the former national security adviser, or another woman will be selected. I just know the urgency of selecting her grows every day. 

The four most important questions Biden needs to ask of the finalists for his vice presidential running mate are:

The Trump campaign is trying to paint a false picture of Democrats as wild-eyed radicals who will bring socialism, lawlessness and economic ruin to the United States.

Can she do an outstanding job carrying out the duties of vice president? Would she be an outstanding president in the unfortunate event that Biden becomes incapacitated or dies in office? Can she work well with Biden as his governing partner? Will she be a liability or an asset to Biden’s presidential campaign?

The top contenders for Biden’s choice all have impressive qualifications, but only he can determine answers to these crucial questions.

Here are four reasons why Biden should pick his running mate as soon as possible:

Mail-in voting

With the coronavirus pandemic raging — in part due to President Trump’s incompetent leadership and refusal to take responsibility for creating a national strategy to fight the virus —the presidential election is expected to result in more mail-in ballots cast than any election in American history.

As a result, while the official Election Day is Nov. 3, in reality millions of Americans will cast ballots long before that, beginning when North Carolina mails out ballots Sept. 4. In fact, states with well over a majority of electoral votes — including swing states — will allow voting to begin a month or more before Election Day.

That means that Biden has no time to lose in introducing his running mate to the nation and having her start campaigning. While in-person campaigning is severely limited because of the pandemic, the vice presidential nominee can participate in virtual campaign events and give media interviews to help make the case for Democrats to capture the White House and Senate and expand their majority in the House of Representatives.

Democratic Party unity

Potential vice presidential nominees and their supporters and now engaged in a competition for who will be selected by Biden. This inevitably leads to intra-party feuding about who should become Biden’s running mate.

There’s no time for feuding, with mail-in voting beginning just a month from now. Once a VP nominee is selected, Democrats will unite behind her and Biden, and go about the business of sending Trump and Vice President Mike Pence into political retirement.


Blunting Republican attacks

The Trump campaign is trying to paint a false picture of Democrats as wild-eyed radicals who will bring socialism, lawlessness and economic ruin to the United States. The Republican attacks are so extreme as to be absurd. But the more potential vice presidential nominees remain in contention, the more women the Republicans have to attack.

These cumulative attacks are designed to sway swing voters with — if I may borrow an expression from Trump —“fake news.”

Attracting more votes

Polls show that many voters are not enthusiastic about voting for Biden. They are more eager to replace Trump than to put Biden in the White House.


A popular and charismatic Democratic vice presidential nominee could ramp up voter enthusiasm, which is vital to ensure heavy voter turnout. If Biden chooses a woman of color as his running mate, as many expect, he could spark a jump in minority voter turnout that could make him our next president.

For all these reasons, the time for Biden to announce his choice for VP is now. The Trump-Pence administration has been an abysmal failure and has proven itself unfit for office. Biden needs a strong partner to show the American people why he should become our next president and to then help him repair the damage the Trump administration has done to our country, and lead us to a better future.


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