Joe Biden’s world just became very sticky.
The Democratic Presidential nominee famously announced that he would choose a VP of color. However, that was before COVID-19 and definitely before the protests that erupted from the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The world is finally fed up with the police brutality that proliferates communities of color. Real-life events are now crashing into his decision more than ever before.
The very public pool of women that Biden is considering have been prominent women of color. Folks like Stacey Abrams, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer are among the few.
In addition, Keisha Lance Bottoms, the mayor of Atlanta and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico are options. The former is a Latina who served in Congress, and as the state’s health secretary.
“Because of social media and the explosion of information available, the scrutiny has quadrupled from when I was being vetted,” said former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson to POLITICO.
Richardson ran for president in 2008.
“And what it does is, it makes the selection process that much more difficult for any presidential candidate, because the scrutiny focuses more on the negative than the positive.”
Richardson added, “The main criteria should be for the VP who can step in and become president. And now it may be, who can bring to the ticket less damage.”
Biden can take the community relations route by aligning with a Vice Presidential candidate with a background in law enforcement.
Currently, there are a few potentials that have extensive law enforcement backgrounds like Rep. Val Demings (D-FL). She is the former police chief of Orlando, Florida. Demings, a woman who is completely self-made, is also a racial pioneer. With Biden revealing his white privilege in an unplanned gaffe during a video conference interview with Charlamagne of The Breakfast Club, a VP choice of color is more important than ever.
America has a racism and police brutality problem. Someone like Val Demings could conceivably begin to heal both.
“My fellow brothers and sisters in blue, what the hell are you doing?” she wrote in a Washington Post op-ed. “I cannot begin to understand how any officer could ignore the painful pleas we heard from Floyd — or from anyone suffering.”
She added, “As law enforcement officers, we took an oath to protect and serve. And those who forgot — or who never understood that oath in the first place — must go. That includes those who would stand by as they witness misconduct by a fellow officer.”
The Selection Process
The vice-presidential vetting process is playing out in plain sight and the court of public opinion. Biden’s VP decision isn’t expected for another two months. However, it is a certainty that it will be predicated on the current landscape where social justice is paramount.
“I’m not here for false equivalencies — you have a president who is making not-so-veiled threats of violence at people who are in the middle of uprisings over a murder caught on video,” Rashad Robinson, president of the Color of Change coalition, said to POLITICO.
“At the same time, Biden should not go into this election thinking that he has black folks, and particularly young black people and black progressives, sewed up. He’s going to have to do things to activate that. In this moment, he needs to pick a partner that can help him do the heavy lifting of both bringing people together and moving us forward. And that partner has to be someone that has a level of trust and has a connection to the community.”