When Biden offered himself as a candidate to represent the Democratic Party, he announced he would pick a woman, preferably of colour to be his running mate as Vice President. It was a clever strategic move. It would help secure female votes especially from women of colour for him to win the primaries. It proved to be a wise move as he is now the official Democrat nominee.
When Biden conceived this strategy, he saw it as a tactic to improve his chances of winning a very difficult presidential battle in November 3 just in case he wins the Democratic nomination. His rival Donald Trump was the incumbent president (he still is) and he enjoyed many advantages in the coming November race. The economy was healthy, Wall Street was at an all-time high and the unemployment rate was very low. Trump was also able to fight off an impeachment charge.
Biden has to do something different, leading to his proclamation of a female running mate Never in the history of US presidential race has any man picked a woman running mate. This would certainly appeal to more women voters.
Biden also recognized he needs a big turnout of Black voters to stand a chance at beating Trump. Democrats traditionally enjoyed a favourable position with coloured voters. In the Clinton –Trump race in 2016, the turnout of coloured voters was only 59%, one of the cause of Hillary’s defeat. . During Obama’s races, the turn ups were 64% and 65% in 2008 and 2012 respectively. So Biden played with the idea of a coloured female running mate.
How thing have changed. The ongoing street protests that started with the death of George Floyd at the hands of 4 white policemen drastically changed the whole political scenario. The protests that followed, in its 15th day, mainly by Blacks, saw Trump increasingly unacceptable to the Black voters given his unsympathetic and tough stand against the protestors. This means Biden is very likely to win a big chunk of Black votes even without a Black running mate. And Black voters are likely to come out in force to have their grievances heard during the election.
This is Biden’s dilemma. In the current environment should Biden still pick a coloured running mate to win Black votes? Do he need a Black running mate to encourage Black voters to come out and vote in the 2020 election? Or would it be more effective to pick a White female as running mate? Having a White running mate will win over more White votes. Having a Black running mate may not have additional impact to his advantage. The current political situation means more Black voters will be out to vote and to vote for Biden.
In Biden’s case the dilemma may not just end with the current presidential elections. He has to consider the “butterfly effect” of his decision. Given Biden’s age at 77, it is likely he can only be a one-term president if elected. Whoever is his running mate will have an edge in the presidential election in 2024.
There is another scenario that has to be considered. What if Biden become incapable of running the office of the presidency for whatever reasons. The Vice-president will assume the presidency. This will have a great impact not just on the Democratic Party’s fortune in future but the whole country and the world. After all the president of the United States is presumed to be the most powerful person in the world. Biden has to decide and he knows his decision not only will impact his chances in the coming election but can impact the country and the world. It will not be an easy decision.