No good veep goes unpunished.
By Henry Chang
Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without. – Confucius
Well aware of his old, straight, whiteness — Democratic nominee Joe Biden made it clear last March in a debate with Bernie Sanders that his vice-presidential pick will be a woman. With an election approaching where dems must solidify their base to oust Trump, galvanizing support among young and ‘minority’ voters is a critical task for the Biden campaign. Yet the selection of a VP is fraught with predictable yet perilous consequences for Joe Biden. Simply said, no matter who he picks, he will be criticized. The increasingly cannibalistic left has made a ritual of eating its own and women, and women of color, are not exempt. With Biden expected to make an announcement in days not weeks, there is no doubt the social media contrarians are sharpening their teeth and rehearsing their vociferations. Though this crowd of cannibals are small, they are the loudest voices in the room and seem to be ruttering the national conversation. Negative reaction to Biden’s veep choice could be a shot in the arm for Trump. Needless to say, a measured response to Biden’s choice is crucial for Dems to not hand Donald Trump much needed momentum. Let’s take a look at what these boiler-plate reactions will be:
Kamala Harris – ‘She’s a cop!’
This refrain was heard over and over during the primary debates. With Kamala Harris making early breakthroughs, the circular fire squad found a quick way to attack the one woman of color in the running. Sure, Harris was a deputy district attorney in Alameda County, California and later California Attorney General yet she was not exactly a ‘cop.’ In fact, the police unions were not big fans of hers as she opposed the death penalty for those charged with killing police officers. Though her mixed record as a prosecutor is described as ‘Jeckyl and Hyde’, she is hardly counted in the corner of pro-law enforcement groups.
Elizabeth Warren – ‘She is white.’
IMO, Warren has more experience and competence than any other VP contender if not all the Dem presidential candidates. She excels at fundraising, has a plan for everything, and would likely help shore up the Bernie base that is largely considering sitting this one out. She basically checks off every single necessary qualification that is within her power to achieve. Yet the one thing not in her power to change, her ethnic makeup, is the biggest strike against her. We all know she did her best to muster up all the non-whiteness she could but only managed to come up with 1/512th Native American. But really, who fucking cares? Are we going to let slip away the most qualified VP candidate in memorable history because she is too European?
Stacey Abrams – ‘She is far too inexperienced.’
Stacey Abrams has little to no experience working within the halls of power at the federal level. The highest office she has held is a member of the Georgia legislature. She ran for governor in 2018 — which initially looked like a hail mary pass, yet came within a point-and-a-half of ousting the Republican incumbent out of power. Yet Abrams is the kind of savvy organizer that could potentially fall right into place in the Vice President’s office. She has founded several, successful political and non-profit organizations including Fair Fight. Fair Fight’s PAC raised a remarkable $22 million in just under two years. Abrams may be ‘inexperienced’ but she has cops.
Susan Rice – ‘Benghazi, brah.’
Benghazi has become the new Alamo for the disaffected and conspiratorial right. Despite thousands of hours of congressional inquiry and study, not a scintilla of evidence has been found that anyone related to that unfortunate attack on a U.S. embassy was negligent or slow to react. It was simply a horrific attack and the loss of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Information Officer Sean Smith, and two CIA operatives, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, were a stunning loss. Yet this need to ascribe blame is 100% a Republican political charade. Nonetheless, Democratic opponents of Susan Rice are using Benghazi in a strikingly similar fashion as the GOP. Many on the left are already declaring Susan Rice’s involvement with Benghazi as a liability which should disqualify. Bullshit. Rice has worked closely with Biden and their relationship is widely regarded as ‘simpatico.’ There is no replacement for existing synergy and Rice would make an excellent VP.
Tammy Duckworth – ‘She is not a progressive.’
Former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and junior U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth would bring a much needed semblance of patriotism and sacrifice to the Biden campaign. Duckworth is a combat veeter of the Iraq war and lost both of her legs after her convoy was hit by a rocket propelled grenade. She is largely a centrist on economic and foreign policy issues and does not spend an inordinate amount of time bowing to the Twitterati. On most policy matters, she has often been positioned to the right of liberal Democrats. She has pledged herself to fiscal conservatism and punishment for “illegal immigrants.” Not exactly the kind of ideological leanings wolk folk tend to like. Yet Duckworth and her military service serve as a stark contrast to a draft-dodging President Trump. This could be a key impetus for flyover state voters as well as military service members and veterans – the largest portion of absentee ballots. Arguably, Duckworth gets the win with independent voters more than anyone else.
Karen Bass – ‘Who tf is Karen Bass?’
Karen Bass is a great state legislator. Nonetheless, that is the scope of her experience. No other candidate exemplifies the performative stink of seeking out a VP candidate based upon demography. She also has caught quite a bit of heat lately for attending an event at an LA Church of Scientology and falsely claiming it was in her district as well as delivering the eulogy at a Communist Party USA leader’s memorial service. These are surely liabilities yet I would take Karen Bass over Mike Pence any day. Remember, Mike Pence is who was initially tasked with handling the pandemic. We all know how that turned out.
There are half a dozen other possible contenders with similarly imperfect records and characteristics. Sure, many would like a progressive veep who has who inspires us and moves Biden further towards innovative governance. But that is not what the options are. Do we want to fucking win or do we want to signal to each other how unimpeachably meritorious/virtuous we are ? Get your shit together lefties or get eaten for lunch. When this VP choice gets announced, don’t make the good the enemy of the perfect.