The Current

Biden could choose Black woman as running mate, making her 'presumptive favourite' in future race: analyst

Political analyst Rebecca Sive says putting a Black woman on the ticket could help Biden in key states where "Black women are a significant group of voters who really care and really turn out."

Putting a Black woman on the ticket could help Biden in key states: Rebecca Sive

In March, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden committed to picking a woman as his running mate. (Patrick Semansky/The Associated Press)
Listen5:35

Read Story Transcript

With 91 days until the U.S. presidential election, one of the key spots in the race is yet to be filled: Joe Biden's running mate. 

In March, the Democratic nominee committed to picking a woman to join his ticket, creating the possibility of the first woman to serve as U.S. vice-president. He told reporters last week he will reveal his choice "in the first week of August," a couple of weeks before he is officially confirmed as the presidential nominee at the 2020 Democratic National Convention. Republican nominee Donald Trump will run for re-election alongside his 2016 running mate Mike Pence.

Political analyst Rebecca Sive thinks it's "very likely" Biden will choose a Black woman, which could help his campaign in key states where "Black women are a significant group of voters who really care and really turn out." 

Thought to be in the running are Senator Kamala Harris, former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and five-term congresswoman Karen Bass, who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus. 

I was talking with a friend of mine who has worked in numerous campaigns over the years, and she said there were a lot of black cars in front of one of the women's houses.- Rebecca Sive

Whoever he chooses could also become "the presumptive favourite in a future campaign," said Sive, author of Vote Her In: Your Guide to Electing Our First Woman President.

She spoke to The Current's guest host Mark Kelley about the choice facing Biden, and what it might mean for the race overall. Here is part of their conversation. 

U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden promised to pick a female running mate, and in the wake of protests against police brutality and discussions about representation in leadership roles, there has been hope in some Democratic quarters that he will choose a Black woman. 6:12

What is riding on this choice?

Well, I would argue several things, but the most important thing is a safe and healthy and democratic future for the United States. Mr. Trump is clear in his actions and words that that's not something he cares about, and we're in the midst of a very deep crisis. So my view is that Mr. Biden's decision to select a woman as his running mate will strengthen his campaign in that regard, as well as at the same time showing the world that a woman as well as a man can be in charge and in the Oval Office.

Given the strength of the Black Lives Matter movement, and given ... the political climate in United States, how likely is it that Biden will choose a woman of colour, in your opinion? 

I think it's very likely. I mean, Black women in particular have been the core of the voting bloc of electing Democratic candidates in the United States for quite some time. And I think that in the key states where Mr. Biden will need those electoral votes, Black women are a significant group of voters who really care and really turn out.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has not yet picked a running mate, but some of his supporters say picking a Black woman would be a major campaign boost. 2:31

Often people feel that the choice of the VP simply doesn't matter. But I just get the feeling now, given Biden's age — that's been mentioned often — that there is a lot riding on this. Whoever this person is will play a significant role, if Biden were to win. Is that how you see it, Rebecca?

Absolutely. I think it's always the case that the vice-president plays a significant role. It may not be evident every day, but where there's a good working relationship, there's no doubt. In this instance, as you point out, I believe Mr. Biden is the oldest person who will be nominated to run for the presidency. That's a risk factor, like that or not, although he certainly seems healthy. And so this person, whoever she is, is going to bear significant responsibility in case anything happens. And then be the presumptive favourite in a future campaign. So I think this takes on even deeper importance than it may have in other contexts.

So what's going on behind the scenes right now to try to figure out who that person is going to be? Tell us about that.

Well, I wouldn't profess to know that, except there's lots of gossip and back and forth among people who care about this, and are watching for signs. And it was sort of funny, yesterday I was talking with a friend of mine who has worked in numerous campaigns over the years, and she said there were a lot of black cars in front of one of the women's houses. And, you know, who knows how she got that information, I didn't ask her. But it's certainly the time when, you know, things are revved up and to the point where there have to be black cars in front of somebody's house.

Whose house were those cars in front of?

She wasn't saying — she's a discreet person.

Former U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton endorses Joe Biden. 1:38

Who do you think would be the best choice for Joe Biden?

I think the key here is a woman who wants to be in executive office, has had executive office experience, knows how to make those kinds of decisions, which are different than those you make as a legislator. So while I wouldn't say I have a favourite in 24-point type, I do think that Mr. Biden would be smart to choose among those who have that experience and can walk into an office and sit at a desk that says that the buck stops here and it won't be the first time they've done it. 

So I'm not getting a name out of you then — that's okay, Rebecca. I mean, I take your point. You're just happy you're going to get a woman in the Oval Office, possibly?

More than happy! I would say one of the important things — and this is true around the world — is that women in charge in political and governmental contexts really pay attention to issues that matter to families and women and children. And there's nothing more important than that than we need right now.


Written by Padraig Moran. Produced by Peter Mitton. Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now