'Why not a Black woman?' Consensus grows around Biden's VP
WASHINGTON (AP) - Joe Biden faces growing demands to choose a black woman as his fellow campaigner to recognize her vital role in the Democratic Party and his response to nationwide protests against racism and inequality.
The changing momentum was evident late Thursday when Amy Klobuchar pulled out of the vice presidency competition. The Minnesota Senator, who is white, told MSNBC: "This is a moment to put a colored woman on this ticket."
Biden, the alleged Democratic presidential candidate, has already agreed to choose a woman as his vice-president to strengthen the party's base with the prospect of history. But after police outrage over George Floyd's murder last month, many democratic strategists say consensus is growing that the election should be a black woman.
"Whether you like it or not, I think the question is starting to arise:" Well, why not a black woman? Karen Finney, spokeswoman for Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign, said.
Finney, one of 200 black women who signed a letter to Biden asking him to choose a black woman for his ticket, warned that the former vice president could be subject to a backlash if he chose a white woman.
“That puts Biden under a lot of pressure. There's a lot of pressure on who he chooses, no question, "she said." The country recognizes the severity of this moment, the importance of this moment. "
Biden's team has been testing potential candidates for weeks and has started to shorten their shortlist. Some of the potential candidates are blacks, including California Senator Kamala Harris, Florida MP, Val Demings, Atlanta Mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, and Susan Rice, who served as President Barack Obama's national security adviser. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Latina, governor of New Mexico, is also there.
Massachusetts White Senator Elizabeth Warren is also the leading candidate. Another option that is white, Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer said last month that she had had talks with Biden's team about possible terms as vice president. In an interview on Thursday, she said: "There is not much else to report."
Antjuan Seawright, an experienced democratic strategist, said the current moment is demanding someone who understands the challenges facing black Americans.
“There is a renewed sense of urgency to have someone who can speak with today's experiences and stand up for the promises of tomorrow when it comes to constituencies in this country that have been excluded for a long time. " he said.
Klobuchar's decision was partially a reflection of the fact that her own chances of getting the VP nod decreased after Floyd's murder.
She was a state attorney in Minneapolis years ago, during which time more than two dozen people, mostly colored, died in encounters with the police. Floyd's death last month sparked nationwide protest days and criticism that Klobuchar, the district's chief prosecutor, had not charged any of the officials involved in the deaths of the citizens.
Police officer Derek Chauvin, charged with Floyd's murder, was involved in a fatal shootout in October 2006 that killed a man who was accused of stabbing people and firing a shotgun at the police. Klobuchar's successor as prosecutor, Mike Freeman, sent Chauvin's case to a grand jury, as was the practice at the time, and the grand jury refused to prosecute in 2008. According to Freeman, Klobuchar, who won the Senate election in November 2006 and took office in January 2007, was not involved in the Chauvin case.
But her decision this week to support a colored woman is sure to complicate the pitches of other white contenders.
In talks with half a dozen Democrats, nobody would rule out Warren who has been actively involved with black activists and leaders since leaving the Democratic presidential race and has received praise for public relations from some former skeptics. But privately, many admitted that their chances had declined after Klobuchar's comments.
"I think if Elizabeth wants to have the job, she must stand up not only for why she is the best vice president of the people he is considering, but also for why she is the best person to get the ticket to the elections to set up. " said Heidi Heitkamp, a former North Dakota Democratic senator who served with Warren. "If she can make this convincing argument, you cannot rule it out.
Heitkamp said she had long believed that Biden should choose a black woman, partly because of the current political climate, but also because black women are some of the most loyal voters of the Democratic Party. And she suggested that Klobuchar's comments on Thursday evening reflected the views of many of the party's members.
"I think it was incredibly generous of her to bow and say what many of us think. It is time to recognize the contributions and skills of many women that may otherwise be overlooked, "she said.
The debate among Democrats over Biden's election of the Vice President has divided between competing and sometimes contradictory views within the party about the best way to win in November.
Those who believe that Biden must consider geographic concerns are in favor of choosing a candidate from a swing state. Those who believe that Biden should focus on attracting and producing young and liberal voters suggest that he should choose a progressive election. And those who think demography is key are in favor of a colored woman.
Warren has long been the favorite of those who felt most strongly that Biden had to win over skeptical progressives. But Seawright argued that Klobuchar's comments helped to realign the conversation.
"I think that if Klobuchar and other deliberate comments use them, I think it will help to suppress some of these conversations about geography, taste within the party, progressive or moderate, etc.," he said. "When deliberate conversations like last night come about, the noise gets really quiet and the text focuses on what's important."
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