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If VP Means Picking the Next President, Take Your Time.

Brands, Odds & the Overview on Joe Biden’s Vice-Presidential Candidate Selection

We are now in the eleventh hour and 45th minute of the @JoeBiden vice presidential selection situation, and an interesting story it has already been. There are no minuses in waiting these extra days, in fact, it has been prudent to vette-away and not rush into anyone else’s sense of acceleration or fleeting news cycle. Here’s a look at top criteria and so-called favorites, that may become #POTUS47.

The Top 5 factors to consider:

i. The first campaign promise. Joe did the right thing in terms of loyalty and fairness, and stuck his neck out to select a woman, when he could have said that he would just select the most qualified candidate. Campaign advisors may have not wanted to be constrained in the process, to the best woman, or the further wish for a female person of color, because sometimes having more options will avail more opportune electoral fortune. Though, the clamoring for any particular male option has (fortunately for Joe) not emerged, and no male heroes have risen by chance or aptitude to smudge the due and noble female pledge.

ii. Who would make the best President. Well, with the advanced age at the top of the ticket, this is surely an important factor, way up in the hierarchy. In this regard, someone who has previously worked in Washington with the executive branch would have an advantage in terms of hands-on experience. In this regard, Susan Rice would be the leading contender, and those who worked with her in high-stakes matters seem to support her 100%.

iii. Best marketing persona and energy. As in, the one who best assist a potential election win, e.g. she who would best help sell the brand, look right in the role, and score the most points debating and speaking — on tv, social media and billboards. Many believe, consciously or otherwise, that the favorite here would be Kamala Harris. Kamala did well with a sharp cross-exam of Kavanaugh, point-scoring debates, and affable town hall performances.

iv. Inviting least oppo criticism. With all other things being equal, it would be desirable to incur the most modest spectrum of counter-attacks as possible. As we have seen, it has been difficult for the incumbent to mount much more of an opposition campaign slogan versus Joe than ‘sleepy’ and the strained characterization of Joe being a ‘tool of the left,’ neither of which has garnered much traction. While negatives on Karen Bass could be relatively low elsewhere, a particular adversity to Fidel Castro praise could throw some South Florida segments into an extremely negative view — that is apparently not offset by a president’s proclaimed fondness for the Russian boss or Kim Jong Un.

v. Simpático. This boils down to trust, and having each other’s backs, and after watching how the leading candidates have been largely supportive of each other away from the debate stage, this should be a relative non-issue. Once someone is selected, there is a great deal of gratitude to add to the mix, and these relationships tend to build nicely over time in many cases. Thus, this may be the most overrated of the top considerations.

It is worth noting that, unlike the old days, delivering upon a geographical region, segment of culture or home state is not seen as a significant element for 2020 running mates, with the possible exception of Gretchen Whitmer. So, without further ado, we present some projected non-wagering odds for the Top Contenders:

1. Kamala Harris (Odds 2:1). Kamala seems the favorite, and she scores highly in all five of the primary categories, as her debate show versus Joe was not borne of true animosity, and all seems full-steam ahead as easily forgiven. Her HBCU background from Howard, together with District Attorney and senatorial service on the budget, homeland security and intelligence committees make her a well-versed pick capable of top skills and leadership. A majority of folks believe that Kamala would unleash a quite one-sided debate slaughter versus the incumbent vice pres.

2. Elizabeth Warren (3:1). The professor, and champion of the poor, who was perhaps the most-worthy of all presidential candidates. Liz has received very positive feedback from the African American community due to her ability to listen in good faith, create strategic plans that lift low-income families, and exhibit an unwavering work ethic with fairness for all. Liz is the sleeper who could be a relatively big surprise, with only a few drawbacks, not a person of color, not much younger than Joe, and readily attackable with lefty jabs and juvenile snark. Again, her debating versus the incumbent vice pres. would be a virtual annihilation.

3. Susan Rice (5:1). The lady perhaps most ready to be POTUS on Day One. Decorated General Barry McCaffrey stated on June 15th, “Have worked with Susan Rice and followed her over the years. She is a brilliant Rhodes Scholar. Stanford grad. PhD with distinction from Oxford. Nat Sec Advisor. UN Ambassador. Ready to serve as President if picked as VP.” Susan allegedly has significant investments in energy companies that can be spun into theories that are potentially contrary to some traditional Democratic positions; her selection could also revive a certain amount of historic squabble concerning Benghazi, that she has explained in much exculpatory detail. She would be a very bold pick, sending an immediate message of strength to authoritarian types around the world.

4. Gretchen Whitmer (6:1). Gretchen has proved herself as a stout and popular governor, emerging nationally, who could be an exception to delivering a state, as she may help swing Michigan’s electoral college to blue. From her web page, “She is a lawyer, an educator, former prosecutor, State Representative and Senator. She was the first woman to lead a Senate caucus. But the most important title she boasts is MOM.” In any other year, she would be an excellent choice, though if selected in 2020, it would bring backlash as to what skillsets Gretchen has going for her that the other eligible women do not.

5. Karen Bass (8:1). Being heralded as a healer when America needs a healer, and a “unity” pick — as endorsed by 300 delegates to the Democratic National Convention — Karen surely has her supporters, and deservedly so. She has championed underserved communities in many ways for decades, and become the head of the Congressional Black Caucus. Karen also comes with a host of uncomfortable accusations about Cuba, Castro specifically and scientology, that could affect Miami-Dade County, and thus a very important Florida statewide vote.

6. Keisha Lance Bottoms (10:1). There have been a lot of major issues confronting Atlanta, in terms of public health and race relations, and this mayor has done a solid job of leading and not be engulfed within the governor’s contrary orders and leanings. Keisha has shown herself to be a rising star, equally informative explaining her positions while positive for Covid-19 herself, and talking about family with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show. And, yes, her daddy was 60’s rhythm & blues fave Major Lance, who had surely folks movin’ and groovin’ in the day. Only downside on Keisha is the jump from mayor to the White House, which normally would involve some intermediate steps at a national political level.

With the critical issues confronting the voters at this time are immense, namely: the public health pandemic, systemic injustice and economic inequality, a looming financial depression, a suffering rule of law, America’s reduced standing in the world, global warming, and the need to unify all sides to resume as a cohesive nation, there is surely much to contemplate in moving forward. The undeniable rationale that it needs to be a black lady candidate are extremely well-taken, as they are truly the heart & soul of the Democratic party, loyal, and long-deserving; most fair-minded people could not agree more, and there is very capable representation among the elite women set forth as being vetted for the spot.

Clearly, any of these women, and easily, an additional dozen not mentioned here, could surely do the job quite well, learn fast and otherwise rise to the occasion. With so many extraordinary candidates, the campaign’s hope is that the electorate will be undeterred in its support, regardless if the person selected is one’s particular favorite, so long as vital progress is made that advances national goals, while affording inclusive representation.

Keith Haymes is a civil rights and media attorney based in Miami, Florida. His key areas of practice include governmental affairs, public health, and entertainment law.

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