Hillary Clinton, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, met with eight or 9 potentialities to fill her vice-presidential slot. Among the choices had been ideologically daring (Elizabeth Warren); some had been demographically interesting (Julián Castro). As an alternative Clinton went with in all probability the most secure alternative, Virginia senator Tim Kaine. “His complete expertise in politics was constructed round high quality and character and achievement, which was in excessive distinction to the place Donald Trump was coming from,” says John Podesta, who was Clinton’s marketing campaign chairman. “Kaine was additionally somebody who didn’t command the highlight after the primary introduction. We fell quick, so you might query that judgment.”
On the lengthy listing of causes for Clinton’s defeat the selection of Kaine ranks fairly low: He helped ship his dwelling state of Virginia and, in all probability extra necessary, he didn’t say or do something to overshadow or embarrass Clinton in the course of the marketing campaign. The bar gained’t be fairly so low in 2020, nevertheless, and the lesson from 2016 is one motive why. Sure, voters overwhelmingly make their choices based mostly on the presidential candidate, not the V.P., and that’s prone to be much more true with Trump on the poll once more, offering motivation to either side. However Clinton’s electoral school loss turned on so few votes, and the identical six essential states are prone to be so shut once more this November, that Joe Biden’s staff shall be on the lookout for any marginal edge. “Don’t underestimate the calculation within the candidate’s head: ‘Who helps me get the massive prize?’” Podesta says.
It’s simple to provide you with V.P. selections that may alienate the Berners; it’s a lot tougher to think about life like ones that may appeal to hard-core Bernie Sanders voters to Biden. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is simply too younger to be veep eligible, however Biden could be sensible to attempt to get her on board as prominently as attainable. In any other case he might want to hope Trump supplies sufficient motivation for the left. The 2 main variables in Biden’s common election equation are suburban ladies and African American voters. “I’d not wish to counsel that there’s one demographic that’s extra necessary than one other one. It is a turnout sport, and for those who’re not turning out each Democrat you possibly can presumably muster, then you definately’re dropping to Donald Trump. It’s simply that straightforward,” says Jennifer Fiore, who was a senior adviser to Castro throughout his main run. “Girls on this nation, and notably ladies of coloration, have been constantly underappreciated by the Democratic Occasion. After narrowing a discipline that was essentially the most numerous in historical past to the 2 oldest white males we may discover, it’s disheartening. So I feel the V.P. alternative is very necessary for Biden—there must be a group behind him. And what we noticed till South Carolina is that there wasn’t a lot of 1.”
A high strategist for one more 2020 aspirant breaks it down extra particularly. “It is dependent upon your principle of base stimulation within the fall,” he says. “However the Latino vote is simply not distributed throughout the swing states, and millennial turnout is at all times underwhelming. And I do know that black turnout was down 6% in 2016 from 2012, that it was down 13% in Wisconsin and Michigan, that it was down decisively in all 5 states that Trump and [Barack] Obama each gained. Joe Biden could have been carried to the nomination on the shoulders of the African American group. If he doesn’t choose a black V.P., he’s gonna have some splainin’ to do. Could possibly be Kamala Harris, could possibly be Cory Booker, could possibly be Stacey Abrams, could possibly be Keisha Lance Bottoms, could possibly be Andrew Gillum. However the black group must be invested within the common election.”