As the Democrat primary progresses, it seems the leader board is filling up with a lot of gray hair. And while 60 may be the new 50, all three of the leading candidates will be well beyond that on Inauguration Day 2021. Both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders will be into their 80’s by the end of a single term. Warren will be 71, older than both Trump and Reagan when they took office. With their age, the fact their running mate is a heartbeat away from the presidency becomes a much more critical factor.
Amazing that the party of youth and diversity has three white septuagenarians leading their party. This is likely because the Democrat bench was decimated during the Obama administration. The Democrats lost over 1,000 seats nationwide during his tenure. This prevented younger Democrats from gaining the experience and skills needed to run for higher office.
When the also ran, race-baiting Stacey Abrams is the best you’ve got to deliver the State of the Union response, it’s a problem. It’s also a problem in the selection of a running mate for the front-runners. There are not a lot of experienced choices that are much younger than the frontrunners themselves.
Joe Biden is polling well because he appeals to moderate voters and has support among African-Americans. He has hinted that he will pick a female running mate. The best match for Biden would be someone like Amy Klobuchar. She is running in a more moderate lane. However, she would not excite the base at all. So what does Biden do? Pick a far more radical candidate such as Kamala Harris or Stacey Abrams to get the base out on election day? That risks alienating moderates and independents if an issue is made of the running mate’s policy preferences and qualifications.
Given that Warren and Sanders are running in the same far left lane, they may have the opportunity to select younger more diverse running mates. However, the pairing of two radicals is a gift for the President. It is often said Biden was selected because he appealed to more moderate voters more than Obama did. However, Sanders and Warren have endorsed radical candidates in other races. It seems unlikely they would make a more moderate choice for running mate.
In my opinion, the most dangerous pick any Democrat nominee could make is Tulsi Gabbard. She is smart, well spoken and unabashed in her love for our country. While her foreign policy is not something I agree with, even I nod my head when she talks about unity, the Constitution and American exceptionalism. She could appeal to a broad range of moderates and left leaning libertarians. Yet she still has enough more progressive ides to attract some of the base. However, it does not seem the DNC can see these factors.
In any case, if current trends hold, the selection of a running mate will be critical for the nominee. But, if the recent past is any indicator, the nominee and the DNC will worry more about intersectional credibility and ideological purity. This could be a distinct disadvantage for the nominee.
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