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Stacey Abrams Is the Only Vice Presidential Pick for Joe Biden. Here’s Why.

Stacey Abrams Is the Only Vice Presidential Pick for Joe Biden. Here’s Why.Joe Biden pledged he would choose a woman as his running mate, and that woman needs to be Stacey Abrams.The road to the White House for Democrats only exists with the support and excitement of black voters—black female voters to be specific. Just ask Bernie Sanders. He thought he could carve a path to the nomination without overwhelming support among the Democratic base—black voters. He was wrong.Sure, other Democratic voters matter. Lots of ink has been spilled about the importance of “suburban” Democratic voters, read white voters, even though blacks have been moving to the suburbs at great rates as they’ve been pushed out of cities for years now. However, any viable Democratic strategy rests on the active participation and interest of diverse groups of black voters.Biden made a promise to select a female running mate, a declarative statement some feel may have painted the former veep into a corner. There are several qualified women on the Democratic bench, but only Abrams can deliver the significant number of black voters across the United States to galvanize the base and articulate a clear vision. Several women are qualified to assist Biden in the governance phase of a possible Biden presidency, but only Abrams assists fully with the two-stage process of a successful Democratic presidency– campaigning and then governance. I don’t think Democrats want or need another Tim Kaine moment. That is, selecting a running mate who would be fine for governing but brings relatively little to the ticket during the campaign stage. Kaine would have served the nation dutifully, and he possessed the intellect to assist Hillary Clinton in White House strategic matters. However, the lack of excitement about Kaine and his inability to connect with the Democratic base was yet another Achilles heel for the Clinton campaign.The 2020 election season is already unprecedented, and now more than ever, Biden needs to select a running mate who has the gift of reaching diverse demographics of voters and connecting with them on a myriad of levels. He needs a storyteller, a leader, a robust fundraiser, and a running mate who can contextualize the past and present and present a clear outline for the future. Anyone who has heard Abrams speak for more than five minutes is sold on her policy acumen and her ability to present realistic solutions to decades-long problems pertaining to the institution of poverty, criminal justice, and economic exclusion. As more Americans find themselves slipping out of their tenuous middle-class identity, Biden needs a partner who can lay out arguments in a way that is accessible, realistic, compassionate, and policy-driven.The Democrats have not shown their eagerness for innovation in this presidential cycle. The overwhelming Democratic primary support for Biden is a clear indication that a majority of Democratic voters who bothered to participate are not willing to dramatically change course. However, Biden cannot afford to isolate and alienate the more progressive wing of Democratic voters or voters who are concerned that this septuagenarian may need some critical assistance galvanizing Democratic voters and delivering a hybrid of Democratic policy needs and desires. It is imperative Biden choose someone with leadership experience who can explain to voters the values and ideals of the Democratic Party. Let’s actually discuss Abrams’ qualifications, since many believe the only viable candidates for the presidency or vice presidency should be sitting governors or senators. There has been a desire for Biden to choose a running mate with “executive experience.” To that I would ask that we dissect the type of executive experience we are looking for. As I wrote about Abrams previously for The Daily Beast, she was a Truman Scholar and received her law degree at Yale. She was elected to the Georgia state house in 2006 and began serving as House Democratic leader in 2011. She’s been a trailblazer and visionary rolled into one. When she saw that 800,000 people of color in Georgia were not registered to vote, she launched the New Georgia Project, registering more than 200,000 Georgians in just two years. When she noticed there was a dearth of businesses run by women and people of color, she and a friend launched the NOW Account, a program to help small businesses grow and spur innovation in the aftermath of the 2008 recession, creating and maintaining over 2,000 jobs from over 350 small businesses in Georgia.In a post-COVID America, Biden will need a right hand who can assist him in thinking of the economics of the working class and formerly middle class. He will also need someone who has experience with innovation rooted in empathy. As the current administration has made abundantly clear, cruelty and personal financial gain is the foundation of the vast majority of their policy decisions. He also needs a veep who can unite the party, someone who can galvanize the more progressive wing of the party concerned with issues like criminal justice and the environment.During the 2018 campaign, Abrams and her team built an extensive grassroots campaign strategy that extended across the 159 counties in Georgia and included the highest rates of youth and Latino participation the state had ever seen. Since the election, Abrams and her team launched Fair Fight, an organization dedicated to litigation, legislation, and advocacy in order to support voter-protection programs at state parties around the country. The oft-repeated question surrounding Abrams’ qualifications often relates to concerns pertaining to Biden’s age and Abrams’ ability to step up and step in if the moment arises. To answer those questions, I would say that if you doubt Abrams’ qualifications I might ask what exactly you are looking for in a candidate. Abrams has a successful record in business, nonprofits, leadership, governance, and policy innovation. And we must not forget grassroots organizing and mutli-ethnic and multi-generational coalition building. In a post-COVID world, the traditional résumé of a candidate is outdated. Critics also question how Abrams will poll nationally. If her ability to fundraise across the country and connect with young voters and voters of color in her various voter-mobilization organizational efforts are any indication, Biden should do all he can to secure Abrams as his No. 2. And let’s be honest, if the 2018 Georgia governors’ race was not hijacked by Brian Kemp, there would be no question as to whether Abrams should be the Democratic nominee for vice president, or even president. American democracy cannot afford another 2016 election, when, for example, black voters in Michigan were so uninspired they either stayed home or decided to vote down ballot and ignore the top of the ticket. The democracy cannot afford a party that is not equipped to address the rampant voter suppression and disenfranchisement efforts affecting marginalized communities in states across the nation. For the past two years, Abrams and Fair Fight have been dedicated to mitigating the rampant voter-suppression efforts in states across the country. There are several sitting elected officials who are talented and have bright futures ahead of them. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Sens. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, New Jersey Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, and Rep. Val Demings of Florida all come to mind. However, none of these women can galvanize the type of base Biden needs for success. None possess the multiple skill sets to simultaneously galvanize the progressive wing of the party, the South, and the black base. Sure, some may wonder if Abrams can deliver since she did not win her home state of Georgia when she ran for governor in 2018 against a sitting secretary of state who controlled the electoral ballots and the entire voting process. Even with almost 2 million votes and the highest Democratic turnout in modern history, Abrams was not able to win the game against Brian Kemp, who served as her opponent, the referee, the judge, and the man in charge of the equipment. There is no need to relitigate that shameful display of democracy stolen. If you truly believe Kemp is the rightful recipient of the Georgia governor’s seat, I have several bridges to sell you. Venmo me. Now is not the time for a safety pick. If we know black voters will be the deciding factor in several swing states, it is imperative Biden have a running mate who can inspire and motivate Democratic voters to turn out on Nov. 3 and assist in governance every day after that.Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, political editor at The Grio, the author of Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream, and the co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC. Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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Bernie drops out, as Democrats pick pragmatism over consistency

Bernie drops out, as Democrats pick pragmatism over consistencyIn many ways, Bernie Sanders is the anti-Trump. And, in important ways, he ran his campaign as the anti-Biden.Sanders bowed out of the Democratic nomination race on April 8, repeating his runner-up status from four years earlier. His two runs at the White House have cemented his legacy as a consistent standard-bearer for progressive policies. The veteran democratic socialist possessed a rare quality for a political candidate in this age of Trumpian fickleness. He is a politician whose actions and beliefs have remained steadfast over time and across campaigns. But in the current political moment, it appears the Democratic electorate longs less for a politician who is consistent from day to day than one who can provide pragmatic leadership to unseat the vacillating Trump. Same ol’ SandersSanders ran his campaign as the antithesis of a political showman, who says one thing today and another tomorrow with little regard for facts and consistency. He has exhibited throughout his career what anthropologist Alessandro Duranti calls “existential coherence” – he is a political figure “whose past, present, and future actions, beliefs, and evaluations follow some clear basic principles, none of which contradicts another.” As a linguistic anthropologist who studies language and politics, I know that traditionally, candidates have worried about how to project a consistent political persona, and they have often gone to great pains to do so. But Trump shattered that expectation, excelling in self-contradictions and inconsistencies – often within a single sitting.Sanders, instead, has put forth a consistent vision that has remained more or less the same since his early days in politics as mayor of Burlington, Vermont. Rather than moving toward the electorate and shifting positions based on perceptions of what the electorate desired, the electorate has moved toward Sanders to join his vision for universal health care and other progressive causes. A CNBC survey in 2019 found that a majority of Americans supported progressive policies, including a higher minimum wage and Medicare for All – key issues that Sanders has been advocating throughout his decades-long political career. In an episode of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” last year, host Trevor Noah unearthed footage from 1987 of Sanders discussing politics on a local public access channel in his hometown of Burlington. The Bernie Sanders of 1987 talked of the unfair tax system that placed a large burden on working people and the need for universal health care. “We are one of two nations in the industrialized world that does not have a national health care system,” declared Sanders in 1987. Three decades later, in both his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns, Sanders continued with that theme. In 2016, he released his Medicare for All plan by declaring, “It is time for our country to join every other major industrialized nation on Earth and guarantee health care to all citizens as a right, not a privilege.” His 2020 campaign website further echoed this sentiment, stating that “the United States will join every other major country on Earth and guarantee health care to all people as a right.” A consistent candidate often comes across as a more authentic candidate – someone who is staying true to his core self rather than pandering to the latest polling data or saying whatever will attract the most dramatic news coverage. Sanders’ authenticity as a candidate who has fought for working people and progressive ideals his entire life made him appealing to many liberals. He attracted an unshakable following of core supporters because of it. ‘Results, not revolution’Biden’s pragmatic approach, however, trumped Sanders’ often dogmatic consistency. In their debates, Sanders hammered Biden over what he saw as shifting stances on Social Security, Medicare and veterans’ programs. And then there was Biden’s 2003 vote for the Iraq war before he turned against it.But this is not the 2004 presidential election, where accusations of flip-flopping can sink a candidate, like it did John Kerry in his race against George W. Bush. Perhaps Donald Trump’s fickleness has changed what voters look for in a candidate. Maybe it’s simply that nobody cares about Biden’s apparent lack of judgment in 2003, which occurred well before he spent eight years as vice president in arguably one of the most popular Democratic administrations in U.S. history.Biden easily parried Sanders’ accusations of inconsistency by pointing to an underlying consistency of principles that have guided his varying positions over time. Voters ultimately decided to support someone who exhibits a practical sense of how to govern in a way that gets things done. As Biden said in his last debate with Sanders, “People are looking for results, not revolution.”On health care, one might have expected Sanders to have an advantage with his Medicare for All proposal, a consistent theme across his time as mayor, congressman, senator and presidential candidate. Polling done by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that for the first time a majority of Americans began to support a single government plan for health care in 2016, corresponding to the Sanders campaign push for Medicare for All.But in the same Kaiser poll, more Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said they would prefer a candidate who would build on the Affordable Care Act rather than replace it. Biden’s campaign argued precisely for this more pragmatic approach, and he positioned himself as the right person to get the job done in a contentious political environment. An overtureAfter sweeping the primaries in Florida, Illinois and Arizona in March – putting the wheels in motion for the eventual withdrawal of Sanders from the race – Biden then struck the right chord in his speech after the Florida primary by making an appeal to Sanders voters. “I hear you,” he said. “I know what’s at stake. I know what we have to do. Our goal as a campaign and my goal as a candidate for president is to unify this party and then to unify the nation.” Biden’s appeal to Sanders voters suggests he may be willing to absorb some of the best ideas from Sanders – and other candidates. It’s a pragmatic approach, rather than a dogmatic consistency, that may bring along their supporters, too. That may be exactly what he will need to do to beat Trump in November.[You’re smart and curious about the world. So are The Conversation’s authors and editors. You can read us daily by subscribing to The Conversation’s newsletter.]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts.Read more: * Biden’s big night with moderates, African Americans and baby boomers * Biden’s resurrection was unprecedented – and well-timedAdam Hodges does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.



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There's reportedly 'a lot of pressure' on Biden to pick Warren as running mate

There's reportedly 'a lot of pressure' on Biden to pick Warren as running mateOne thing is clear about former Vice President Joe Biden's potential running mate: he's going to pick a woman. But there are several candidates for the job that present intriguing arguments for his campaign advisers, Politico reports.Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) for example is an oft-touted name, as she would appeal to African American voters, who have carried Biden's campaign into the driver's seat. Plus, the two get along well, despite clashing in earlier debates when Harris was still campaigning herself.Another former Democratic presidential contender, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), could make sense because she could help reel in the sought-after Rust Belt votes that are likely to be so crucial in the November election.But there's also Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). It's no secret Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) both desperately want Warren's endorsement, but it may be somewhat of a surprise to hear that Biden's team is facing "a lot of pressure" to add her to the ticket, an adviser said. Warren and Biden don't line up too precisely on policy — the former tends to veer more in the progressive lane — but Biden has made some overtures recently, including supporting Warren's bankruptcy reform plan, so it's possible she's under legitimate consideration for the opening. Read more at Politico.More stories from theweek.com The conservatives who would sacrifice the elderly to save the economy A Japanese flu drug appears to be effective at combatting coronavirus, Chinese studies show Trump's tweets show his dramatic 9-day shift toward actually taking coronavirus seriously



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