Will Biden Choose A Running Mate Based On Electability, Ideology Or Identity?

There will likely be months of debate over who should choose suspected Democratic candidate Joe Biden as his fellow campaigner – and what criteria he should use to make that decision.

We already know such a criterion: Biden has promised to choose a woman. But what else is he looking for in a vice presidential candidate?

A view of the Vice President’s selection process, often expressed by People who work for campaigns themselvesis that the presidential candidate makes a personal decision and chooses someone with whom he or she is connected and who believes that he is a strong government partner. Another view, according to research we have done (Adler and Azari), is that the election of the Vice President often reflects broader dynamics in the party. From this point of view, the candidate often chooses a colleague who connects to a broader goal of the party or who helps to address a faction or ideological block in the party that is not well represented by the candidate at the top of the ticket.

It’s really hard for us to determine whether Biden is chatting more with Sen. Kamala Harris or Sen. Amy Klobuchar, so we’re going to be party-centered about this. We can look at the Democratic Party and some of its goals and use it as a rubric to rate some of Biden’s potential running comrades. We have focused here on women who are Governors or Senators – the traditional résumés of a vice presidential election – have also included some notable personalities who have no national office.

Goal 1: Help with choice, real or imaginary

Helps: Senator Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin, Senator Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota, Michigan Gretchen Whitmer

Hurts: Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts

Beating President Trump is almost certainly the primary goal of the Democratic Party. Which potential running companions would make the democratic ticket more selectable?

First, let’s talk about the real, actual choice – that is, helping Biden defeat Trump by bringing voters to his coalition that wouldn’t be there otherwise. The impact of the Vice President’s election on the elections is somewhat complicated to examine because the sample size is so small – we only had 18 presidential elections since the end of World War II.

The broad consensus among scholars is that the choice effect of running comrades is not clear and obvious – and probably a little humble. In other words, we should not assume that the election of Harris or former Georgia House minority leader Stacey Abrams would strengthen Biden with black voters, that Baldwin, Klobuchar or Whitmer would attract Midwest voters or that Senator Catherine Cortez Masto would help in Nevada. Nor should we assume that one of these women politicians is particularly associated with female voters. For example in her upcoming book “Are running mates important?Political scientists Christopher J. Devine and Kyle C. Kopko downplay many of the effects that running comrades have on elections based on their research. They argue that there is little evidence that choosing a person from a particular region in that region is helpful, or that choosing a person from a demographic group helps voters in that demographic group. They also reject the idea that running companions improve tickets in their home states, one conclusion other scholars and experts have also achieved.

Other academics are a little more optimistic about the possible impact of running mates on the elections. Historically, vice presidents have picks raised the ticket by 2-3 percentage points in their home states according to political scientists Boris Heersink and Brenton D. Peterson. Some scholars have found that Republican Catholics are less likely to vote for the GOP Ticket if the democratic running companion is Catholic in 2008 The then governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, increased the turnout among other conservatives. Devine and Kopko themselves argue that vice president decisions are important because they can change the way voters see things Presidential election Nomination in a way that sometimes affects the election. According to their research, Senator John McCain’s election of Palin as his fellow campaigner led to an increase in negative views of McCain because voters felt that Palin was not qualified for the position.

“Every time you talk about a colleague who wins votes, you are really talking about voters who elect a suboptimal president to elect their preferred vice president. Otherwise, the running mate has not changed the votes, but merely reinforced an existing preference Suffice it to say that we are quite skeptical that such effects will occur very often or to a significant degree, ”Devine said in an email message.

He added: “By choosing a woman – or an African American woman in particular – Biden … would send a message to voters about who he is – especially that he is someone who values ​​diversity and the role of women – or especially African American ones Women – play in American society and the Democratic Party. This message would probably help him get some votes. However, we are not talking about “delivering” large blocks of voters. “

So let’s say the impact of the Vice President’s election on the election is complicated. The following is not controversial: Party elitespresident Campaign consultant and sometimes presidential candidates themselves often believe that vice-presidential candidates will have an overwhelming impact on the electionswhatever the reality is. For example, according to his memoirs, McCain felt that Palin could attract moderate Democrats who voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary for Hillary Clinton.

So who makes party elites? think is the best vice presidential candidate to help Biden choose? They said that consistently Warren was weak in terms of choice When she ran for the presidency, this metric doesn’t help her cause.

Abrams also has a problem with the noticeability of choice. It’s nothing like Palin, but the democratic elites we’ve spoken to are concerned that voters don’t like to bring together someone who has never held an elective Office higher than state representatives with a 77-year-old presidential candidate. A wide range of research suggests that presidential candidates generally choose a runner who has done so a lot of political experience, mostly at the national levellikely to raise concerns about whether the comrade is willing to become president if necessary.

Party elites tend to point out that the The Democrats’ Way to Victory wins white voters in the Midwest – In contrast to firing more liberal voters or increasing support among colored people. This metric (electoral perception by party elites) would likely favor Baldwin, Klobuchar and Whitmer in particular.

Goal 2: Demographically balance the ticket – especially with regard to race and ethnicity

Helps: Senator Tammy Duckworth from Illinois, Senator Kamala Harris from California, Governor of New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Abrams, Cortez Masto

Hurts: Baldwin, Klobuchar, Warren, Whitmer … basically everyone who is white

Almost 40 percent of the registered democratic voters identify themselves as Asian, black, Hispanic or anything other than white. And the Democratic Party cares deeply about the diversity of races. A pure white ticket could happen, but it would get a lot of setback. The same is probably true for a ticket for men only – hence Biden’s promise. Already the majority of the whip James Clyburn, whose approval Biden seemed to help the former vice president win big in South Carolinacalls him to call a black woman as his running mate.

This type of demographic adjustment has taken place in the last two democratic primaries. The main candidates for Obama’s running mates in 2008 were all white menand were the top candidates for Clinton’s running mates in 2016 almost all men.

Currently only one colored woman is one governor (Lujan Grisham), and only four are U.S. senators (Hawaii’s Mazie Hirono, Cortez Masto, Duckworth, Harris). So it is likely that Cortez Masto, Duckworth, Harris and Lujan Grisham will get a serious look from Biden and his team, and that they will also consider more non-traditional decisions, such as Abrams and U.S. representative Val Demings from Florida, partly to meet the party’s demand for a ticket with different races. (Hirono turns 73 on election day, and we doubt that Biden would choose a runner who was almost his age.)

Goal 3: ideologically balance the ticket

Helps: Abrams, Harris, Warren

Hurts: Klobuchar

The other main balancing goal that presidential candidates usually have alongside demography is ideology. In 1988, the Democratic candidate, Governor Michael Dukakis, tried to counter his liberal reputation in Massachusetts by choosing one of the parties more moderate numbers, then-sen. Lloyd Bentsen from Texas. In 2012, the GOP candidate, former Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney considered insufficiently conservative chosen by some Republicans as someone from the The right wing of the GOP: then-Rep. Paul Ryan from Wisconsin.

According to this metric, Klobuchar would Not be an ideal running companion for Biden. she has a somewhat centrist recordlike him, and took fair similar positions to the former vice president during the democratic primary school, such as Panning the idea of Health insurance, for everyone. Her choice as his fellow campaigner would increase criticism of Biden from the party’s left wing, who would likely complain that he expected liberals to vote for him while essentially ignoring their wishes.

Warren is of course firmly on the left. Harris is quite left based on her Senate voting record. But as California’s attorney general from 2011 to 2017, Harris took over some conservative points of view and as a presidential candidate in 2020 not hugging Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All Approach or a property tax. Abrams didn’t take Sanders-like stance on economic issues, but she is known for her work on Right to vote Problems that could cause voters and activists to perceive them as abandoned. Some political science studies also suggest that there are often black candidates perceived as more liberal than they actually are. In other words, if Biden chose Abrams or Harris, he could both appease some on the left and no longer annoy centrist people in the party who may not like Warren.

Goal 4: Help Democrats achieve a Senate majority

Helps: Duckworth, Harris

Hurts: Baldwin, Warren

This is a recent factor without many historical precedents in both parties. But control of the US Senate is in play in 2020. And if Republicans keep most of their seats, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell could block much of what a new Democratic president is trying to do, just like the Kentucky Republican limited Obama while he was in office. For this reason, some democratic activists are cautious of choosing a seated Democratic senator for the vice presidency if there is a possibility that that person will be replaced by a Republican.

When Duckworth or Harris became vice president, the Democratic governors their respective states would choose who would replace them serve up to a special election will be held in 2022. Democrats would be preferred to keep these senate seats because Illinois and California lean strongly democratically. Minnesota (Klobuchar) and Nevada (Cortez-Masto) also have democratic governors who would appoint a replacement by 2022, but they are more Swing Y statesDemocrats could eventually lose these seats in 2022. There would be one in Massachusetts (Warren) and Wisconsin (Baldwin) Special election in 2021. The incumbent in Bay State would likely be a Republican since GOP governor Charlie Baker would pick the person. (Massachusetts Democrats, however, have some possible workarounds.) However, this dynamic is a real problem for Baldwin, as Republicans may be slightly preferred in special Wisconsin elections.

This is an informal list of criteria. You could certainly include other measures – ours are not necessarily exhaustive or even the best. However, the history of the selection of vice presidents suggests that the process is not dominated by issues that may arise should most important are how:

  • Is this person best qualified to rule the nation if the president cannot end his term?
  • Is this person a great manager who can run the government executive?
  • Is this person familiar with politics?
  • Is this person the best choice to become the party’s next presidential candidate?

Perhaps Biden’s considerations are changing due to the novel corona virus, which means that the next president could take office with a real national crisis. However, we are skeptical that the Vice President’s selection will be different than in the past.

When you look at the party-based criteria, it definitely looks like Abrams, Harris, Klobuchar, and Warren, who the New York Times recently reported are high-ranking Democratic party officials. leading decisions for Biden’s running companions. (We also included Duckworth, who is a more obscure Senator than Warren, but we wanted to see how cheap she looked compared to her in terms of these party-based metrics.)

  1. Harris: three positive, no negative.
  2. Abrams: two positive, no negative.
  3. Duckworth: two positive, no negative.
  4. Klobuchar: one positive, two negative.
  5. Warren: one positive, three negative.

You may think, “Harris was an idiot as a presidential candidate,” but often that doesn’t matter. And as with George H.W. bush, Al Gore, Dick Cheney and BidenThe person who is elected vice president is often someone who flirted with a presidential run at some point or actually ran and lost for the top of the ticket. What this exercise suggests is that Harris fits the party’s goals for a running mate alongside Biden pretty well – she’s ideologically to his left, she’s not white, the party won’t lose a Senate seat if she becomes vice president, and some people in the party accept It helps with the election, in particular by addressing black voters. We do not predict that Biden will choose them – he could decide that the perceived choice outweighs everything else and go with Klobuchar or Whitmer or another white woman from the Midwest. He could decide that Warren’s policies are particularly useful in a crisis like the coronavirus pandemic, and that it is important, for symbolic and election reasons, to appease the party’s left wing. But Biden is one Party manand Harris is a party choice.

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