By Colleen O'Connor
What is with the silly auditions for the vice-presidential slot on the Democratic ticket?
Sheltered in place, anyone interested can already recite the contenders’ names and chances from memory. And the fact that at least a dozen women are “under consideration.”
First are those who already ran the primary gauntlets for the Presidential nod: Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Kirsten Gillibrand.
Then there are the governors, House members, and ex-office holders: “That woman” from Michigan, Governor Esther Whitman; Representative Val Demings of Florida; and Georgia’s Stacey Abrams.
These are the women now participating in a rather unseemly and unnecessary parade of interviews laced with praise for Biden, contempt for President Trump and a coy nod to their own formidable resumes.
In fact, each one of these women is qualified to be president on day one, and has already delivered more cogent plans, had more serious experience, and successfully confronted more disasters than the current occupant in the White House.
Biden is already the presumptive nominee—only needing to clear the delegate threshold needed for affirmation—which he will meet sometime in June.
So why the wait?
Going through the vetting process was completed before these women’s names even surfaced.
Finding a “personal connection” with Biden is an insulting hurdle. JFK and LBJ loathed each other, but they functioned. FDR had multiple VPs and Truman was definitely not a “soul mate.” Surely these professionals can do the same.
So why this charade with accomplished women to see how they “fit?” Just get on with it.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is right. Get the convention over with “in one day.” Why waste precious time?
The Democratic national committee just passed a resolution to allow “virtual voting” for their mid-July convention. This constitutes a massive alteration “to their convention in ways that not even the Civil War required in 1864.”
Not only does the Democrats’ new virtual convention provide more time for the real campaign fight, the format also precludes silly demonstrations, fights over rule-changes and most importantly, risks from COVID-19 infections.
Call it in. Mail it in. Just do it. Avoid the platform fights, the silly balloon and confetti drops, the now predictable speeches and get on with it.
So why the wait for naming the Vice-Presidential pick? Indeed, why the wait for naming the entire cabinet?
Think about it. Hillary Clinton has.
She raised over $2 million for the Biden campaign in a single night—during a Zoom fundraiser—without Biden even there.
Clinton’s assessment that night was simple.
“You have to say: Can this person help me win? And what it really comes down to is: Can this person help me win in the Electoral College?” said she, who won the popular vote (by nearly 3 million votes) in 2016 only to lose the Electoral College to Trump.
Pick one. Any one. And put the fabulous remaining talent in the Cabinet. Even if Biden picks an outlier (such as swing-state Florida’s Val Demings), look at the strength and depth of the remaining highly educated, gifted women.
For example, Massachusetts’ Warren (11 electoral votes) as Secretary of the Treasury. Imagine the changes and accountability she would provide overseeing corporate behavior and doubling down on consumer protections. She already has the “plans”.
Or California’s Harris (55 electoral votes) as Attorney General. After all, she was Attorney General for the state of California with all its complications, and appeals to both black and minority voters.
However, both these states are reliably Democratic. No contest there.
Minnesota’s Klobuchar (10 electoral votes) is a much-needed swing state. Possible Secretary of Health and Human Services with her passionate defense of vulnerable women.
Other much-needed swing states include Georgia (16 electoral votes) where Abrams might deliver two open Senate seats into the Democratic column. And Michigan (16 electoral votes) where Whitmer could deliver another 16 electoral votes.
No need to wait. Just add the Bernie enthusiasm, the critical black vote, and the environmentalists, and you have the winner. Polling has already been factored in.
Imagine Trump trying to combat all of these women, simultaneously, on issues they command—in multiple states, on multiple news outlets and multiple venues.
Trump, the micro-manager, is not up to that task.
So, Biden—stop the vice-presidential beauty pageant. Name the names.
Then get on with the serious and sobering general election campaign.
Colleen O’Connor is a native San Diegan and a retired college professor.
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