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Setting the stage for Biden's VP pick

Unfortunately for Donald Trump, the 2020 presidential election will be a referendum on his leadership as the United States confronts its greatest health, economic and political emergency in generations.

With a toll of more than 80,000 Americans dead, and projections for deaths to grow much higher, and with tens of millions more unemployed, Trump’s chaotic mismanagement has resulted in a measurable loss of public confidence.

Every national poll shows presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden beating Trump. In key battleground states, Biden is gaining advantage.

With the American economy collapsing, Trump’s path to re-election has narrowed. To win, he must attempt to disqualify Biden, 77, as mentally declining. To that end, Trump christened Biden “Sleepy Joe.”

A lifelong stutterer, Biden is a gaffe-prone public speaker who tends to wander the rhetorical outback. His debate performances during the Democratic primaries were underwhelming.

Despite the verbal miscues, Democratic primary voters chose Biden as their best bet to beat Trump. The pandemic, which curtailed a primary season Biden dominated, has sharpened the Democratic resolve.

The concerns Trump will exploit about Biden’s age and mental acuity ups the ante on the woman Biden chooses as his nominee for vice president.

During the primary battle, Biden pledged to designate a woman as his running mate. Before choosing her, Biden should share with the public a detailed job description outlining the qualities he is seeking and the duties he expects from his vice president if elected.

Biden could task his vice president with being an active partner in charting America’s future course. Perhaps she could oversee an all-government effort to create a comprehensive roadmap that navigates the impact of climate change and efforts to mitigate it.

And/or Biden’s VP choice could be tasked with working with Congress to address the growing wealth inequality in the country and the threat that technological disruption could exacerbate it.

The point is, establishing an ambitious set of responsibilities will give his nominee instant gravitas, a vice presidential pick who Biden can argue possesses the qualifications, experience, and electoral legitimacy that the challenge demands.

Making clear the vice-presidential nominee will play a major role in the coming administration would also make her the presumptive Democratic frontrunner in 2024, should Biden choose to serve only as a one-term president, a distinct possibility given his age, even if the administration performs well.

Biden’s selection has sparked an intense lobbying effort from competing alliances within the Democratic Party over which woman to name.

Progressives are pushing for Massachusetts’ Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

The party’s African-American base touts several worthy prospects, including Sen. Kamala Harris of California, former UN Ambassador Susan Rice, and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.

Moderates are advocating for Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota or Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan.

The intra-party skirmish to appease one Democratic demographic over another in the veep sweepstakes is a dangerous identity-politics sideshow that risks party unity.

Biden can outflank the intra-party wrangling by choosing a woman based on her job qualifications over her demographic appeal. In so doing, Biden will be providing a great service both to the country and to the running mate he chooses.

Biden, who has labeled himself a “transitional” president, can focus on stabilizing the country and its economy in the aftermath of the pandemic. He has the credentials to repair the international relationships and restore America’s standing in the world.

The presumed Democratic nominee must also double down on his pledge to deliver a better, broader, and bigger Obamacare national health insurance coverage plan.

Biden represents the moderate, competent crisis manager the country needs right now. The vice president to be named can provide the forward-thinking comprehensive planner for the future.

America, under Trump, suffers with a federal government that has failed its people in a time of extreme crisis. Trump’s “America First” slogan has taken on dark overtones as he presides over a country that leads the world in pandemic infections and deaths. Voters should remove Trump and end his reign of brazen incompetence.

But exposing Trump’s failures is not sufficient.

Biden must demonstrate that he has a plan, and a team, that can restore and renew America. A smart and transparent process for choosing his vice president would be a great start.



The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Tim Dwyer, Editorial Page Editor Paul Choiniere, Managing Editor Tim Cotter, Staff Writer Julia Bergman and retired deputy managing editor Lisa McGinley. However, only the publisher and editorial page editor are responsible for developing the editorial opinions. The board operates independently from the Day newsroom.


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