The Best Biden Lineup: VP Whitmer, AG Harris, Justice Abrams

Former EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg says that Joe Biden lacks political discipline and the ability and inclination to reflect on the possible impact of his interpersonal actions and statements before he acts or speaks. These flaws threaten Biden's ability to effectively deliver his center-left Democratic message.

Joe Biden is a huge favorite now not only for the Democratic presidential nomination, but also for the presidency itself in November.

There are two significant deficiencies in the Trump record which doom him to defeat in November.  The first is his total failure of leadership in the coronavirus crisis, resulting in a nightmarish international health and economic crisis.  The second is the horrific racist record of the Trump administration, as exemplified by their record on the two principle issues of police brutality and voter suppression.

In spite of the Fed cutting the interest rate to zero, Dow futures at this moment are down by 1,000 points, signifying a total loss of confidence in Donald Trump in both the domestic and international economy regarding his management of the coronavirus crisis.  In terms of remedial management of the crisis, the initiative in many ways has slipped from the White House to the various state governors, where two Democratic governors stand out, Andrew Cuomo in New York State and Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan.

The abysmal negative approval ratings of Trump in the African-American community have been central to the overwhelming success of Joe Biden in the primaries.  Trump’s negative approval ratings in Black America are in excess of 80 percent, and Biden’s share of the African-American community in virtually every primary exceeded 60 percent.

Biden is running well ahead of Trump in both the polls and the betting markets.  In order to guarantee himself a November victory, the challenge for Biden in selecting a running mate is complicated by two considerations.  He needs to stimulate a massive African-American turnout, which would go a long way towards guaranteeing him victory in every Rust Belt state, particularly Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, the three states that made possible Trump’s victory in 2016. That has been a key factor in a preference for a leading African-American politico as a running mate.

At the same time, executive experience in responding to the coronavirus crisis on the part of a Democratic governor has become a far more valued credential than the legislative experience of a U.S.Senator, making the experience of a Gretchen Whitmer a far more valuable political and policy asset than the legislative experience of the Democratic US Senators who ran for president this year, Kamala Harris (California), Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota), and Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts).

There is a way that Joe Biden can make the likely appointments to his administration supremely attractive to African-American voters and citizens looking for a vice president with major executive experience on matters like the coronavirus.

The two most significant appointments for Joe Biden regarding the issues of voter suppression and police brutality are 1) US Supreme Court; and 2) US Attorney General.  Biden has already pledged to appoint the first African-American woman to be nominated for the Supreme Court.  He could also pledge to appoint an African-American woman for US Attorney General.

He could then select Gretchen Whitmer as his vice presidential running mate, whose presence on the ticket would go a long way towards assuring Joe of victory in Michigan. His subordinates could let it be known that his preferences for 1) his first US Supreme Court nomination is the brilliant legal scholar, Yale graduate, and   Georgia State Senator Stacey Abrams: and 2) his US Attorney General is the former California Attorney General and US Senator from California Kamala Harris.

It is essential for Biden to first consult with South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn, whom I regard as one of our nation’s greatest living Americans.  His endorsement of Biden in the South Carolina primary was the leading factor enabling Joe to capture front runner status.

If Clyburn gives the approval for these three appointments, it would virtually guarantee a massive turnout on Biden’s behalf of both African-American and white voters this November.  Joe and Jill Biden could begin making their plans to move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Keep your eye on the trio of Gretchen, Kamala, and Stacey!

Alan J. Steinberg served as regional administrator of Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush and as executive director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission.

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