Which is a MAJOR contrast to earlier along the way, when Biden was telling anyone who does listen his thoughts on various picks and individuals.
What to make of the newly buttoned-up Biden? That that he and his team are receiving down to the nitty-gritty and want to keep an extremely tight hold on the serious contenders — without offending others.
While Biden isn’t talking, the political environment has shifted subtly — again — over the past a couple of weeks. Whereas a lot of June was dominated by talk of race and police reform, the spikes in coronavirus cases in places like Arizona, Florida and Texas have brought the combat Covid-19 — and the ways in which President Donald Trump has botched it — back to the forefront in recent weeks.
I continue to think that Biden probably will pick a female of color as his running mate. But among that group, he may well put reasonably limited on past governing experience, given that as of at this time, the election looks to become a referendum on the competence (or lack thereof) in Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.
Below are my new rankings of the Top 10 women considered almost certainly to end up as Biden’s running mate this fall. And listed below are my last ratings
(These rankings change weekly, so if your chosen isn’t ranked where she should be — or isn’t even on the list — often there is next week. Necessary Michelle Obama caveat: The former first lady isn’t on this list because she’s never indicated an interest in being a politician. If she does so, she would instantly jump to the top of those rankings.)
10. Karen Bass
: The California Democrat, who also chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, could be the newest entrant into these rankings — propelled by favorable reviews from over the political spectrum (Jim Clyburn
! George Will!
) as well as her prominence on racial problems. That she hails from vote-rich California does not hurt either. (Previous ranking: Not ranked)
9. Tammy Baldwin: The senator from Wisconsin co-hosted a conference with Biden on Wednesday focused on potential treatments and a vaccine timeline for Covid-19. And we know she’s being vetted for the work. And that of the Midwestern states Biden wish to win in 2020, Wisconsin might well be the toughest — and Baldwin’s popularity would likely be an asset. But at the moment it feels as though she’s a bit of a declining stock. (Previous ranking: 9)
8. Gina Raimondo
: The more Biden looks like a success — and right now he very much does
— the more likely it really is that he and his team go for a governing pick as opposed to one that helps them in a certain state. Enter Raimondo, the governor of Rhode Island, who not only has won plaudits for her navigation of the state’s bureaucracy but also shares Biden’s pragmatic, results-oriented way of politics. (Previous ranking: 8)
7. Elizabeth Warren
: I know that other VP rankings have the senator from Massachusetts as much more likely to be Biden’s pick than I do. (One has her as the second most likely selection
.) I will be far more skeptical that Biden goes this route. Yes, Warren is just a national figure in her very own right and beloved by liberals. But she is also someone whose political style is at odds with Biden’s and who’s significantly more liberal than he could be on most problems. Plus, within an era where race is just a huge issue, does a White man want to pick a White woman as his running mate to lead the Democratic Party? (Previous ranking: 6)
6. Tammy Duckworth
: While I’ve been pointing to the senator from Illinois as the likeliest dark horse in the veepstakes for months now, she finally got a major burst of national attention within the last week thanks to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson
. Carlson called Duckworth a “moron” for suggesting she was open to a conversation about removing statues of George Washington and lumped her in with those who “actually hate America.” Those words rang especially hollow — and offensive — considering that Duckworth received a Purple Heart (and lost both of her legs) whenever a helicopter she was piloting was shot down over Iraq. Duckworth’s response to Carlson was pitch perfect: “Does @TuckerCarlson want to walk a mile in my legs and then tell me whether or not I love America?” she tweeted
. (Previous ranking: 7)
5. Val Demings
: The Florida congresswoman shot to prominence nationally thanks to a unique resume which includes a stint as the main of police in Orlando. Of late, however, her time spent in that job has slowed the momentum behind her possible selection as Biden’s VP. As Vox recently noted in a piece on Demings
: “Critics say Demings was part of a broader culture of violence in policing that’s present in Orlando and beyond. According to an investigation of use of force incidents by the Orlando Sentinel that was published in 2015, the Orlando Police Department in 2010 engaged in 20 percent more use of force incidents than Baton Rouge, a city of comparable size and population.” (Previous ranking: 4)
4. Michelle Lujan Grisham
: Unlike some of the other women with this list who’re on national cable TV virtually every night referring to the news of the day, Lujan Grisham is taking a far more down-home way of the veepstakes. The New Mexico governor, who is among the highest-ranking Latina officials in the united states, has stayed laser-focused on her home state’s response to the coronavirus
. (Previous ranking: 3)
3. Susan Rice: The more experience to make the levers of government work for people becomes an interest of conversation nationally, the greater Rice’s prospects look. The former ambassador to the United Nations and national security adviser during the Obama administration has unparalleled experience in how government works (and when it doesn’t). Plus, she’s a longer relationship with Biden than someone else on the list. (Previous ranking: 5)
2. Keisha Lance Bottoms
: The Atlanta mayor announced earlier this week that she had contracted Covid-19
, raising her personal stake in the combat the virus. That experience with a disease that’s almost certainly planning to be top-of-mind for voters come November lends her voice that much more power nationally. And it closes the gap even more between your Top 2 spots with this list. (Previous ranking: 2)
1. Kamala Harris: Same as it ever was. The senator from California is still the betting favorite to be Biden’s pick because she’s more pluses than someone else on this list: She’s a Black and Indian American woman from the massive Democratic state (in terms of votes and campaign dollars) who has been on the national stage these past 18 months. (Previous ranking: 1)
CNN’s Allison Gordon contributed to the report.