This article first appeared at Betfair Australia’s The Hub, on 28th April 2020
Given that the Democrat convention has been pushed forward until at least August due to coronavirus, Joe Biden still has several months to pick his running mate and ponder which dynamics carry the most weight.
Whilst he has already confirmed he’s looking for a woman to create a gender-balanced ticket, it remains unclear whether he will focus on ethnicity, ideology, experience or particular traction in swing states when choosing between dozens of plausible candidates. Here are my rankings for the top-ten – irrespective of where they currently stand in the betting.
1 – AMY KLOBUCHAR
The Minnesota Senator is not favourite but her lack of weaknesses warrant the top ranking. Her primary bid was effectively a shadow of Biden’s moderate platform. Her endorsement once withdrawing and instant elevation to top surrogate was highly predictable. She is perfect for the electorally critical Mid-West.
My instinct is that their joint brand is precisely what is required to beat Trump. Moderate, impossible to paint as extreme. Perfect for winning Independents and non-partisans who merely want a return to normality, stability. Klobuchar is also the ideal ‘replacement-president-in-waiting’ – important given that Biden’s opponents will inevitably focus on his age and persist in accusing him of ‘cognitive decline’.
2 – ELIZABETH WARREN
The one risk in a Biden-Klobuchar ticket is alienating the Left that enthusiastically backed Bernie Sanders’ socialist agenda. In that respect, Warren would fare much better at uniting the party and potentially negating some of the candidate’s more controversial past positions – regarding Wall Street, for example. She would add energy to Biden’s relatively lifeless campaign. I’ve backed her at much bigger odds, between $15 and $19, and have not laid back yet.
She is definitely a frontline contender and also ticks the president-in-waiting box. Warren has said she would accept the offer and it was reported in 2016 that Biden had earmarked her for the role had he chosen to run. He’s recently adopted some of her positions – no Democrat had a more policy-heavy platform.
As with my number one selection, however, there is one negative. Were Warren to be VP, the Republican Governor of her Massachusetts state would be free to temporarily appoint a replacement Senator from his party, thus severely hampering Democrat legislative plans.
3 – GRETCHEN WHITMER
Governor Whitmer has drifted in the betting as a consequence of her fight in locking down Michigan, which brought her into direct conflict with President Trump and protesters. He dismissed her as ‘the woman from Michigan’, thus significantly boosting her national profile and potentially providing a great narrative moving forward.
A young, pragmatic female Governor taking on Trump could be of great assistance to the ageing former VP and Whitmer will play well in the Mid-West. She has apparently been friendly with Biden for years and appeared on his podcast. I reckon she remains high on his shortlist and good value at $17.50.