UPDATED: 9:51 p.m. ET, March 15 —
Joe Biden during the Democratic debate Sunday night vowed that his “running mate will be a woman,” repeating a pledge he made at the last debate and igniting rumors about who he might have in mind. With the presumption that Biden, if he is the Democratic nominee, would select a Black woman, the leading choices were Stacey Abrams and Kamala Harris.
The rumors were reminiscent of a couple of weeks ago following Biden’s resounding victory in the South Carolina primary , which quickly paved the way for a spirited online debate about his presumed Democratic nomination and who the former vice president should pick as his running mate.
The social media discussion propelled Abrams’ name to be the top trending topic on Twitter in the hours after Biden was declared the South Carolina primary’s big winner in a race that was really a referendum on who Black voters prefer to be the Democratic nominee for president. Of course, to those who have been following this political season closely, Abrams has already long-been a name associated with a Biden presidential ticket.
But most recently, her name has been linked to Bernie Sanders, who won the New Hampshire primary and the Nevada Caucuses and has the lead among pledged delegates despite his second-place loss in South Carolina on Saturday. Online oddsmaker Bovada named Abrams as having the best chance of being the vice-presidential nominee, but it was for Sanders and not Biden. Abrams’s name was followed by Harris and Nina Turner, another Black woman and former Ohio senator who is one of Sanders’ top surrogates.
With Biden’s primary wins, those odds probably got rejiggered and then some, which would explain Abrams and Harris being in the conversation that has been redirected to the former vice president’s potential running mates.
Abrams has made it no secret that she would be interested in being a vice-presidential candidate. In September, the former Georgia gubernatorial candidate said she’d be “honored” to be considered for the nominee’s running mate. And just about a year ago, Abrams reportedly met with Biden at his request, sparking speculation that he was grooming her to be his running mate.
But it was just last month when Biden specifically said he would “consider” Harris for “anything,” leading some to believe he was talking in the context of her possibly being his running mate.
“She’s qualified to be president, and I’d consider her for anything that she would be interested in,” Biden said during a taping of the Sacramento Bee’s California Nation podcast.
The logic is obvious — diversity is needed to defeat an anti-diversity president who has attacked his fair share of Black women. The choice of a Black woman vice-presidential running mate would provide a unique challenge for Team Trump that would allow a shrewd Democratic Party to highlight the president’s racism while rallying Black voters and Black women, both of whom have been described as the backbone of the Democratic Party.
Biden’s wins have solidified the thought process that Black voters prefer him to other candidates because of his loyalty to Barack Obama, the nation’s first Black president. And with South Carolina exit polls pointing to Black voters wanting a return to the Obama administration instead of the progressive ideas embraced by Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg, it was clear why Black voters cast ballots for Biden.
If he is able to sustain this momentum heading into Super Tuesday next week, the speculation over who would be most beneficial to Biden as the Democratic nominee — Abrams or Harris — could quickly become more concrete.