Bernie Sanders’ commanding victory in the Nevada Caucuses demonstrated that the senator from Vermont can coalesce coalitions of diverse voters, bolstering his argument about his electability. It also gave him the kind of momentum that could — and should — similarly carry him to win the South Carolina primary this coming weekend, theoretically spelling delegate doom for the remaining candidates who were seemingly teetering on already being relegated to also-ran statuses following the first three contests of the young primary season.
South Carolina is, of course, the first chance for a large contingency of Black voters to have their voices rise above the fray of the mostly white folks who have participated in the lone primary and both caucuses. Many pundits agree that South Carolina is Joe Biden‘s last chance to stop Sanders, who, with a win in the Palmetto State, would move from front-runner to presumptive nominee.
Should Sanders also perform well in Tuesday’s debate in South Carolina and ride this wave of support on his way to receiving the Democratic nomination, one of the next logical questions moving forward is who would be his vice-presidential running mate. That, of course, makes Black women a very logical answer to that question. And despite a recent controversy over criticism of Sanders’ Black women supporters, several prominent Black women have been fervently backing the senator for some time now. That was in addition to Sanders’ growing support among Black voters, which has eaten into a considerable chunk of what was once Biden’s commanding lead in that category.
Up until the Iowa Caucuses kicked off earlier this month, all of the talk surrounding vice presidential picks was centered on Biden, whose campaign was suffering the damning optics of barely clinging to life despite insisting the opposite is true. But as soon as the results were questionable — whether that’s the DNC’s fault is another story — so, apparently, was Biden’s electoral viability. And while the first two contests showed who white voters prefer — Sanders — voters of color finally got a chance to chime in by participating in the Nevada Caucuses on Saturday. After Sanders won decidedly, many pundits were all but handing the nomination to Sanders.
With that said, we already know Biden shrewdly said he would consider Black women to be his running mate if he should become the nominee. He’s made no secret of it. But Sanders has been all but mum on the topic, offering not a single presumptuous hint to where he might be leaning toward.
There is also the issues of Sanders’ age — he’ll be 79 by the time Election Day rolls around — and his health — he’s fresh off a heart attack in October — to contend with, factors that may prompt some to feel an elevated sense of urgency and importance surrounding his potential choice of running mate.
“If the Democratic Party is paying attention to this actuarial action—and I think it is—their next veep nominee won’t be another no-name ticket balancer picked to satisfy the geographic, gender, and ethnic needs of the ticket. Rather, he or she will be selected with the understanding that he or she stands a higher statistical chance of completing the term of the president than previous vice presidents,” Jack Shafer wrote for Politico last week. “Instead of nominating one prospective president, the Democrats, especially, will effectively be nominating two. In the absence of a crystal ball, there’s no way to determine whether the winning candidate will survive four years in office. But it shouldn’t take a crystal ball to see that the advanced ages of these candidates should be a major campaign issue.”
Since there remains so much suspicion surrounding where his political allegiances truly lie, the former Independent politician might — like Biden — want to consider aligning himself with a Black woman vice presidential candidate, seeing that Black women have long been and still are widely considered to be the backbone of the Democratic Party.
Lucky for Sanders, and the country, there is no shortage of talented Black women for him to choose from to be a vice-presidential running mate should he have the opportunity to do so as the Democratic nominee. If the true objective is to beat Trump and complete the job of removing him from office that the Senate could not do, then a Black women vice presidential candidate is the way to go.
Scroll down to see some of the qualified Black women who Sanders — or whoever the Democratic nominee turns out to be — can, and maybe should, choose from. The follow in alphabetical order.
1. Stacey AbramsSource:iOne Digital/Creative Class
Asking Stacey Abrams to be your vice-presidential running mate is all but a no brainer. After falling victim to voter suppression in 2018 during her historic bid to be the first Black women governor, Abrams has been busy leading her Fair Fight organization to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen to her fellow Democrats on Election Day 2020. Not to mention that she told the New York Times in August that she would be open to being the vice-presidential candidate for “any nominee.”
With Abrams’ rising star power within the Democratic Party, she would add much-needed diversity — and youth (she’s 46) — to a Bernie Sanders presidential ticket.
2. Kamala HarrisSource:Getty
After Harris suspended her campaign, she immediately became a viable option to be tapped as a potential vice-presidential running mate. Many candidates have been stealing from her campaign playbook – literally and figuratively – underscoring how much stronger she would make a Sanders Democratic ticket. There is also the fact that she has been one of Trump’s most staunch critics who played a major role in the Senate impeachment trial despite its outcome. The combination of the above makes Harris a formidable political ally that theoretically increases the chances of beating Trump, which Democrats have said all along is their primary objective.
3. Letitia JamesSource:Getty
James has emerged as one of the nation’s top attorneys general. The fact that she’s from Trump’s hometown and has initiated crucial investigations into the president’s finances — the latter of which Sanders and other Democrats have placed a heavy focus on — can’t be ignored when discussing why James would strengthen any ticket, but especially Sanders’. She might have an issue with widespread name recognition, but the Howard University Law School graduate would almost definitely inspire Black voters to continue rallying behind Sanders, something that would help ensure victory on Election Day.
4. Michelle ObamaSource:Getty
Does this choice really need an explanation? Trump has attacked the Obamas to no end, but the arguably better half of the first Black first family running alongside Sanders would likely put the fear of God in the current president’s campaign for re-election. Michelle Obama knows the ins and outs of presidential life and can be an undeniable asset to any candidate. While the chances of Sanders picking her — and her accepting — would be a longshot, the 2016 election has shown the country why they should never eliminate any possibility from becoming reality.
5. Ayanna PressleySource:Getty
The outspoken freshman Congresswoman from Boston has been one of the strongest supporters for her fellow Massachusetts politician Elizabeth Warren. But if Sanders is the nominee, choosing Pressley would be a boon with Black voters as well as Warren’s supporters, theoretically bolstering an already strong following and campaign. Pressley has been the subject of Trump’s racist attacks, too, something that a Sanders-Pressley team could use to their advantage to galvanizing voters who have no tolerance for bigotry in the Oval Office.
6. Terri SewellSource:Getty
The Congresswoman from Alabama went hard at Trump and his associated during the House impeachment hearings, which automatically qualifies her to be a vice-presidential candidate for anyone. And with the fact that Republicans have won Alabama in every presidential election since 1980, bringing her on board with Team Sanders could help make history in 2020 in multiple ways.
7. Maxine WatersSource:Getty
This one is a long shot since she’s even older than Sanders. But if there was ever anyone up for the fight against Team Trump, it’s Auntie Maxine, who has been a consistent thorn in the president’s side and one of the most vocal supporters for removing him from office. Can you imagine a debate with Mike Pence against Maxine Waters? We’re here for it.
8. Oprah WinfreySource:Getty
Since America is really interested in electing TV stars, it obviously gets no bigger than Oprah. The media maven has already said she’s not interested in running for president, so presumably becoming a vice-presidential candidate is also out of the question. But, again, if the objective is to beat Trump and Sanders calls on Oprah to help him do so, you never know how she might respond.