Former Vice President and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden is expected to announce his Vice Presidential pick by August 1. Although many people have expressed their desire for the role, such as former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, Biden has narrowed the search down to California Sen. Kamala Harris, Florida Rep. Val Demings, former Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, among others.
Biden made it clear that his pick would be a woman, and the recent discourse about race relations in America has hinted that he will choose a woman of color. Typically the search for Vice President is strategic, as candidates are looking for a staunch defender and ally in the White House while keeping a complimentary, low key profile. Current Vice President Mike Pence is a perfect example of this, as he continually backs up President Trump, and tends not to distract from the President’s agenda.
What is different regarding Biden’s search is that the Vice President will likely be serving a more significant role in comparison to previous Vice Presidents. Biden would be the oldest sitting President if elected, so the grim possibility is that his pick would become President if he were to die in office. Many have also questioned the mental wellbeing of Biden, citing his numerous gaffes on the campaign trail. A President with possibly deteriorating mental health is not new for the United States. After President Woodrow Wilson had a stroke in 1919, First Lady Edith Wilson stepped up and carried out many of the President’s duties. Regardless of how much someone may dislike Joe Biden, they should never be hoping that the possible leader of the free world would be in bad health.
Another reason why his Vice Presidential pick is significant is that they would likely skew the policy positions of the administration. Biden has expressed his desire to be a “transition candidate” and a President who ushers in a new generation of Democratic leadership. A moderate pick versus a more progressive pick would steer the administration politically and have a lasting impact on the nation’s future. It is unlikely that the administration’s actions will be of Biden’s own volition, but he will instead serve as a vessel for what the Vice President and Congress won’t, no matter how far left the policy is.
Although it is unknown who will be the next President, a Biden presidency would bring extra importance on the role of the Vice President. They will ultimately guide the direction of the administration and may have to be ready to lead the United States at a moment’s notice.