Joe Biden’s team is reportedly considering Illinois Senator and Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth as a potential running mate after a handful of other candidates met with resistance from potential Democratic voters.
Left-leaning commentators have been pushing for Biden to consider Duckworth for some time — The New York Times has featured at least two op-eds calling for Biden to select Duckworth in just the last several days — but Biden’s team has been set on selecting an African-American female running mate for the former vice president, concerned that racial tensions, which have risen dramatically since the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.
Each offered running mate, though, has met with resistance. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) seems to have difficult enticing voters from across the aisle, Florida Rep. Val Demings is a former police officer and police chief who presided over a department rife with ethical concerns, and other candidates simply don’t have name recognition.
Duckworth, however, Democratic strategists contend, “has a military background and an inspiring path into politics, both of which could be assets to Biden’s campaign. She is a Purple Heart recipient who overcame a grievous combat wound – she lost both of her legs in Iraq when her helicopter was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade – to become the first-ever Thai American woman elected to Congress.”
She’s also a front-and-center Member of Congress who has led Democrat efforts on police reform and fought for the right to bring her newborn children with her to work on the floor of the Senate.
There are drawbacks, notably that Duckworth is from Illinois, a state where a Biden victory is all but assured.
“I think if you’re looking for a woman to relate to family issues, to relate to the inequities that have sent people of all demographics into the street demanding change, she’s responsive,” Democratic strategist Mark Halperin told CNBC, “but I think you will find other candidates who are more of a leader in that regard.”
Biden’s search for a running mate, The Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch reports, has received “outsized” attention given that Biden has had difficulty commanding attention on a national stage. Coronavirus-related lockdown restrictions have, thus far, prevented the former vice president from holding public rallies (though his opponent, President Donald Trump, has returned to in-person appearances), and cable news spots have ended badly for Biden, who appears to have difficulty on camera.
His age has also “prompted questions about whether he would serve two terms as president.”
Biden does remain comfortably in the lead in most national polls and narrowly edges out Trump in most battleground states — a phenomenon the Trump White House says it is now taking seriously, despite previous comments from the president dismissing his sagging poll numbers.
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