They say that picking a running mate is the most personal choice a president ever gets to make. We don’t know whom Joe Biden is going to end up picking. But by now, there’s a good chance he knows. It’s easier when you already know who’s going to be the general election opponent, and you already have a feel for what the race is likely to look like. Earlier this week Palmer Report asked if the time was right for Biden to make the rare move of pre-announcing his running mate now.
Considering how thoroughly Joe Biden dominated in South Carolina on Saturday night, and just how poorly all of his mainstream Democratic opponents did in the state, the answer is now probably yes. It’s no longer too early. Biden is the only actual Democrat in the race who still has a realistic shot at the nomination. It wouldn’t be all that presumptive of a move. It would be seen as a unity ticket, aimed at fending off bumbling extremist Bernie Sanders and corporate centrist Mike Bloomberg.
It would be the start of a mainstream coalition. Joe Biden could announce before Super Tuesday that Kamala Harris or Stacey Abrams would be his running mate. If he picks Abrams, he could announce Harris as his nominee for Attorney General. If he could convince Buttigieg to drop out, he could announce Buttigieg as his nominee Secretary of States. Ask Amy Klobuchar what role she sees herself in. Put together an all-star roster. Lincoln called it a team of rivals. This would just be a team of actual Democrats, in order to fend off the interlopers who are trying to hijack the party, and then take Donald Trump down.
There are downsides to this kind of strategy, of course. There’s a reason that candidates don’t normally make these kinds of pre-announcements. But these aren’t normal times. Joe Biden and his all-star team could put in a strong showing on Super Tuesday and go from there. If Biden wants to aggressively capitalize on his huge South Carolina win, the time is now.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report