KEY POINTS

  • Biden has said he will pick a woman as his running mate
  • The Democrats are likely to focus on candidates who will do well in the Midwest
  • It is possible Biden chooses a progressive, but it's unlikely that it will be Elizabeth Warren

Now that Bernie Sanders has dropped out of the presidential race, Joe Biden can turn his attention to his vice president. Perhaps no presidential nominee in modern history has faced a more consequential VP pick, as Biden’s advanced age and the lack of enthusiasm for his candidacy expressed in polling are electoral weaknesses he will certainly attempt to address with his VP.

He has already declared that his running mate will be a woman, and here are five possible candidates he could select:

Kamala Harris

During a virtual fundraiser this week, Biden ramped up speculation that California Sen. Kamala Harris will be his pick, saying “I’m coming for you, kid.” Additionally, Harris set up a joint fundraising committee this week with the Democratic National Committee, which is typically reserved for nominees trying to attract large donations, further fueling speculation that she could be his VP. Sen. Harris’s prosecutorial past and history of grilling Trump administration officials in Senate hearings fit the “attack dog” profile that vice presidents typically occupy on the campaign trail.

Amy Klobuchar

Perhaps Biden’s closest ideological ally, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar was a key figure in consolidating support behind Biden on Super Tuesday. Historically, candidates who drop out and endorse their opponents receive jobs in their presidential administration. Klobuchar hails from the Midwest, which in theory could help Democrats recapture states like Wisconsin and Michigan.

Gretchen Whitmer

On Biden’s newly launched podcast this week, he praised Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, saying that “she is one of the most talented people in the country in my view.” In March, he stated that she “made the [VP] list two months ago.” President Trump recently lashed out at Whitmer, which has elevated her profile and provided her with an opportunity to demonstrate what she could bring to the campaign on a national stage. Given that she is also from the Midwest but hails from a state the Dems lost in 2016, she may have a leg-up on Klobuchar if the party is determined to pick someone they are certain could recapture Michigan.

Democratic presidential hopeful former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a Super Tuesday event in Los Angeles on March 3, 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a Super Tuesday event in Los Angeles on March 3, 2020 Photo: AFP / Frederic J. BROWN

Sara Nelson

If Biden is concerned about losing the votes of Bernie Sanders supporters, he may choose a progressive running mate. Many look to Elizabeth Warren as a logical choice, but she is just seven years younger than him and, with Massachusetts having a Republican governor who would appoint her replacement, her selection could lead to the Democrats losing a seat in the Senate. Sara Nelson is the International President of the Association of Flight Attendants, and she has gained fame in the U.S. as a labor leader over the last two decades. She has some foreign policy experience as well, as she was part of the airline industry’s responses to 9/11 and the SARS outbreak. There is likely no other potential progressive VP pick who checks more boxes for both the left and center of the party.

Tammy Baldwin

The Democratic path to victory in 2020 likely goes through the Midwest, which makes Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin another logical choice for Biden. She is the first openly gay person ever elected to the Senate, which should create more enthusiasm for the Biden ticket on the left. Two years after Trump won Wisconsin, she was reelected by a margin of 11 points, proving that she can win over many voters who backed President Trump in 2016.