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2020 Veepstakes Guide: Part 2

Previously: Part 1

Welcome back! If you've read Part 1, I'm going to pick up directly where I left off.

Stacey Abrams (8%)

Stacey Abrams, who achieved national notoriety by losing a gubernatorial election in ruby-red Georgia by under 2% of the vote, is a former Georgia House of Representatives Minority Leader. She has been openly campaigning for the vice presidency for many months now, and is a rare politician who is honest about their goals.

Former State Rep. Stacey Abrams. Source: Hollywood Reporter.

Will She Be Picked?

For a long time, Stacey Abrams seemed like the obvious choice on a Biden ticket. Superficially, people in the media loved to point out how they "balance" each other: Biden is old, Abrams is young. Biden is male, Abrams is female. Biden is white, Abrams is black. Biden is experienced, Abrams is a rising star. Biden is a member of the "Old Guard," Abrams is a member of the "New Guard." They were a match made in heaven to represent the Democratic Party of 2020.

I just think Abrams' inexperience is something that the Biden team will look at as a major downside. The thought process might go that Harris or Klobuchar or whoever provides similar appeal but with more experience. I don't know what the actual thought process is or whether it more closely resembles the first paragraph or the second, or a different paragraph I haven't written.

With that in mind, I'm going to say that 8% is about right.

Would She Be Good?

I don't think the experience thing is actually a big issue. Look at history, for instance. Prior to his presidency, Abraham Lincoln was a former one-term Representative, and he went on to lead the country thru the Civil War. Barack Obama was a freshman Senator, and he passed Obamacare and got America out of the Great Recession. Donald Trump wasn't anything politically, and look how he turned out...I'm kidding on that one.

Abraham Lincoln was a former one-term Representative... Barack Obama was a freshman Senator...Donald Trump wasn't anything politically, and look how he turned out...I'm kidding on that one.

Regardless of experience, Stacey Abrams has been a courageous and outspoken leader for her community. She has truly been a public servant. And I know it's not a great heuristic for the vice presidency, but I've listened to multiple podcast interviews of her and she's never failed to impress me. She places a premium on accessibility.

Abrams predicts that she will be president by the year 2040. I'm not sure if that's true, but if it is, I'm looking forward to it. I think she would also be a fantastic VP. That's why I'm co-endorsing Stacey Abrams for Vice President of the United States.

Now, we're getting into some of the obscurer people.

Catherine Cortez Masto (8%)

Catherine Cortez Masto won election to the US Senate in 2018, beating Republican Joe Heck. It's kind of a shame, because at the time the other senator was Dean Heller. That's basically my background on Cortez Masto.

Will She Be Picked?

It's easy to assume that the ultimate nominee will be someone well-known, someone we're thinking about right now. However, some years that's simply not the case. The archetypical example would be Bill Clinton's 1992 selection of Al Gore. No one was considering Gore, primarily because they were both Southerners and he was thought to add nothing to the ticket. Point being, it's not always who looks best on paper. That's why it's good to keep a bunch of random qualified senators and governors in the backs of our minds.

In Cortez Masto's case, there have also been some rumors that Joe Biden is considering her. She is backed by fellow Nevadan and Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. I think 8% is approximately correct for Cortez Masto, though it's maybe a little high.

Point being, it's not always who looks best on paper. That's why it's good to keep a bunch of random qualified senators and governors in the backs of our minds.

Would She Be Good?

I have nothing to say here. She seems like a typical Democratic senator, so acceptable.

Gretchen Whitmer (7%)

Gretchen Whitmer, the first governor so far, is known most as "That Woman from Michigan." She has embraced the label. (Notice her shirt in this video.)

Will She Be Picked?

Gov. Whitmer is definitely fresh on people's minds. However, she is largely an unknown. She hasn't been seriously vetted for the vice presidency, and it's unclear how she will play outside her home state of Michigan. That said, she might be peaking at just the right time to be picked. I think 7% is correct.

Would She Be Good?

Probably fine.

Michelle Obama (6%)

Former First Lady Michelle Obama is certainly an outside-of-the-box pick. Unlike Hillary Clinton, she has never held political office. However, she is quite popular, with a net approval rating of +27.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama. Source: People.

Will She Be Picked?

First of all, Joe Biden is definitely on board. He literally said "I sure would like Michelle to be the Vice President." However, he expressed doubt that she would accept–which makes sense. Obama has never showed interest in political office, instead opting to make a difference in other ways. Which makes sense–again, she has never held elected or appointed office.

Michelle Obama, of course, is enormously popular. +27. I mentioned that. But part of that popularity is because people don't really know where she stands on many issues. They don't know whether she's more of a progressive or a moderate or what, so the is implied to be on everyone's side. The vice presidency would damage that reputation she has. So I'm not even sure I would accept if I were her.

The unique nature of an Obama selection–that is, the fact that her approval would virtually guarantee it–cuts thru the convolution that such a process would normally have. But that step is nowhere near a sure thing. 6% strikes me as a little bit high, actually. I think the true probability is closer to 2 or 3 percent. PredictIt always overvalues outside chances.

People don't really know where she stands on many issues.

Would She Be Good?

I don't know! She wouldn't be disastrous, probably, but I simply don't know how she would actually govern. Would she function as a virtual Barack Obama? Would she focus on progressive causes? Moderate-to-conservative causes? It's hard to know.

Hillary Clinton (4%)

You know who she is.

Will She Be Picked?

Haha, no.

Would She Be Good?

Haha, maybe. Not as good as other Democrats.

Val Demings (4%)

Val Demings is a member of the House of Representatives, representing Florida's 10th. A former police chief, she was selected as Trump's impeachment manager, and she is considered a moderate with some appeal to progressives.

Rep. Val Demings. Source: Wikipedia.

Will She Be Picked?

She strikes me as like Kamala Harris, but slightly worse. Both have backgrounds in law enforcement, careers that have drawn criticism today. Both have moved towards the left as of late, especially on issues such as guns. However, Demings is much less famous then Harris, as a representative instead of a senator.

Of course, she has less baggage then Harris. No debate feuding, no perceived failure of a presidential campaign. And she comes from the swing state of Florida, which could be perceived as an electoral advantage. So maybe there's that.

Overall, I think Demings is a midrange pick who could have appeal to different Democratic constituencies. She's certainly a dark horse, but one with the potential to win. However, I'm not totally sure what advantage she has compared to Harris. I would rate 4% as approximately correct.

Would She Be Good?

Val Demings has a solid record of service, but I can't say I know enough about her to fully assess her as vice president. She seems fine.

Tammy Duckworth (3%)

Tammy Duckworth was a helicopter pilot in the Iraq War, which is when she lost both of her legs. She went on to serve in the House of Representatives and the Senate, becoming the first disabled woman and the first Thai-American woman in that office, as well as being the first Senator to give birth in office.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth. Source: Britannica.

Will She Be Picked?

She reminds me of Catherine Cortez Masto and Gretchen Whitmer, except much more impressive. She represents everything that America is ostensibly about: the so-called American dream, courageous military service, and eventually public service. She would, however, be the first vice president not born in the United States, tho her father was an American citizen at the time. Also, this impressive backstory might be seen by some as "upstaging" Joe Biden.

That said, among the relatively unknown senator/governor class, Duckworth is one of the more impressive choices. I wouldn't count her out. Maybe a bit higher than 3%.

Would She Be Good?

From what I know right now, Tammy Duckworth would be an excellent Vice President of the United States. She has lived her life dedicated to public service and fought for the correct things while serving in Congress. That said, I don't know enough about her to give a full endorsement.

Susan Rise (2%)

Susan Rise, among other things, served as Barack Obama's National Security Advisor.

Will She Be Picked?

Nope. Joe Biden has a lot of foreign policy credibility, so that's really not what he needs to add to his administration. He will pick someone with strength on other issues.

Not horrible, but see above.

Would She Be Good?

Not horrible, but see above.

Michelle Lujan Grisham (2%)

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico is...just that.

Will She Be Picked?

Generic governor. Sure. Maybe.

Would She Be Good?

Generic governor. Sure. Maybe.

Andrew Cuomo (1%)

Andrew Cuomo is the governor of New York.

Will He Be Picked?

Biden promised to select a female running mate, and he won't back out of that promise. Not even to pick someone who's too conservative for the Democratic Party right now and not that good on some issues that maybe haven't gained prevalence right now.

I am, however, surprised that Cuomo is only at 1%. I thought PredictIt loved all the joke candidates.

Would He Be Good?

You know, I don't hate Andrew Cuomo. I think he's done a lot of things very well. But some people seem to really love him, which I don't especially get, as he is a bit too conservative for my tastes, and he doesn't seem to be that nice of a person. But I don't think we're going to get here.

That's A Wrap

I hope this gave you some interesting perspectives on the vice presidential race right now. It probably won't be announced until the convention, which seems to be many months away. So we have a long time to wait. And until then, we will continue to speculate.



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