NY Times Op-Ed Calls for Biden to Pick Stacey Abrams as His Running Mate

A new NY Times Op-Ed from Steve Phillips calls for Biden to pick Stacy Abrams as his running mate.

Abrams is currently the 3rd most likely running mate for Biden according to the prediction market of PredictIt.

Phillips writes:

As Joe Biden formally begins his vice-presidential selection process, he needs to find a running mate who strengthens the Democratic ticket in the areas where he is weakest. The nomination contest has highlighted three sizable shortcomings that imperil his quest to defeat President Trump.

First, he has failed to generate nearly any interest, let alone meaningful support, among young people in the presidential primaries. Second, he has consistently lost the Latino vote. And third, he suffers from a well-documented enthusiasm gap that could undermine his candidacy in the same way that Hillary Clinton failed to generate voter excitement, resulting in a drop in voter turnout among key constituencies, particularly African-Americans, whose diminished motivation and engagement resulted in the collapse of the Democratic “Blue Wall” states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Of the people most often mentioned as being on the vice-presidential short list, Stacey Abrams of Georgia, Senator Kamala Harris of California, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts have all run in statewide elections in which exit polls were conducted. That data offers the chance for an apples-to-apples comparison of relative electoral strength with the key demographic groups needed to strengthen the Democratic ticket.

A close examination of the electoral track records of the possible partners shows that Ms. Abrams best offers what Mr. Biden most needs (to be clear, Ms. Abrams is on the board of the Center for American Progress, where I am a senior fellow, but board members, including Ms. Abrams, have no input on what fellows write). In terms of success with young people, Barack Obama’s political popularity is unquestioned, and therefore his support levels among that demographic offer a valuable measuring stick. Of the potential nominees, only Ms. Abrams outperformed Mr. Obama in her state, winning the 18-to-29-year-old vote in Georgia by nearly 30 points; Mr. Obama lost that group by three points. Only Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, another common name on potential V.P. lists, equaled Mr. Obama’s performance with young voters in her state. The other contenders for whom there is data underperformed Mr. Obama in their most recent competitive race by significant margins.

The available data on popularity among Latinos is more limited, but in the states that do offer such information — Georgia, California, Michigan and Nevada — Ms. Abrams secured the most Latino support, garnering 62 percent of her state’s Latino vote in 2018. Ms. Cortez Masto, who is herself Latina, was also very strong with that demographic.

It is in the realm of African-American voter enthusiasm that Ms. Abrams is without peer. Not only did she win 93 percent of the black vote in her race for governor — a higher percentage than any of the other potential vice-presidential picks won in their statewide races — but few candidates (if any) in the history of this country have increased black turnout in a statewide election to the extent that Ms. Abrams did in 2018. Black voter turnout jumped 40 percent in Georgia in 2018, an astounding level of strength that not only can bring the Midwestern states back into the Democratic fold but also has the potential to expand the map of competitive states to Georgia, North Carolina, Florida and Texas.

Among the other contenders, a recent poll (by Data for Progress for the group Way to Win) found that Ms. Harris ran a close second to Ms. Abrams in terms of support among African-Americans.

Ultimately, Mr. Biden will make a pick based on comfort, fit and fitness for the office, and there is no shortage of talented women he can choose. If he wants to base his decision on the available evidence and proven success in areas where he has failed, then choosing Stacey Abrams is the smartest move.

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