The Democratic Party’s veepstakes may have narrowed down to two top contenders.
Out of all the potential running mates thought to be on Joe Biden’s shortlist, only two — California Sen. Kamala Harris and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren — spoke at the Texas Democratic Party’s state convention, which ended Saturday.
“These things don’t happen by accident,” Democratic strategist Brad Bannon told The Post. “I think those two are getting an audition in Texas.”
Top Dems saw the Lone Star State’s four-day online convention this week as a dry run for the party’s national convention, which will be mainly virtual amid coronavirus concerns.
“Justice is on the ballot in 2020,” Harris said. “When we speak the name George Floyd … we know that our country is still a work in progress, and we have got to fight.”
Warren, too, made Floyd’s killing the centerpiece of her speech.
“As a nation, we have some serious soul searching to do,” she said.
Race is critical to the Biden team’s political calculus, Bannon said.
“There is incredible pressure on Biden to pick a black running mate, and that was true even before George Floyd’s death,” he said. “Biden only won the nomination with overwhelming support from black voters. He needs to reward them.”
That gives Harris — the daughter of a Jamaican father and a mother who immigrated from India — the edge.
But a May 27 Morning Consult/Politico survey found that Warren would give Biden a bigger boost among voters overall.
More importantly, Warren’s bona fides as a progressive champion could shore up Biden’s weaknesses with Bernie Sanders voters.
“About 10% of the Bernie people voted for Trump in 2016, and even more of them didn’t vote at all,” Bannon said. Anything near that level of defections in 2020 could spell Democratic disaster in November.
“In case you’re wondering, I’m on my back porch in our made-up studio here, and it’s hot as the devil,” Biden greeted party members, seeking to re-create his trademark campaign-trail folksiness in a virtual setting.
He decried President Trump’s immigration policies in the four-minute address and promised that a Biden administration would fight “systemic racism” in the wake of the “brutal, horrifying killing of George Floyd.”
“As I’ve said, the very soul of this nation is at stake,” Biden said. “That’s why I’m running for president.”
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