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Est. April 5, 2002
June 25, 2020 - Issue 824
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Biden Picks VP ‘In Midnight Hour’

"The Biden campaign has yet to invest in a comprehensive
strategy to counter voter suppression, enhance black and
other minority voter turnout, monitor the increasing
manipulation of the absentee/mail-in ballot process, and
plan for preventing the election from being contested and
ultimately decided by the Supreme Court of the United States. 
In the latter case, Trump will win as George W. Bush did in 2000."

To paraphrase Wilson Pickett’s R&B hit from the 1960s, “In the Midnight Hour when the political infighting comes tumbling down,” Joe Biden is nearly ready to make his VP pick. The maneuvering for the job has heightened since Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) withdrew from consideration last week, advised Biden to make the historic selection of a woman of color, and unilaterally narrowed the field to minority female candidates.

Klobuchar ended her presidential campaign after a poor showing in the South Carolina primary two days before Super Tuesday and after Minnesota’s Black Lives Matter and the NAACP demanded that she leave the race due to her racist record in prosecuting African American males while serving as Attorney for Hennepin County, Minnesota from 1999-2007.

Sen. Klobuchar smoothly exited both contests portraying herself as a selfless politician who sacrificed her personal political ambitions for the good of the Democratic Party. But in reality, she had no chance of winning the Democratic presidential nomination and even less of a chance of being chosen as Biden’s running mate.

Nevertheless, the two remaining African American cops on Biden’s vice presidential radar are pulling out all stops to secure the position. Democratic progressives are still concerned about Sen. Kamala Harris’s (D-CA) malevolent criminal justice record. She fought tooth and nail to uphold the wrongful convictions of hundreds of African American and Latinx males while serving as City Attorney for San Francisco and did not stop her pursuit of their mass incarceration until the court overruled her.

In an attempt to atone for her distasteful prosecutorial record, she is now co-sponsoring The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 with Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) in the Senate. Booker’s record in policing is as terrible as hers. While Mayor of Newark, New Jersey from 2006 to 2013, he oversaw a police department whose excessive force and corruption record was so severe that it was placed under a Consent Decree by the Obama administration after Booker was elected to the U.S. Senate.

Even more disturbing is that he handpicked a conservative, white police commissioner, Gary McCarthy, to preside over an 85 percent black and Latinx city. McCarthy went on to become police commissioner of Chicago. In 2014, one of his white officers, Jason Van Dyke, shot a black male teen, Laquan McDonald, 16 times, while he was walking away from him. More than ten of the shots were fired while McDonald lay in the street. McCarthy covered up the dashcam video of the crime for more than a year and was then fired.

Van Dyke’s 2018 murder conviction marked the first time a Chicago police officer had been imprisoned for murder for an on-duty shooting in 50 years. The State of Illinois placed Chicago’s Police Department under a formal Consent Decree on January 31, 2019 as a result of this incident and other issues of dishonest policing.

Harris’s fellow cop aspirant to be Biden’s VP, Rep. Val Demings (D-FL), has also come under attack for her record as Orlando, Florida’s police chief. “She’s been a cop’s cop,” said Miles Mulrain, 30, a community organizer in Orlando who protested police violence and lived in Orlando while Demings served as chief. The department paid out millions of dollars to settle suits over police abuse.

Demings also co-sponsored, the police union-written H.R. 1325: Protect and Serve Act of 2019 with her Republican colleague, Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL), a former sheriff. It provided enhanced penalties for targeted assaults on police officers, was passed with bipartisan support in the House, but languished in the Senate. Rutherford and Demings have reintroduced the bill.

Despite the pushback on her police record and pro-cop advocacy, Demings has said she stands on her record and that she would be an asset should she be chosen to run as vice president. In responding to Black Lives Matter and other progressive groups, she states that her understanding of the police culture and the system would better position her to change it, the same argument made by Sen. Harris. However, Demings’s and Harris’s combined 40 plus years of service as dedicated cops have yielded few positive outcomes for black Americans.

Dr. Susan Rice, the Obama Administration’s African American National Security Advisor, is being touted for VP based on her foreign policy experience. She is keeping her head down hoping that her former boss might put in a good word. Rice has no standing in the national African American community and would bring little to the ticket.

Meanwhile, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is not going away quietly. Her liberal Democratic donor backers are still bending Biden’s ear on her behalf. In addition, Warren has vocal support from some of the most prominent racial justice activists, online influencers, celebrities (like John Legend) and scholars whom she has assiduously courted.

She also has the highest favorability rating among Democratic primary voters, polls strongly in the Midwest, is the first choice of Sanders’s voters, and polls well in Ohio and Florida, key battleground states that could determine who wins the presidential election.

Warren has raised lots of money for Biden, and she is engaged in an intense lobbying effort to be chosen as his VP. At 71, she realizes that this is her last chance to be viable as a Democratic vice presidential or presidential candidate. As possibly the last white woman in serious consideration, she is going for what she knows. She plans to be in the mix when Biden makes his choice “In the Midnight Hour,” and hopes the walls don’t tumble down on her.

The Biden campaign has kept a tight lid on his preferred choice so far, but it is failing miserably in preparing Biden to run a successful campaign. Trump is disassembling before our very eyes in his handling of COVID-19, his willingness to risk the lives of his base to hold his rallies, and his continued use of our military to quench his narcissistic thirst for personal praise.

Furthermore, the Biden campaign has yet to invest in a comprehensive strategy to counter voter suppression, enhance black and other minority voter turnout, monitor the increasing manipulation of the absentee/mail-in ballot process, and plan for preventing the election from being contested and ultimately decided by the Supreme Court of the United States. In the latter case, Trump will win as George W. Bush did in 2000.

When Biden selects his VP “In the Midnight Hour,” it may well be an exercise in futility unless he revises his campaign strategy.

links to all 20 parts of the opening series Columnist, Dr. Walter C. Farrell, Jr., PhD, MSPH, is a Fellow of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado-Boulder and has written widely on vouchers, charter schools, and public school privatization. He has served as Professor of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and as Professor of Educational Policy and Community Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Contact Dr. Farrell and BC.

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