Joe Biden is considering Gov. Whitmer as his running mate. Here's why she shouldn't do it.

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Former Vice President Joe Biden, left, and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. - GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER'S TWITTER
  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's Twitter
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden, left, and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

In a March Democratic debate, former Vice President Joe Biden made headlines when he promised that his running mate would be a woman.

Which woman? He didn't say. But we now know that he has been strongly considering the person who President Trump recently dismissed as "the woman in Michigan" — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.



Biden told MSNBC's Brian Wilson in an interview aired on Tuesday that Whitmer made his shortlist "two months ago." But he also said he's considering up to 10 potential candidates.

There's no doubt that Whitmer has proved herself to be a rising star and a decisive leader, especially during the trial of the coronavirus. She's stood up to President Donald Trump on national television in recent weeks, castigating the administration for dithering during the coronavirus outbreak and refusing his demands for quid pro quo when he threatened to withhold aid in exchange for praise.



But Whitmer should probably do what she told Michiganders to do to weather the pandemic — and just stay home.

For one, she was just elected in 2018. Her four-year term as governor doesn't end until 2023. Shouldn't she finish her first term before thinking of moving up to the second-highest position in the country? And shouldn't she stay here in Michigan to help the state fight off and recover from the virus and the economic downturn it has wrought — the most dire calamity to hit the state in our lifetimes?

Plus, those damn roads still need to be fixed.

Then there's the matter of Trump. Michigan is a decisive election battleground state that Trump won by some 10,000 votes in 2016. A Democratic victory in 2020 will mean picking up some Trump voters. Adding Whitmer to the Democratic ticket seems unlikely to accomplish this, given that she's now on Trump's shit list. The ongoing feud has already devolved into Trump bestowing her with one his stupid nicknames — quite possibly his dumbest one yet — "Gretchen 'Half' Whitmer." Cringe.

Even Trump's aides are warning him to de-escalate the feud. "This is not the time where we need more drama in this country," Republican Michigan Rep. Paul Mitchell told the Associated Press. The feud will inevitably open up if Whitmer is Trump's top rival's running mate.

Lastly, the 2020 election is not just a contest between Republicans and Democrats. It's also between the centrist Democrats and the progressive wing of the party, which has rallied around Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has not yet dropped out of the race. At Sanders' last rally in Detroit, I asked people in the crowd if they would vote for Biden should Sanders lose the nomination. Many people I spoke with said "hell no."

Winning these people over will be crucial for Biden to succeed. To do so, he should consider a more progressive running mate — someone like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who shares many of Sanders' views, or someone like former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who would add much needed racial diversity to the ticket.

Anyway, perhaps it's too early to be talking about a running mate. Despite the mainstream media's blatant desire for Biden to win, he has not yet clinched the nomination. And the coronavirus, which has laid bare the growing, ugly chasm of inequality in the U.S., could yet vindicate Sanders — if not in the presidential race, then in the battle of ideas.

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