Hey, ‘tis the season. So why not?! My sense is it will take a village for the Democrats to win the Presidency and take back the Senate while keeping the House in 2020. This idea is not original. Both David Brooks and Tom Friedman of the New York Times have already made this point. Brooks talks about a “band of rivals,” i.e., a leadership team made up of the original Democratic candidates for President. I think about it as Biden’s All-Star Team.
Let’s start with why Biden versus Bernie. First, both are 78 years old, both come from working-class families, and both have long experience in government. Bernie was mayor of Burlington, VT, a town of 43,000 (2018), for eight years in the 80s. The longest-serving Independent member of Congress in U.S. history, he was in the House for 16 years and has been Vermont’s junior U.S. Senator for 13. According to a March 12, 2016 Politico article, “Sanders [has] had big ideas but little impact on Capitol Hill.” He also strikes me as more of an Old Testament prophet than a later-day manager, plus he seems like a one-man band, not an ensemble player. He’s right, I believe, about America’s needing to become a more egalitarian society along European lines with affordable healthcare, daycare, and education through college for all, but I wonder if he has the skills and temperament to deliver these things as President. Biden has more impressive credentials: After representing Delaware for 36 years in the Senate, he spent eight years as President Obama’s VP. Though his record in the Senate is mixed, he was known as a coalition-builder and appears to be much more of a team-player than Sen. Sanders.
So, Biden for President, but who for VP? Qualification should be age (less), geographical diversity, and ethnic outreach. The three possibilities I see—all with strengths and weaknesses—are (alphabetically) Pete Buttigieg, Julián Castro, and Amy Klobuchar. The first is super-young, bright, articulate (not necessarily Biden’s strong suit), and has a military background. He might help Biden take youth voters from Bernie (if Biden announced him early enough) and shore him up in the Midwest. Castro, also young relative to Joe, would attract Hispanic voters nationally, urban voters, and regional voters from the Southwest. Klobuchar, another younger person and a super-effective Senator, would help Biden take the Midwest.
And now the Cabinet. I suggest that Biden name his “team” as soon as possible and harp on the fact that both Bernie and Trump are extremists, one from the left, the other the right. As important, neither is a team-player. Put another way, both are opinionated New York prima donnas who think they can do it all on their own. Biden by contrast would have his All-Star Team with folks like the multi-lingual Rhodes Scholar Pete Buttigieg (if not VP) as Secretary of State; Elizabeth Warren as HHS Secretary; Mike Bloomberg as Secretary of the Treasury (or Education); Tulsi Gabbard as Secretary of Defense; Cory Booker as HUD Secretary; Castro (if not VP) as Homeland Security Director; Tom Steyer as Commerce Secretary; Kamala Harris as Attorney General; and Amy Klobuchar (if not VP) as Secretary of the Interior. Go team!