Joe Biden is under pressure to pick a Black woman as his vice presidential running mate. But polls suggest the most popular prospect among Black Democrats is white.
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., are widely seen by Democratic officials and activists close to the process as front-runners, though other candidates remain in the mix and a Biden aide told NBC News that "the process is dynamic and ongoing and no final decision has been made."
The two senators and former Biden presidential rivals have reached an advanced vetting stage that suggests they are formidable contenders, according to multiple people familiar with the process. Both women held fundraisers with Biden this month, with Warren’s event raising $6 million and Harris’s event $3.5 million.
In a CBS News poll last month, Warren topped the list of prospects that Democrats wanted Biden to consider, followed by Harris. Warren even led among Black Democrats — 72 percent said she should be considered, with 60 percent saying the same of Harris.
The competing imperatives present a challenge for Biden, pitting the prospect of making history with the first Black woman as vice president and the prevailing evidence that Black voters may prefer Warren. The topic has gained heightened scrutiny due both to Biden’s age and the elevation of race relations as an issue amid the backlash to George Floyd’s death.
“I don’t support an all-white ticket,” said Aimee Allison, the president of She the People, a progressive group that works to promote women of color in politics. “That was a tremendous mistake in 2016. We have a party that’s half people of color and a quarter Black. The ticket needs to reflect that.”
Allison said Harris would be one of several “excellent candidates” for vice president, citing the former California attorney general’s outspoken push for racial justice in recent weeks as the Senate debates police reform.
Jorden Giger, a 29-year-old teacher and Black Lives Matter activist in South Bend, Indiana, disagreed. While he understands the need for a diverse ticket, he wants Biden to pick Warren.
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