Joe Biden commits to picking woman running mate if he wins Democratic presidential nomination

Former Vice-President Joe Biden on Sunday committed to selecting a woman as his running mate if he won the Democratic presidential nomination and to appointing the first African American woman justice of the Supreme Court.

Indian American Senator Kamala Harris has figured in many speculative lists of Biden’s running mate, along with Senator Amy Klobuchar, Georgia state politician Stacey Abrams; and former deputy attorney general Sally Yates, who first alerted the Trump White House to lying by former national security adviser Michael Flynn about his contacts with Russians.

Biden’s announcement could also have implications for Republicans. Though President Donald Trump has declared he will stay with Vice-President Mike Pence for his 2020 re-election bid, he has seemed inclined to pick his former ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, another Indian American.

“I will pick a woman to be vice president,” Biden said at a Democratic presidential debate , adding, “There are a number of women who are qualified to be president tomorrow.” He has spoken before about picking a woman running mate, and there are more women in the list of his probables than men. Sunday night, however, was a commitment.

Biden, who appears to be the presumptive nominee, could pick someone else entirely. But whoever it is, she will not be the first running mate. Geraldine Ferraro ran with Democratic Presidential nominees Walter Mondale in 1984, and Sarah Palin with Republican nominee John MaCain in 2008. They all lost.

Sanders hedged when asked by one of the moderators to respond to the vice-president’s announcement. “In all likelihood, I would,” Sanders said, adding, however, that progressive ideology more than gender would cut for him. But he checked himself in time to wrap up his matching commitment. “There are progressive women out there,” he said.

The Sunday debate took place in CNN’s studios in Washington DC instead of Phoenix, Arizona where it was originally scheduled to be held, because of the coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 3,500 Americans, killed at least 65, shut down schools and colleges and upended life.

Biden and Sanders came to the Sunday debate as key rivals for the Democratic nomination even though Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard remains in the race technically.

The former vice-president is the clear frontrunner who, it is widely perceived, is wrapping up the nomination, building on his recent victories. He is expected to consolidate his gains in the upcoming primaries in Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio coming Tuesday, which, some Democratic strategists are saying could be the last in the Democratic 2020 presidential primaries.