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Who is Joe Biden's best pick as Vice President?
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Val Demings

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Demings provides insight into racism and police reform

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The Argument

Demings is well-positioned to help Biden on two key issues facing the nation as he heads into the election: Racism and police reform. Demings’ background and upbringing resonate with voters because she emulates the “American dream”. In an interview, she describes “being brought up poor, black and female in the South and being told enough times what I couldn’t do and what I couldn’t be.”[1] But, she overcame these obstacles and went on to become the police chief in Orlando, Florida in 2007 and is now a member of Congress. Her personal experience makes her a strong candidate to lead the charge in overcoming systemic racism in America. As a former police chief, Demings would bring a law and order element to Biden’s campaign.[1] This is especially relevant because Trump has repeatedly criticised Biden for being weak on crime. Professor of political science, Sharon Austin explains that “her law enforcement background can benefit the Biden campaign if she’s chosen because of her knowledge of policing practices and the types of reforms that are needed.”[2] Demings' insight into the Minority American experience and her knowledge fo the law enforcement system positions her well for Vice President because these are two key issues that the incoming administration will be dealing with when they take office.

Counter arguments

Demings’ tenure as police chief is also a problem, though, as her handling of police brutality has been widely criticized.[3] Progressive Democrats will be especially wary about her ability to lead a national police reform campaign given her record of deafening her own officers in cases brought against them of police brutality. The worry is that as a former police chief she will put off would-be voters. Secondly, unlike most of Biden’s other candidates for VP such as Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, Demings has not had a significant impact in congress beyond her role in Trump’s impeachment trial. [3] She has not been the face of any major legislation, so may struggle to offer much beyond her policing background. This highlights another issue of picking Demings for VP: she does not have the relevant political experience that Biden wants and needs. Biden wants someone who is ready to go on Day One of his Presidency, and Demings has not proven her ability to do so.[3]


Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Thursday, 13 Aug 2020 at 00:33 UTC

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