For presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, the latest twist in his decision on a choice for a running mate was about as subtle as a bank holdup — and just as threatening.
A group of more than 100 prominent black men from the entertainment, sports and legal worlds published an open letter to the former vice president on Monday with a simple message:
He can choose a black woman to fill out the Democratic presidential ticket, or he can lose the election.
NEW: More than 100 Black male leaders sign letter demanding Joe Biden pick Black woman as VP. “Failing to select a Black woman … means YOU WILL lose the election … Black women are defining the future of politics so it’s time you let one define the future of your campaign.” pic.twitter.com/HOJs0d8q8h
— Kat Stafford (@kat__stafford) August 10, 2020
“As someone who has said throughout the campaign that VP Joe Biden needs to choose a Black woman VP, the urgency for that pick has gone from something that SHOULD happen to something that HAS to happen,” the letter declared.
It went on to attack the criticisms Biden’s black potential running mates have received — particularly California Sen. Kamala Harris, whose ambition for the top job is barely disguised (and would be disastrous for the country as a whole).
“Was Joe Biden ever labeled ‘too ambitious’ because he ran for president three times? Should President Obama not have made him the VP because he had to worry about his ‘loyalty; when he clearly had AMBITION to be president himself?” it asked.
Top signatories of the letter were Sean “Diddy” Combs, one of the most prominent African-American celebrities in the world, and Lenard “Charlamagne Tha God” McKelvey, the influential talk radio host who conducted the interview where Biden infamously stated that if an African-American had trouble deciding whether to support him or President Donald Trump, then “you ain’t black.”
Those two names should be heavy enough, but just to make sure Biden got the message, other signers include Benjamin Crump, the attorney who represented the families of Michael Brown, the black man killed attacking a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, and Trayvon Martin, the black teenager killed during an apparent fight with neighborhood watch member George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, in 2012.
Crump is now representing the family of George Floyd, whose death in the custody of Minneapolis police on May 25 set off the country’s most recent round of rioting.
Van Jones, the former Obama White House adviser and current CNN talking head, also signed the letter.
Last week, Biden received a similar letter from more than 700 prominent black women, according to USA Today.
For a Trump supporter, the best part of the whole squabble was how Monday’s letter was received by liberals.
Let’s just say some of the responses showed the Democratic Party isn’t nearly as unified heading into November as the party and the mainstream media want the country to believe.
This is just embarrassing. Extortion is not a good look if you want to be broadly respected as a leader in a multi-cultural society. Same goes for the pro-Warren and pro-Sanders advocates threatening to withhold support for Biden unless they receive the trinkets they’re demanding
— Joe Seither (@joeseither) August 10, 2020
This is…insane. I really, really have a preference here — Harris — but to THREATEN him. No, he will not be the lesser of two evils no matter who he picks. He will still be the best one for the job.
— JustHope (@Hopes_Soaps) August 10, 2020
Sorry but threats are unacceptable. I hope he picks Kamala but it’s HIS choice; and you don’t get to tell him what to do, or who’s best for the country.
— Debbie (@ilovepaulmcc) August 10, 2020
I don’t know how Joe responds to ultimatums, but I don’t do well. I lean heavily toward calling the bluff, even if I was leaning the other way before it was laid down.
— Steve Wheelock (@jazzyndn) August 10, 2020
The heightened pressure comes as Biden dawdles over an announcement about his running mate – which he’d previously said would come out by Aug. 1. With the Democratic convention set to begin in Milwaukee on Aug. 17, the former vice president is running out of time to make his selection known.
(To be fair to Biden, he might not be quite aware the convention is coming, so he might not realize he’s under the gun.)
Biden, of course, is all but required to choose a female running mate, since he foolishly pledged to do so during a March debate with Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Since he sewed up the delegates needed for the Democratic nomination, the pressure has mounted on him to choose a black woman.
The Biden camp has kept its cards close to the vest on the subject, but Benghazi attack liar Susan Rice, California Rep. Karen Bass and Florida Rep. Val Demings are all thought to be in the running along with Harris. (Former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams hasn’t been heard from in a while, but she’s still out there.)
Biden still has the option of choosing a white woman, of course, and top contenders are thought to be Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — who is loathed by conservatives nationally for her behavior during the coronavirus lockdowns and who reportedly visited with Biden on Saturday in his Delaware home — and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a favorite of the far-left Democrats but a lightning rod for conservatives as much as Whitmer.
But given the racially polarized atmosphere of the country right now and Biden’s already shaky hold on a Democratic base that was riven by the primary campaign (and Sanders’ loss), Biden’s choices were already narrowing rapidly.
They’re almost certainly narrowing more after Biden’s remarks last week indicating he truly thinks blacks are monolithic as a voting bloc and as a social group — unlike the much more “diverse” Hispanic American community, in his eyes. That couldn’t have helped him with an electorate he seems to have gone out of his way to insult.
The letter published Monday sought to narrow his options even more — with the idea of what’s going to happen if he fails to obey.
“For too long Black women have been asked to do everything from rally the troops to risk their lives for the Democratic Party with no acknowledgment, no respect, no visibility, and certainly not enough support,” the letter stated.
“Failing to select a Black woman in 2020 means you will lose the election. We don’t want to choose between the lesser of two evils and we don’t want to vote for the devil we know versus the devil we don’t because we are tired of voting for devils — period.”
That’s pretty clear language: “You will lose the election.”
That doesn’t sound like a threat. That sounds like a promise.
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