Why is this announcement eagerly awaited?
Usually, the choice by a candidate for the White House of the person who will accompany him on the presidential “ticket” does not excite the Americans. If journalists and experts engage in numerous analyzes (geographical origin of the vice-president, ideological line, etc.), public opinion remains relatively indifferent.
This year, on the other hand, there is a lot of interest in the imminent Joe Biden announcement, which is due to speak in the first half of August. On the one hand because it is already established that it will be a woman – the third only after Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Sarah Palin in 2008. Secondly because, in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement, there is a strong demand in civil society for a Vice President in tune with America’s Diversity 2020.
Finally because Joe Biden will be 78 years old in November, which would make him, if he wins, the oldest president when he takes up his quarters in Washington. If he wins, he cannot be taken for a second term in 2024. Whatever the scenario, the woman Joe Biden chooses will be well placed to one day become the first woman president of the United States. .
What could be the impact of this decision on the ballot?
Even though experts are used to saying that the choice of a running mate has never enabled a candidate to be elected, the selection process is still very intense. It is a question both of finding the candidate who will be able to compensate for a weak point of the candidate – in 2008, the young Barack Obama had chosen the already experienced Joe Biden – but also to ensure that his career does not include areas of shadow, which could be cumbersome under the spotlight.
Hence the temptation, most often, to choose an experienced person who has already had to account for his past. “Among the people whose names are circulating today, Susan Rice, who was notably the United States‘ representative at the UN under Barack Obama, presents a reassuring profile in this direction”, explains a diplomat stationed in Washington. Other names mentioned include Kamala Harris and Karen Bass, respectively Democratic senator and elected to the House of Representatives for California. The names of Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden’s former rival in the Democratic primary, and Tammy Duckworth, former military and senator for Illinois, have also been circulated.
What is the role of the vice-president?
The US Constitution does not give the vice president any special role, other than the responsibility of deciding between senators in the event of a tie. It is in fact an adviser more or less listened to the Head of State, who can also be entrusted with certain missions. Under Barack Obama, Joe Biden had been tasked with developing a reform on the weapons after a shooting at the end of 2012.
For the rest, the role of the vice-president is first of all to be ready… in the event of misfortune. In the course of the story, eight of them have seen the door of the Oval Office open after the president’s death, violent death or illness. Gerald Ford, in 1974, has the particularity of having become head of state without ever having campaigned: he did not appear on Richard Nixon’s “ticket” neither in 1968 nor in 1972. He had replaced the vice -President Spiro Agnew, forced to resign in 1973 after a tax evasion case.
Finally, the vice-presidency can also be a springboard: George Bush Sr. or Richard Nixon, for example, occupied this function before arriving at the head of state.