Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) removed herself from consideration as a possible running mate to Joe Biden on Thursday, saying that she thinks the Democrats’ presumptive White House nominee should choose a woman of color for the position.
According to the Washington Examiner, Klobuchar made the announcement on MSNBC, telling host Lawrence O’Donnell, “This is a historic moment, and America must seize on this moment. And I truly believe, as I actually told the vice president last night when I called him, that I think this is a moment to put a woman of color on that ticket.”
BREAKING: Sen. Klobuchar announces she is withdrawing from consideration to be Joe Biden’s vice presidential choice: “I think this is a moment to put a woman of color on that ticket.” pic.twitter.com/xk4zZIP7Yd
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) June 19, 2020
Klobuchar makes a graceful exit
The former vice president has several women of color on his list of potential running mates, including California Sen. Kamala Harris (D) and Obama-era National Security Adviser Susan Rice, according to NPR. Biden has promised to choose a female running mate, but has not specified that it would be a woman of color.
Still, Klobuchar’s announcement puts other female candidates who are not women of color, like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), in an awkward position — and it could make it awkward for Biden if he ends up choosing someone who is white.
Of course, she may not have been thinking of Biden at all. While Klobuchar’s action to remove herself from VP consideration seems on its face like a magnanimous act, the Washington Examiner‘s Emily Larsen suggested it is more likely to be a politically expedient move as the Minnesota senator faces scrutiny for her prosecution — or lack thereof — of police officers accused of misconduct while she was a prosecutor in Hennepin County.
According to NBC News, Klobuchar was involved in a previous case where Derek Chauvin — the officer who kneeled on the neck of George Floyd, leading to his death and sparking nationwide protests — shot another suspect in the line of duty in 2015.
Klobuchar and the Hennepin County attorney’s office have maintained that the now-senator couldn’t have mishandled the case because of its timing and the timing of her departure from the prosecutor’s office, but the attention to Chauvin brought further scrutiny and questions about other cases Klobuchar handled involving police.
In short, Klobuchar wasn’t going to be the best candidate for Biden anyway, but the focus on women of color allowed her to walk away with a good reason rather than be rejected, as Larsen suggested. The senator’s political capital might remain undamaged this way, and she got to do some really awesome virtue signaling in the meanwhile.
Biden looks to November
Biden, for his part, responded to Klobuchar’s withdrawal with a tweet lauding the Minnesota legislator’s “grit and determination to do anything you set your mind to,” according to NPR. As for the question of who he will choose, it’s anyone’s guess at this point.
In addition to Harris and Rice, NPR has pointed to names like failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, Democrat Florida Rep. Val Demings, and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, all of whom are also women of color.
Of course, identity politics is the brainchild of the left, but one has to wonder if it should really matter if Biden’s VP is Black, or female, or checks off any of the boxes “woke” leftists think are desirable. What ever happened to choosing the best candidate on the merits, on experience, and on compatibility with the candidate at the head of the ticket?
But at the end of the day, Biden is yet another old, white guy running for president — and for better or worse, it seems his path to relevance in a party that increasingly looks at identity first depends on borrowing some wokeness from his VP candidate. Good luck with that, Joe.