We probably have no more than a day, possibly hours, to spin enjoyable nonsense from the scant VP tea leaves.
Let’s take full advantage. We won’t have another opportunity for four years.
Here’s the roll call of convention speakers, released this morning by the DNC. Per tradition, the vice-presidential nominee gets a star turn on night three. Presumably that means anyone scheduled to speak on another night isn’t the vice-presidential nominee.
The Democratic National Convention schedule is out.
Notable speakers by night:
M: Sanders, Cuomo, Whitmer, Kasich, Klobuchar, Michelle Obama.
T: Schumer, AOC, Bill Clinton, Jill Biden
W: Pelosi, HRC, Warren, the VP nom, Obama
Th: Booker, Newsom, Duckworth, Harris, Biden
— Dan Merica (@merica) August 11, 2020
Gretchen Whitmer? Scheduled — night one. Elizabeth Warren? Scheduled — night three. Tammy Duckworth? Scheduled — night four. “Frontrunner” Kamala Harris? Scheduled — night four.
Unscheduled as of now: Lefty VP favorite Karen Bass, who might not have been asked to speak in primetime before the veepstakes but will probably need to be slotted in now even if she’s not Biden’s pick.
And of course Susan Rice.
Is it Rice? Maybe Team Joe gave Harris a plum night-four slot before his own speech partly as a consolation prize and partly because he need her to help sell her supporters on his candidacy after he wounds them by choosing Rice or Bass instead.
But wait. Maybe Harris is the pick after all and Biden’s bringing her back on night four because he wants his own VP to introduce him for his acceptance speech. Obviously, with both Rice and Bass left off the schedule, the fact that a top-tier veep candidate was omitted from this line-up isn’t proof that they’re the pick.
There’s also the possibility that Harris was slotted on night four as a head-fake. Team Joe knew that people would treat the fact that she’s scheduled on night four as evidence that he’s chosen someone else as veep. So they put her on there to throw people off the scent and ignite a round of “Rice must be the pick!” speculation, to make it feel more surprising when he turns around and announces Harris, the expected pick, as VP instead.
If this list is final then it’s a safe bet that anyone scheduled before the VP speaks on night three isn’t the pick. You’re not going to bring Whitmer out on night one to make anodyne remarks as the veep nominee and then bring her back on the third night. But you could certainly bring the nominee back on night four after she’s spoken on night three. So Harris is still in the game.
Listen, if you think this guesswork is silly, there was an entire round of speculation on Twitter last night derived from the fact that Harris’s Twitter account had supposedly unfollowed Biden’s and what that might mean. Some speculated that she had been told she wouldn’t be his VP choice and was reacting petulantly. Others guessed that it meant the opposite, that she’d been told she *would* be the pick and had to unfollow him for some sort of ethical reason. Then it turned out that no one was really sure if she’d been following him on Twitter in the first place.
But wait, it gets sillier still:
Was Biden about to shock the world by choosing a 38-year-old white man, namely Pete Buttigieg, as his VP? Er, no, of course not. Imagine having to explain to lefties why Stacey Abrams was unqualified to be VP but a white guy who’s only ever governed South Bend is fine. Then imagine convincing voters who are understandably worried about Biden not serving out his term that a commodity as untested as Buttigieg is ready to be the world’s most powerful person. Buttigieg wasn’t on the flight, reporters later confirmed.
Which is lucky for Trump, as it seems like he has his Biden VP spin all ready to go:
Trump says men are “insulted” by Biden saying he’ll pick a woman to be his VP. pic.twitter.com/q4vls9TbJ8
— The Recount (@therecount) August 11, 2020
I still think it’s going to be Harris. Biden has played it safe all campaign and she’s the “safe” choice. But then, I also thought Sleepy Joe was going to make the announcement today, which seems increasingly unlikely as the hours pass. If you’re rolling out your VP, you want a full day of media coverage devoted to it. The time to announce is 9 or 10 a.m., not mid-afternoon. I think tomorrow we’ll hear.
I’ve got to be honest I kind of expected to speak.
— Andrew Yang🧢🗽🇺🇸 (@AndrewYang) August 11, 2020