After four months of pounding from progressives and African-American activists in the party, Amy Klobuchar has bowed to the inevitable and finally exited the 2020 cycle. After achieving a short-lived bounce out of New Hampshire, Black Lives Matter advocates reamed Klobuchar for not getting tough with police officers in use-of-force cases. BLM managed to make the Myon Burrell case in particular so toxic that they forced the end of a Klobuchar rally in Minnesota by taking over the stage to protest his conviction.
So who does that leave on Joe Biden’s list of options as running mate? Klobuchar’s exit puts even more pressure on Biden to choose a woman of color, but his options there might be getting limited. And Black Lives Matter has once again complicated the issue by making a woman of color its next target — Rep. Val Demings, who for four years was Chief of Police Val Demings:
But as Demings’s star rises, some Black Lives Matter (BLM) and other progressive activists are taking aim at her tenure as Orlando’s first female police chief, which spanned 2007 to 2011, and they are questioning whether someone who spent a decades-long career in law enforcement is right for this moment.
“While she was chief of police, I felt like public policies and changes to address community policing should have been done. It was not,” said Lawanna Gelzer, president of the National Action Network’s Central Florida chapter. “We’ve had a problem here for years.”
“I will go vote, but I will not vote for her if she’s on that ticket,” Gelzer added. “Biden needs to listen to the people of Orlando, and of Florida and elsewhere — not law enforcement at this time.”
One BLM activist questioned Demings’ identity as a black woman on the basis of her resumé:
Similarly, some BLM activists told The Hill that Demings, or anyone else who wore a police uniform, is a non-starter for them as a vice presidential candidate.
“She’s a cop. She was a top cop at an extremely brutal police department. She was a vocal supporter of brutal actions by police,” said Hawk Newsome, who co-founded BLM’s Greater New York chapter with his sister, congressional candidate Chivona Newsome.
“We are working to abolish police. We are working to defund police,” Hawk said in a phone interview. “When you are a police officer, you are not black anymore. You are blue.”
Yikes. Just ten days ago, The Hill ran an op-ed piece from former congressman Jason Altmire calling Demings Biden’s perfect choice for the VP slot. My, how times change, and how quickly too.
That overreaction suggests that other women of color on the supposed shortlist might not pass muster, either. For instance, Kamala Harris would seem to fit the bill as a Biden running mate, but she has her own prosecutorial issues when she was California’s AG. Those emerged last year in the middle of her fight with Biden over busing, when the LA Times pointedly noted that Harris had refused to investigate several controversial police shootings of black men in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Who else? Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms might have looked good until this week, when her police department revolted over the obviously political decision to charge a cop with felony murder before investigators concluded a probe. Besides, who runs the Atlanta PD if not the mayor of the city? If the Atlanta PD suffers from “systemic racism,” whose fault is that but the officeholders that have responsibility for law enforcement in the city?
At some point, Stacey Abrams might look like the only possible option. Either that, or Biden might call a 72-year-old Carol Mosely Braun out of retirement, an option that Politico raises obliquely with a lengthy profile today of their long relationship together. That would make the Democratic ticket the oldest combined age in history, but at least it wouldn’t cross BLM. Today, anyway.