Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer very quietly flew to Delaware last Sunday to meet with Joe Biden. The natural conclusion is that she went to be interviewed in person for the job of vice-president. Frankly, Whitmer has dropped off my radar but now it strikes me that she may just be a dark horse in the race to be Biden’s running mate.
Whitmer’s trip to Delaware was conveniently leaked to the press by two anonymous blabbermouths, described as “two high-ranking Michigan Democrats who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.” Implied but unspoken is they were authorized to discuss the matter with the press. I don’t make the rules, it’s just how the game works. The governor has worked diligently to raise her profile nationally, taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to promote herself as a strong leader. It has worked because she ended up on lots of cable and network shows being interviewed as an up and coming Democrat woman leader.
Biden and Whitmer already have a friendship. He campaigned for her during her 2018 campaign in Michigan. She is in her first term as governor, having served in the Michigan House of Representatives and Michigan Senate before that. Biden is now in the phase of the selection process where he meets with potential running mates in person to interview them. Whitmer is believed to be the first to be interviewed.
Flight records show a chartered plane left Lansing’s Capital Region International Airport for Delaware Coastal Airport at 5:33 p.m. and returned at 11:16 p.m.
That Delaware airport is reported to be about 20 miles from Biden’s home. Both Team Biden and Team Whitmer declined to provide comments to reporters. Saturday morning as I write this, the FNC reporter covering Biden’s campaign says that Biden claims to have already made his choice. Contrary to the Associated Press report published today, NBC reported on Thursday that Biden was holding the last of his one-on-one interviews and Whitmer was still very much on his list. Who knows what to believe with Biden? Perhaps his staff has made his decision and told him who he picked. Biden is supposed to make his announcement during the coming week.
Democrats with knowledge of the process tell NBC News Whitmer did not just re-emerge as a potential vice presidential pick, but had long remained in the top tier for the only person with a vote in the process: Biden himself.
Top labor leaders in Whitmer’s battleground state tell NBC News that the Biden campaign has reached out to the state chapters of the UAW, AFL-CIO and Teamsters to sound them out about Whitmer. That outreach began as early as January ahead of the Iowa caucuses, but intensified lately as the vetting process advanced.
“I think what the national team recognizes is that it’s awfully hard for a Democrat to become president if they can’t carry Michigan,” said state Rep. Brian Elder, chair of the Michigan Legislative Labor Caucus.
To entertain the thought of a Whitmer pick, it could be looked at as a practical choice. She’s the governor of a battleground state that Biden needs to win the presidency. Trump’s victory in Michigan in the 2016 election was a squeaker. He won by 10,704 votes. In today’s Real Clear Politics average, Biden is up 7.5% over Trump in Michigan. There is plenty of time for that number to tighten up, which I think it will.
Whitmer is a governor which brings a more well-rounded skill set to the job. She’s run for elected office and won, which means she could put her experience to use on the national campaign trail. She would be someone that voters in middle America could relate to, which Biden needs. The swamp already has gone all-in for Biden, as have Democrats on both coasts. Biden needs help in the Rust Belt and the midwest, especially as Democrats realize Biden promises to bring back the policies from the Obama era that over-regulated businesses and shut down the energy sector at every opportunity. Obama’s record on job creation is one of stagnation and Americans being told to settle for less while Trump’s record, pre-pandemic, is one of explosive job creation and historic levels of employment in all categories.
Biden pledged to pick a woman as his vice-president. In today’s atmosphere, many people assume that he has to pick a Black woman, including me. Whitmer is White and I just don’t think that will fly in the days of the Black Lives Matter protests and riots. Joe Biden promised to nominate a Black woman for the next Supreme Court vacancy but who knows how long Ruth Bader Ginsburg will hold on? The vice-president pick is instant gratification for Black voters and White liberal social justice warriors. Whitmer has made attempts to appease the BLM movement and as recently as Wednesday, just three days after meeting with Biden, declared racism a public health crisis.
Whitmer has sought to address racism and racial inequity. In April, she created a task force to address the pandemic’s racial disparities and later proposed police reforms in the wake of George Floyd’s death. On Wednesday — days after visiting Biden — she declared racism a public health crisis, created an advisory council of Black leaders and required implicit bias training for all state employees.
Whitmer delivered the Democrats’ response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, which seems so long ago now. She has been in some dust-ups with President Trump over the pandemic outbreak and the federal response to it. Trump refers to her as “that woman in Michigan”. And, she is a co-chair of Biden’s campaign. We should know in a few days who Biden’s team picked for him. I still think the choice has been narrowed down to either Susan Rice or Kamala Harris. I tend to favor Rice of those two choices. She’s the one with a good working relationship with Biden and he feels comfortable with her. Biden’s intent is to give America a third Obama term and she’s a strong choice for that. Whitmer can pick a cabinet position.