Presidential Politics and the Pandemic

The outbreak of the the COVID-19 virus has been all consuming, both in the news and in our daily lives. As new hot spots pop up across the country, perhaps no place has been harder hit than New York. Governor Cuomo has raised the alarm and earned credit for his calm demeanor in the face of unprecedented trials.

The consuming nature of news of the virus has had the political side effect of putting the presidential campaign on the back burner. Since becoming the clear front-runner for the Democratic nomination, Joe Biden has fallen from the news. Not because of anything he has or hasn’t done but simply because there seemingly is no time for anything else in the news.

Primary elections will go on, however, and he will win. Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee, though there is a question if the Democratic National Convention will go on as scheduled this summer or if it will take some form other than a meeting of thousands of delegates. Going into the election, the attention and news will not be the same, or if it is then it will take a lot of work.

Assuming we come out of the pandemic crisis before the election, Democrats will need to generate some excitement.  With news for the several months being consumed by the virus, the political calculus would say that someone who has been in the news and come out of it with positive press would be ideal. Cuomo could be that figure for Democrats.

Biden picking Cuomo as his Vice Presidential running mate would have lots of advantages. Cuomo has had almost daily publicity and come off looking good so far. He is governor of one of the largest states in the nation and so not only has built in executive experience but has a following in a key Democratic area. Cuomo is younger than both President Trump and Biden-Biden will be well over 70 at election day. Cuomo could represent the next generation.

Unfortunately, Biden has promised that he would pick a woman as Vice President. As often happens when you pronounce quotas, Biden’s hands could be tied politically. If he were to pick Cuomo, he would be going against the identity politics that he backed and would be picking another ‘white guy’. In itself, that would dampen the enthusiasm of a part of the Democratic constituency. Yet Cuomo could bring a greater sense of credibility and competence to the campaign, as well as excitement.

There are months to go before we get to the nominating convention, and before the pandemic crisis is over. So many things could change. But it seems that Biden may have some difficult, and interesting choices to make.

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