Davis: My recommendation for vice president on Biden ticket

Here is my take on who Joe BidenJoe BidenDemocratic convention lineup to include Ocasio-Cortez, Clinton, Warren: reports Whitmer met with Biden days before VP announcement: report Maxine Waters says Biden 'can't go home without a Black woman being VP' MORE should choose to run with him on the Democratic ticket in 2020.

My criterion for narrowing down the list and for selecting my preference (by a small margin) comes down to a single question: Who can most assist former Vice President Biden in getting elected president and defeating Donald Trump?

There are many great choices available to Joe Biden, including California Rep. Karen BassKaren Ruth BassBiden VP race is highly fluid days before expected pick Virginia mayor refuses to resign over controversial Biden, 'Aunt Jemima' post Trump campaign on Biden VP pick: 'He's going to tear the party apart' MORE, Illinois Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthSenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Senate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package Duckworth: Republican coronavirus package would 'gut' Americans With Disabilities Act MORE, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. But my top three choices, in reverse alphabetical order, are:

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Susan Rice – Rice may be the most qualified of the three to take the step to become president from day one should, God forbid, anything happen to Joe Biden. For three-and-one-half years, as National Security Advisor, she worked daily, sometimes hourly, with President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden's immigration plan has serious problems Hearing for Twitter hack suspect Zoom-bombed by porn, rap music Read: Sally Yates testimony MORE. She coordinated not only national security, defense and foreign policy matters. But her personal closeness with Mr. Obama also meant she was involved in most other major domestic policy issues during his second term. Ignore the false partisan criticisms of her for her alleged role in the tragedy at Benghazi. At the time, I researched, talked to intelligence community officials, and wrote about these Republican partisan attacks. They were all lies.

Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.): Full disclosure – I have known and supported Sen. Harris since she was elected district attorney of San Francisco in 2004, then as attorney general in 2011, then as U.S. senator in 2017. She is a brilliant lawyer, gifted politician, and inspiring speaker. Look out, Vice President Pence, when and if you have to debate her. Ignore the nasty and irrelevant recent critiques of her that have recently appeared in the media. Her supporters have pushed back effectively. Harris also showed her legal and political skills when, as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, she cross-examined Supreme Court nominee Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughMcConnell has 17-point lead over Democratic challenger McGrath: poll Davis: My recommendation for vice president on Biden ticket Kavanaugh urged Supreme Court to avoid decisions on Trump finances, abortion: report MORE.

Rep. Val Demings (Fla.): Representing the 10th District of Florida (largely Orlando), she served as Orlando’s first female police chief from 2007-11. In 2016, she was elected to Congress and impressed as House floor manager, making a powerful, nationally televised presentation as to why President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoe Arpaio loses bid for his old position as sheriff Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: 'Nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have' Trump tees up executive orders on economy but won't sign yet MORE should be removed from office by the U.S. Senate.

While she has received some criticism for examples of police misconduct that occurred on her watch, she also can point to reduction of violent crime by more than 40 percent during her four-year tenure as police chief. On May 29, she published an op-ed in the Washington Post, in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd, entitled: “My fellow brothers and sisters in blue, what the hell are you doing?”

So, I come down, by the narrowest of margins, to recommend to Mr. Biden that Rep. Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsCuba spells trouble for Bass's VP hopes The 'pitcher of warm spit' — Veepstakes and the fate of Mike Pence Davis: My recommendation for vice president on Biden ticket MORE be his vice presidential choice. I do so for the major reason I stated at the beginning: She not only comes from Florida, but she is also from the most important part of Florida to win the state: the crucial bellwether “I-4 Corridor.” The Corridor stretches from Tampa Bay on the Gulf through Orlando to Daytona on the Atlantic Ocean. It bisects six counties and two major media markets (Tampa Bay and Orlando) viewed by more than 5 million people. Altogether, it accounts for 43 percent of Florida’s voters. If it were a state, it would be the size of Virginia.

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The I-4 Corridor is called the “bellwether” for Florida for a reason. “Ultimately what makes the I-4 corridor such impeccable territory for picking presidents is that it is America,” wrote Adam C. Smith, a former editor for the Tampa Bay Times. “Midwestern, Northeastern, Southern, Country, city, suburban. Black, white, Hispanic. Native, transplant, agricultural, high tech. Young, old, mostly middle class.” 

Val Demings is not only impressive in her ability to get Republican and independent moderate and conservative voters in the Corridor. Also, due to her reputation for tough law enforcement, her presence on the ticket is an effective antidote to Trump’s non-subtle, demagogic “law and order” theme. She is also a source of local pride in Orlando and areas to the east and west and northeast. She was born into a poor neighborhood in Jacksonville, the youngest of seven children, with her mom a maid and her dad a janitor. Then when she moved to Orlando, she served as a cop for 27 years in the Orlando PD, the last four as chief.

In short, she is already a source of pride within and outside the I-4 Corridor – and would be even more so as the Democratic Party’s 2020 vice presidential nominee.

I respectfully commend her to Joe Biden. Rep. Demings as the best choice to be the VP candidate, maybe not by much, maybe by just an inch over Sen. Harris and Susan Rice. But that inch becomes 1,000 miles if her presence on the ticket means giving Joe Biden a decisive edge to win Florida, and therefore, his election and the defeat of the most dangerous and reckless incumbent president in this nation’s history.

Davis served as special counsel to President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonGiuliani says Black Lives Matter is 'domestic terrorist' group We have the resources to get through this crisis, only stupidity is holding us back Biden needs to bring religious Americans into the Democratic fold MORE (1996-98) and a member of President Bush’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. He is co-founder of the law firm of Davis Goldberg & Galper and the strategic media and crisis management firm Trident DMG. He authored “Crisis Tales: Five Rules for Coping with Crises in Business, Politics and Life” (Scribner Threshold 2013).