Davis: My recommendation for vice president on Biden ticket

Here is my take on who Joe Biden 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 BidenJoe Biden 64 percent of Iowans say 'time for someone else' to hold Grassley's Senate seat: poll Philadelphia shooting leaves 2 dead, injures toddler Ron Johnson booed at Juneteenth celebration in Wisconsin MORE in getting elected president and defeating Donald Trump?

There are many great choices available to Joe Biden, including California Rep. Karen BassKaren Ruth BassBlack Republican advocates his case for CBC membership Tim Scott: Could be 'very hard' to reach police reform deal by June deadline Police reform negotiations enter crucial stretch MORE, Illinois Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthTaiwan reports incursion by dozens of Chinese warplanes Concerns grow over China's Taiwan plans China conducts amphibious landing drill near Taiwan after senators' visit MORE, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. But my top three choices, in reverse alphabetical order, are:


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 raised key concerns with Putin, but may have overlooked others Democrats have turned solidly against gas tax Obama on Supreme Court ruling: 'The Affordable Care Act is here to stay' 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 KavanaughOvernight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 Five takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision Supreme Court upholds ObamaCare in 7-2 ruling 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 TrumpHead of firms that pushed 'Italygate' theory falsely claimed VA mansion was her home: report Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting VA moving to cover gender affirmation surgery through department health care 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 DemingsIt's past time we elect a Black woman governor Demings raises million after announcing Senate bid against Rubio The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden mission abroad: reward friends, constrain adversaries 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.


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 ClintonMonica Lewinsky responds to viral HBO intern's mistake: 'It gets better' 40-year march: Only one state doesn't recognize Juneteenth Fire-proofing forests is not possible 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).