The real stakes of the 'Veepstakes'

The real stakes of the 'Veepstakes'
© Greg Nash

Recently there’s been a good deal of chatter in the political sphere about “Veepstakes 2020,” particularly with the announcement that former vice president Joe BidenJoe BidenRon Johnson signals some GOP senators concerned about his Obama-era probes On The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Biden commemorates anniversary of Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' rally: 'We are in a battle for the soul of our nation' MORE will form a committee to start the vetting process.

Unfortunately, some of that chatter makes me think that, as Democrats, we haven’t learned much from the 2016 election.

Let’s be clear: We all have our own opinions about who could and should join our presumptive nominee at the top of the ticket as his running mate, and all those opinions are valid.

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Keeping in mind that Biden last month pledged to name a woman as his running mate, you’d better believe that as an African American from the Deep South, I feel very strongly that choosing a black woman for the job is a no-brainer. Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Karen BassKaren Ruth BassBass on filling Harris's Senate spot: 'I'll keep all my options open' Newsom says he has already received a number of pitches for Harris's open Senate seat Chris Wallace: Kamala Harris 'not far to the left despite what Republicans are gonna try to say' MORE (D-Calif.) said it best when she declared that African Americans will cast “a survival vote” in 2020.  

I was listening then, and I sincerely hope the Biden campaign is listening now.

But my opinion isn’t the only one out there.

I may point out that African American women are the most loyal voting bloc in the Democratic Party, but Latinos and Latinas are one of the fastest growing demographics in the nation and their votes could make a real difference, especially in states such as Florida, Texas and Arizona.

And, while I point out the need for racial diversity, there are plenty who argue instead for geographic or ideological balance when it comes to choosing a vice president. 

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Do we need our vice presidential nominee to be from Wisconsin or Michigan to complement Biden’s strength in challenging the GOP for Rust Belt votes, or does it make more sense to broaden geographic appeal with a running mate from the South or Southwest?

Is it better to appeal to the base that Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOcasio-Cortez's 2nd grade teacher tells her 'you've got this' ahead of DNC speech Trump and allies grapple with how to target Harris Chris Wallace: Kamala Harris 'not far to the left despite what Republicans are gonna try to say' MORE (I-Vt.) mobilized by bringing a more progressive voice to the ticket, or is a more moderate running mate better for wooing middle-of-the-road Republicans who are disenchanted with an increasingly right-wing GOP? 

Clearly, there’s a lot to consider.

There is one thing I do know, however, that is undebatable: When Democrats are not united, our priorities die. We have to win before we can govern, and we can’t win if we’re divided.

Whomever Joe Biden decides to pick as a running mate, that person will be a better fit for this country than our current administration because they will fight for the priorities of all Americans, not just some.

The Republicans didn’t have to beg their base to get behind a nominee they hadn’t supported during early primaries and caucuses, and they didn’t look at their running mate as an olive branch or payoff.

So let’s take a page from their playbook and realize that there is an absolute fierceness to urgency.

Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Bob Woodward book will include details of 25 personal letters between Trump and Kim Jong Un On The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Biden commemorates anniversary of Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' rally: 'We are in a battle for the soul of our nation' MORE is the single most dangerous man to occupy the Oval Office in American history. You don’t need to look any further than how he has handled our current public health crisis — how he has failed every test of competence and lied to the American people while our friends and neighbors die.

He continues to take care of the haves while ignoring the have nots, creating a smokescreen of contradiction and confusion that his allies use to pack the courts with ultra-conservative judges. He is a threat to all of us, regardless of race, gender, geography or ideology, and defeating him is our priority.

So instead of debating the Veepstakes, let’s focus on the real stakes our families face every day that Trump remains in office. Let’s talk about the failed leadership that fashions a new breed of lunacy and gives comfort to our enemies, whether they are a foreign adversary interfering with our elections or an insidious virus that infects our families.

A house divided against itself cannot stand against this threat. So, though we may not fall in love with the Democratic ticket, we must fall in line. Our nation depends on it.

Antjuan Seawright is a Democratic political strategist, founder and CEO of Blueprint Strategy LLC, and a CBS News political contributor. Follow him on Twitter @antjuansea.