It’s The Vice President, Stupid

I don’t mean that word literally – “stupid” – but that’s how the saying goes.

This will be the most important Vice Presidential pick in US history, ever. At the very least, there has arguably never been a more important pick for US Vice President than will be the 2020 pick by the Democratic nominee. If the VP pick is not a progressive, youngish, woman of color, then there is no hope. I don’t mean that literally – “no hope” – but nearly. The pick for Vice President this election cycle provides a tremendous opportunity that the human species and the planet cannot afford to botch.

The fate of the species and planet likely rests not totally but significantly on US Presidential and Vice Presidential successions of genuine progressives: Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, Nina Turner, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (when Constitutionally old enough), Ilhan Omar, possibly Rashida Tlaib, and others.

Even if the 2020 Democratic nominee for President is a progressive, youngish woman of color, it is still critical that the Vice President be likewise. Why? Because youngish? because a woman? because of color? Partially, yes, but primarily because – apart from Bernie Sanders – these personal elements denote the most progressive candidates, the most prominent candidates, and also the generally best and most electable, available candidates now and for the foreseeable future.

And so it is that the pick for Vice President in this election cycle, the importance and value of the pick, is unprecedented. The fate of people and the planet hangs in the balance of the pick for VP.

What is the likelihood that Kamala Harris would pick such a VP? Fair, maybe? Maybe good, maybe not. (And would it matter with corporatist Harris as President?) What are the odds of Elizabeth Warren making such a pick? Fair to good, maybe? Maybe not. (And would it matter with the “capitalist to her bones” as President?) What are the odds that avowed Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders would pick such a VP? Nearly one hundred percent. As he seems to have made clear.

It’s not that the Democratic nominee for President is of little or no consequence. In fact, the pick for President this cycle and every cycle going forward remains extremely important, just as now the Vice Presidential picks are of unprecedented importance for helping to continue a necessary succession of genuinely progressive leadership. Still, without a genuinely progressive President, a progressive Vice President is essentially useless.

It matters that the Presidential nominee be a genuine progressive – and for those who continue to live in Liberal delusionville – that means this cycle only Bernie Sanders or Tulsi Gabbard or possibly the semi-progressive (though “capitalist to her bones”) Elizabeth Warren. Realistically, however, neither Warren’s nor Gabbard’s electoral clout remotely measures up to the clout of Bernie Sanders. There is no sound evidence that anyone’s electoral viability remotely measures up to that of Bernie Sanders.

And so it is that the real decision to be made in the 2020 election cycle remains exactly as I suggested two years ago: who will be the VP? Who MUST be the VP? It’s the pick for Vice President that matters now, especially since, say what you will, the prohibitive favorite for President, and the one with easily among the best available progressive credentials, has long been obvious.

The nominees for President and Vice President must be of essentially equal quality but unique in their powers and popular appeal. The two must be interchangeable but diverse and different in various ways. And the pick for Vice President must be of such substantial progressive quality as to make a genuinely progressive President assassination proof and impeachment proof, both.

For all practical intents and purposes, the field of potential Vice Presidential candidates for a genuinely progressive President consists of about half a dozen progressive youngish women of color. To no small degree, the fate of the world depends on the selection and nomination of one of these potential candidates, just as it depends on the ongoing efforts of hundreds of thousands of genuine progressives at all levels of society, including in government.

If the Ku Klux Klan had morphed into an official major political party, it would have become the Republican Party of today. Essentially, that’s what happened. The KKK also manifests itself as large-to-huge portions of the corporate Democratic Party, and of dominant corporate institutions and creations in general. Only a progressive diverse push can overcome the oppressive White Supremacist past and present. It needs to happen officially as it happens socially. There needs to be a diverse, socialist future, if there is to be any future at all.

The pick of Vice President this election cycle will be key to that possibility, far, far more so than it has ever been before. Both nominees matter immensely this time, almost as if they were dual Presidents. If the nominees are not Bernie Tulsi, or Bernie Nina, or Bernie Ilhan, or the like (AOC being for now ineligible), then who, when, and how?

While the pick for Vice President this election cycle is of unprecedented importance, the pick for President also carries no less weight. Only Bernie Sanders has the potential to most fully upend the electoral table, and the social scene, even to the point of a 50 state blue-out, sweeping every state in the election and continuing to reciprocate and generate progressive waves of change, both political and social, desperately needed, and long, long overdue.

It’s both nominees that matter greatly this time, not only the President … the Vice President as much, and in the future even more. One can almost anticipate a dual Presidency, something of its like, at this moment in time, which is more or less as it needs to be. And haven’t the Republicans long since known it: Pence acting for Trump, Cheney acting for Bush, Bush I acting for Reagan. By comparison, Democratic Vice Presidents (let alone the failed nominees) have been basically redundant and irrelevant to power. Time for the Dems to catch up, but only as the worst of their tyrannical corporate supremacist ways are swept out like so much killer toxic trash of history.

It’s the Vice President that matters with the President this time, like never before.

That and much more.

First published at Counterpunch.

Tony Christini is author of the antiwar novel Homefront, co-editor of Liberation Lit anthology, the critical work Fiction Gutted: The Establishment and the Novel, and mostly recently author of Empire All In: A Novel of the Trump Era – paperbackebook.

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