It doesn't matter (during the campaign) who Biden chooses as his running mate

It doesn't matter (during the campaign) who Biden chooses as his running mate
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"The president is determined to spend what we need to spend," —Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, encouraging Democrats to return to negotiations over the coronavirus relief bill.


The college football season is on the verge of collapse. The Big 10 has canceled the season, abandoning its elaborate plan for proceeding despite the virus. Three of the other Power Five conferences seem prepared to cancel too. Only the SEC isn't wavering, so far.

McDonald's sues ex-CEO Steve Easterbrook, alleging he had sexual relationships with three subordinates. He had been fired in 2019 for violating company policies about office relationships. McDonald's alleges that he gave one woman a stock grant worth hundreds of thousands of dollars after a sexual encounter.


Negotiations over the relief bill haven't resumed. On Friday, Trump took executive action to try to circumvent Congress, though experts say his measures won't help much and won't help soon. Trump and Mnuchin are urging Democrats to return to negotiations by promising to "put more money on the table."

China-US tensions escalate over Taiwan and Hong Kong. Pro-democracy media mogul Jimmy Lai was arrested; the US sent HHS Secretary Alex Azar to Taiwan, the highest-level visit since 1974. China, meanwhile, tit-for-tatted by sanctioning 11 members of congress and NGO heads, and by sending fighter planes over the Taiwan Strait.


It doesn't matter (during the campaign) who Biden chooses as his running mate
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden on July 28, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware.Mark Makela/Getty Images

Biden's VP choice will not affect the presidential campaign.

When he announces his running mate this week, Joe Biden will be making the most consequential decision of his presidency, and also one of the most inconsequential decisions of his presidential campaign.


Given Biden's age and his "I'm a one-term return to normalcy" signaling, his vice president would be the anointed 2024 frontrunner, the standard-bearer of the Democratic party, and the person most likely to guide the most powerful nation on earth for the next decade. None of this is certain of course: Biden could lose in 2020, could run for a second term, or could have a falling out with the running mate. His veep could lose the 2024 nomination or general election.

Still, an oddsmaker would say: Biden's running mate has a better chance than anyone on the planet of being the most powerful American of the 2020s.

So he should pick someone good!

That said, his choice of running mate is highly unlikely to alter the 2020 election. Running mates don't matter unless they are memorably terrible, and even then they still don't matter all that much. Dan Quayle didn't drag George HW Bush down in 1988 and he didn't cost him reelection in 1992. Sarah Palin unmoored the 2008 campaign, but John McCain's fate was sealed with or without her.

Running mates should matter a huge amount in 2020 given the age and iffy health of the presidential candidates, but practically no one is going to decide their vote based on Pence or Harris/Rice/Whitmer/Warren/Bass.


That's even more true given this particular election, given how enormous the Trump factor is — almost everyone is voting on their opinion of Trump. Biden himself hardly matters, so do you really think his running mate does?

Even the small number of voters who tell pollsters it matters are kidding themselves. They'll make up their mind based on Trump, and just a wee bit on Biden. — DP

It doesn't matter (during the campaign) who Biden chooses as his running mate
Police lead Hong Kong pro-democracy media mogul Jimmy Lai away from his home after he was arrested under the new national security law in Hong kong on August 10, 2020VERNON YUEN/AFP via Getty Images

What is the point of Trump's China strategy again?

Over the last few days authorities in Hong Kong have arrested a number of powerful pro-democracy activists, as well as billionaire media mogul Jimmy Lai. Last week a Uighur fashion model disappeared after taking a video of himself in one of China's detention camps built for his people, a Muslim minority native to China's northwest.


Tensions are still extremely high in the South China Sea, and intelligence reports indicate China is meddling in US elections (though not as aggressively as Russia is trying to help reelect Trump).

All of this happens as Trump is using his political capital at home to rail against TikTok and deflect blame for his poor handling of the coronavirus by calling it "the Chinese virus." Two weeks ago Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a speech about the administration's new, more aggressive China policy, but it doesn't seem to be making an impact on China at all. Beijing has basically responded to it by trolling the Senate, and putting sanctions on Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

No one cares about this theater. Americans want to see their government make good, impactful foreign policy that represents their values. They want to see government work. When it comes to China the best use of US power is in showing leadership on the world stage, and rallying countries to counter China's aggression. But that's not what we're doing. Our allies are angry with us and we're going it alone. And alone, we look pretty ineffectual. —Linette Lopez

It doesn't matter (during the campaign) who Biden chooses as his running mate
Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the Democratic Presidential Debate at Tyler Perry Studios November 20, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.Alex Wong/Getty Images

Joe Biden is senile and also the greatest debater the world has ever known.


If you've listened to the Trump campaign lately, you may get the sense that there are two completely different Joe Bidens running for president.

Joe Biden doesn't know what day it is, but last time he was left alone in a room with Ted Cruz, he convinced Cruz to write a $50,000 check to antifa. Joe Biden cannot identify a picture of a rhinoceros on a test, but whipped both Lincoln and Douglas when he debated them back in '58.

One of the most delightful traditions of politics is exaggerating your opponent's debating skill and diminishing your own, to set expectations so low that not drooling signifies total victory.

The Trump administration has given itself a tough mudder of a task for this debating season. The president delights in talking up his own brilliance and doesn't take kindly to having his intelligence insulted by his own people. And the Trump campaign's main line of attack against Biden is that he's a doddery old-timer, which makes it tricky to simultaneously claim that he's the American Cicero. But claim they will: Trump's campaign spinners are already out there talking up Biden in advance of the first debate in September.

The truth is, they're both adequate debaters. Trump understands the medium, and gets that generating a moment or two matters more than having the right answers. He's also undeterred by having to try to tell the truth. Hillary Clinton beat Trump rhetorically in 2016, but he still won the debates by memorably looming over her and even more memorably trying to psych her out by bringing Bill Clinton's accusers as his guests.


Biden is a fine talker, especially in the relatively controlled environment of a presidential debate. Sarah Palin didn't rattle him when they debated back in 2008, and he'll almost certainly prepare enough that Trump won't unsettle him either. — DP

It doesn't matter (during the campaign) who Biden chooses as his running mate
White House senior adviser Stephen Miller.Win McNamee/Getty Images

Stephen Miller's teenage radicalization and "performance of cruelty"

"In his policies, the one through-line is cruelty for cruelty's sake. I see it more as the performance of cruelty."

That's what investigative reporter Jean Guerrero told me about Stephen Miller, the architect of Trump's hard-line anti-immigration policies, which she says are "laundering white nationalist policy goals and talking points through the language of heritage and through the language of economics and the language of national security."


Guerrero has spent years researching Miller's life and career, which she documents in the new book set to be released tomorrow, "Hatemonger: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump, and the White Nationalist Agenda."

In a new Business Insider interview, Guerrero says despite being the Jewish-American grandson of refugees, Miller was radicalized into white nationalist ideology and a passionate loathing of immigrants as a teenager in Southern California in the 1990s.

Guerrero, herself a SoCal native of about the same age, says that at the time "there was a lot of anti-immigrant hostility and unprecedented attacks on bilingual education and affirmative action and social services for children of the undocumented. I felt I could bring a unique perspective as someone who had also grown up in that environment."

In the book, Guerrero also talks with former Breitbart editor Katie McHugh, who says she was radicalized into white nationalism (which she now completely renounces) by Miller.

"Katie tells me he was constantly sending her articles that highlighted the crimes of people of color," Guerrero said. That made people of color seem like they were more innately violent than white people, and that they posed a very serious, essential threat to America. [Miller was] pumping her at all hours of the day that America was in danger of being destroyed or overrun by the third world." — Anthony Fisher


Idea of the Day

It doesn't matter (during the campaign) who Biden chooses as his running mate
A resident drops off a mail-in ballot at the Edmondson Westside High School Polling site in Baltimore, Maryland,REUTERS/Tom Brenner/File Photo

A fascinating Atlantic piece explains how the post-2000 rise of provisional and no-excuse absentee ballots have yielded a significant number of votes that get counted after Election Day, and generally help Democratic candidates. In the 2018 election, this pushed a number of California races from election night tossups to Democratic victories.

Because of pandemic and more vote by mail, the Blue Shift will be even more pronounced in 2020, and it's why Democrats need to brawl against the idea that Election Day ends the election. Huge numbers of votes will remain uncounted in swing states on November 3, but if it looks like Trump is winning on election night, he will surely try to lock in a narrative of victory, and delegitimize late-counted ballots as fraudulent.

Though the media is obsessed with delivering an election night verdict, they should treat anything short of a landslide victory with extreme caution, knowing that result-shifting votes are still out there to be counted. —DP


It doesn't matter (during the campaign) who Biden chooses as his running mate
Robert Barnes/Getty Images


Amazon wants to take over JCPenney and Sears stores in dying malls as distribution centers. It would speed up Amazon distribution by giving it facilities in close-in suburbs, but wouldn't revive the malls.

Huge Kodak loan on hold. Democratic legislators complained about shady insider stock trades that occurred just before the US International Development Finance Corp. announced a $765 million loan to the company to make pharmaceutical ingredients. The DFC is delaying the loan pending an investigation.


It doesn't matter (during the campaign) who Biden chooses as his running mate
On Thursday, a Georgia high school student said she was suspended for sharing a photo of an indoor hallway full of unmasked students at her school.@ihateiceman/Twitter

Georgia school with crowded hallways shuts after COVID outbreak. At least nine people tested positive at North Paulding High School, which had suspended students for posting photos of the jam-packed, maskless corridors. It's closed for two days for cleaning.

"Every single person" has to stand up against racism, says Prince Harry. The rest of the royal family has been notably silent about it.



It doesn't matter (during the campaign) who Biden chooses as his running mate

Trump quashed intelligence report showing Russia is trying to get him reelected. He also pushed out DNI Dan Coats because Coats refused to bowdlerize the report.

A woman claiming to be from the Freedom to Breathe Agency threatens store clerk with legal action for enforcing mask mandate. Needless to say there is no such agency, and the woman should be ashamed of herself.

Jason Derulo appears to knock out Will Smith's front teeth in a TikTok prank.

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