Crabtree: The Pros and Cons of the Top Black Women on Biden’s Short List for VP

Crabtree in RealClearPolitics:

Before D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser changed the name of a street near the White House to Black Lives Matter Plaza in a direct repudiation of President Trump, Joe Biden was already under pressure to choose a black woman as his running mate.

As racial unrest has roiled the country, the push has shifted to which black woman candidate should have the edge, with Bowser, pictured above, now also firmly in the running.

….Before the last two weeks, Harris was well-positioned to get the nod, but recent scrutiny of her law enforcement background — Harris served as California’s attorney general before winning her Senate seat — was giving some black leaders pause in the wake of Floyd’s killing. Likewise, some black leaders were pointing to Demings’ background as the first female police chief of Orlando, which has a history of excessive-force accusations, as a liability.

Lang warned Biden against “tokenism” and picking a “black woman” for appearances only.

“We want to have someone who is aligned with the values and understands the experiences of what is happening at this point in our society. There are some black women in the running who represent law enforcement officers or prosecutors, and that’s something he needs to weigh heavily given people’s distrust of law enforcement as well.”

…A Sacramento Bee editorial board piece published earlier this week pointed out several about-faces with the headline: “Amidst George Floyd protests, Kamala Harris wants police reform. What took so long?” The article points to Harris’ May decision to call for a federal review of the police shooting of African American woman Breonna Taylor while noting that she opposed a 2015 bill to require the California Department of Justice, where she served as attorney general at the time, to review police-involved shootings. She told the Washington Post in 2019 that she “was concerned about taking away authority from locally elected DAs (of which she is a former one) who are held accountable by their constituents.”

The piece also pressed Harris over her silence regarding state Democratic lawmakers’ efforts to pass a bill last year that shifted the standard for when police can use deadly force from when “reasonable” to when “necessary.”

“That’s exactly what Harris is calling for now, but she remained silent for most of last year despite multiple attempts by The Sacramento Bee Editorial Board to get a comment from her,” the board wrote, opining that Harris was likely influenced by the state’s political system in which prosecutors often have to depend on police endorsements to win their elections.

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