LatinaLista — The question of who will eventually be Barack Obama’s running mate is much more of a nail-biter than John McCain’s choice.
Because of an issue that has reared its ugly head and has shown us that even though we live in the 21st Century, we are still not without prejudice when it comes to choosing a Dream Ticket.
On the CNN political news site, there is a page devoted to possible Democratic vice presidential candidates. The list was culled, according to the site’s editors, from names mentioned in various published articles.
The group is comprised of governors, senators, mayors, former military officers and cabinet post holders. In total, the site considers 29 possibilities. Of those 29, there is one Hispanic (New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson) and 5 women.
It’s curious to note that there is not one African American or Asian considered a serious nominee. The reasoning must be that an African American at the top of the ticket is enough representation of diversity for Americans not accustomed to voting for people of color.
It’s a scenario that is played out in companies across the country. Some of us refer to the few people of color that businesses hire as the “tokens of diversity.” A company can be top-heavy Caucasian but people of color tend not to be overrepresented in most organizations.
The official reasoning provided is always the same — there’s not enough qualified applicants of color.
At one time that was probably true but with more and more young people of color achieving higher education and specialized training, it’s increasingly not making sense to repeat this statement.
All of which provides a window into the thinking process of who will be Obama’s running mate.
First, though he is half Caucasian, Bill Richardson is looking decidedly more Latino these days with his full beard. While he had a hard time convincing Latinos to connect to him, since his withdrawal from the presidential race, he’s done a really good job of showing his orgullo (pride) in being Latino and stumping for Obama in Spanish.
So good in fact that I would venture to guess that more people now know he’s Latino than when he was running for office. Because of this new realization by some parts of the public, Richardson probably won’t be chosen as the VP — too much diversity to suit the tastes of status quo voters.
Will Hillary? Though Hillary ran neck to neck and garnered the “popular vote,” it’s unlikely she or any other woman would be seriously named a running mate. While the prospect of a woman president launched the imaginations of most women and progressive thinkers, the idea of a woman vice president isn’t as exciting or, dare we say, sexy, to the average voter.
While some see Obama and Hillary as the Dream Ticket, Hillary’s critics, who were vile in their ferocity against her, could possibly hurt the Democratic chances to the White House.
Which only leaves a white male as the likely candidate to round out the Democratic ticket.
If Obama chose a white male, then the Democratic ticket wouldn’t be seen as so “radical” by those voters who aren’t accustomed to how this country is changing in its racial makeup. Not to mention when compared to the Republican ticket (of which McCain is most probably going to choose a white male running mate himself), the Democratic ticket will be seen as invoking just enough change to deliver on its promise to change Washington but not too much that it threatens to recreate it.
For people, for whom change is difficult enough, a ticket that carries two new types of White House contenders would be hard to stomach at the polls.
No, if the Democratic Party really wants to take back the White House, then Obama will conform to the expectations that dictate a win — this time around.
(Update 6/17/08: In another sign that Clinton may not be Obama’s choice for VP, it was announced yesterday that Clinton’s old campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle has joined the Obama campaign. According to the Washington Post blog, Solis Doyle assumes the role of Chief of Staff for — drum roll — the vice president. As the WPO bloggers duly note, Solis Doyle didn’t leave on good terms with the former First Lady. That Obama would install her as Chief of Staff may be a hint of who not to expect.)_