It might be way too early to speculate on who makes the cut for Bernie Sanders’ veep pick. But it might not be. The first Democratic primary of 2020 in Iowa is only a month away. New Hampshire’s primary is the following week.
And Bernie Sanders’ campaign has erupted with a polling surge in December , as well as an absolute fourth quarter fundraising blowout. He’s raised more than any of the other candidates. He posted a $26 million haul in the fourth quarter .
And he’s gathered campaign contributions from nearly five million voters. Just like in 2015-16, he also has no problem drawing large, raucous crowds when he speaks.
Compare Bernie’s recent rally in Minnesota’s Williams Arena to a former Vice President’s recent rally in a New Hampshire middle school gymnasium.
To top it all off, Sanders’ doctors just medically certified him fit to run. They also say he’s healthy enough to be commander in chief.
That’s good news for Sanders after a mild heart attack earlier this year. Martin LeWinter, an attending cardiologist at the University of Vermont Medical Center, wrote:
At this point, I see no reason why he cannot continue campaigning without limitation and, should he be elected, I am confident he has the mental and physical stamina to fully undertake the rigors of the Presidency.
No more “Weekend at Bernie’s” jokes.
In a February 2019 interview on the Young Turks Network, Sanders laid out these criteria for his vice presidential shortlist [at 16:06]:
…maybe not of the same gender that I am, and maybe somebody who might be a couple years younger than me, and somebody who can take the progressive banner as vice-president and carry it all over this country to help us with our agenda…
That narrows the field of potential Sanders running mates to:
1 Sen. Elizabeth Warren
At 70 years of age, Elizabeth Warren is a good eight years younger than Sanders. She’s also undoubtedly progressive. Picking her for VP in 2020 would create a progressive unity ticket after their fierce 2019 war over the Democratic Party’s left wing.
2. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
Tulsi Gabbard is more than a couple decades younger than Sanders, so whether she makes the list depends on how literally he meant “a couple years younger.” The congresswoman might be viewed as too inexperienced, but that didn’t stop Dan Quayle from becoming George H. W. Bush’s vice president. Gabbard has been a long time Bernie ally. She stepped down from Vice Chair of the DNC to endorse him in 2016 .
3. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (WI – swing state)
Here’s a name you probably haven’t heard. But Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) would make a smart running mate for Sanders in 2020. She’d help him flip a key swing state Democrats lost to Trump in 2016. Her progressive bona fides are unquestionable. She’s a member of the Congressional Progressive Congress and has one of the most liberal voting records on Capitol Hill according to the National Journal.
4. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (MI – swing state)
Stabenow is another U.S. senator who you’ve never heard of, but might hear a lot about if Sanders is nominated in 2020. She’s represented Michigan in the Senate since 2001, another blue swing state that Trump won in 2016. She gets high scores from progressive groups like ProgressivePunch (92%). Free market groups like the Competitive Enterprise Institute score her low (0%).
5. Michelle Obama
This would be a real wild card veep pick. But it might be the trump card the eventual nominee will need to beat Donald Trump in 2020.