Beyond gender the consensus in Washington is that if Biden wins the November election, the vice presidency will take on unprecedented relevance. First, because the candidate, who would become the oldest president to reach the White House (he would be 78 years old), has referred to himself as a transitional president.
The vice president, in an eventual Biden Administration, will thus be seen as a waiting president. Second, because it will be inevitable to see in it a sign of the direction that a Democratic Party will take in the future.
At least since the Great Recession, in a debate about its identity. And third, because history says that, like presidents, the most important vice presidents arrive in times of great challenge. And in a country hit by an unusual and multifaceted crisis,
The vice-presidency is scarce and poorly drawn in the Constitution, and the position has had to be defined and clarified through amendments. Originally, the Magna Carta established that the second most voted candidate in the electoral college would be vice president.
Thus, in 1796 President John Adams had to govern with Vice President Thomas Jefferson, of the rival party, and in 1800 Jefferson himself tied the votes with the candidate for vice president of his party, and the matter moved to the House of Representatives, that he had to vote no less than 36 times to break the tie. For the next elections, in 1804, the 12th amendment was added to establish the current election system, which requires a separate vote for the vice presidency.
Vice President is one of only two elected positions at the national level, and is the person who assumes the presidency if it becomes vacant. Something that should not be underestimated between 1841 and 1975 one in three presidents died during their mandate or resigned.
Eight vice presidents were promoted due to the death of the boss, and one, Gerald Ford, due to his resignation. Plus, it’s a classic stepping stone to the White House. Most vice presidents since the postwar period have sought the presidential nomination afterward, often successfully, as Biden himself shows.
The Constitution gives the vice presidency only two responsibilities, framed, curiously, more in the legislative power than in the executive One is to oversee the formal counting of electoral college votes before a joint session of the two houses of Congress following a presidential election.
The other was to serve as president of the Senate and break ties in the chamber, a task that John Adams performed a record 29 times, and Biden had no opportunity to do in his eight years as vice president.
For the rest, for most of the country’s history, the vice presidency was in effect a negligible position. Until the ratification of the 25th amendment to the Constitution, in fact, if a vice president resigned or died, they were not even replaced, and the office has been vacant for a total of 37 years in American history.
Things changed in 1976. Carter offered the vice presidency to Walter Mondale, and he agreed to leave his secure seat in the Senate only if the Democrat agreed to give his vice president a more relevant and active role in the White House.
Carter agreed to the deal, gave Mondale an office in the west wing of the White House, set up a weekly hand-to-hand meal, and charged him with important responsibilities.
Since then, the trend has been for more power in the vice presidency, and the last four have played key roles in their administrations. Al Gore, leading environmental reforms and technology strategy.
Dick Cheney, on energy policy and the invasion of Iraq Joe Biden was Obama’s key adviser on foreign policy, and Mike Pence has been in charge of coordinating the response to the coronavirus pandemic, by far the most serious crisis of the Trump Administration.
In Biden’s team they indicate that the field has been reduced to two or three candidates. The Republicans prepare their attacks And the uncertainty has already opened a gap between the Democrats themselves (which, in a party given to fratricidal struggles, does not have much merit).
Contributing to anxiety is the fact that Biden has already missed on at least two occasions the dates that he has set for himself to announce his vice president candidate, which should not be surprising if you remember how he has made other big decisions in his career Last year he also repeatedly missed the deadlines he set for himself before announcing his candidacy.