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Vote for the Old Guy: Why Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are on the Lookout for Youthful Running Mate

© AP Photo / John LocherDemocratic presidential candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, and former Vice President Joe Biden gesture during a Democratic presidential primary debate Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, in Las Vegas, hosted by NBC News and MSNBC. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, and former Vice President Joe Biden gesture during a Democratic presidential primary debate Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, in Las Vegas, hosted by NBC News and MSNBC. (AP Photo/John Locher) - Sputnik International
The Super Tuesday primaries have failed to prove the knockout blow that Bernie Sanders wanted. Joe Biden won in Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Minnesota, and Massachusetts.

The race to be the Democrat nominee might go all the way to the party’s convention in July after an inconclusive Super Tuesday.

Bernie Sanders won in his home state of Vermont as well as Colorado, and Utah and most important of all, California.

But Joe Biden has come back from the brink of the defeat by winning nine states, including Texas, after receiving last minute endorsements by moderates Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Beto O’Rourke.

Billionaire tycoon and former Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg - who is 78 - also failed to make an impression on Super Tuesday, despite spending tens of millions of dollars on TV adverts.

Bloomberg quit the race on Wednesday, 4 March, and could be followed by ​Elizabeth Warren who did even worse than predicted, failing to win a single state and coming third on her own home turf, Massachusetts.

​She is now almost certain to throw in the towel and will come under pressure to give her backing to Sanders who, like her, is on the left of the Democratic Party.

​But there is no love lost between the pair and in January supporters of Sanders saturated social media with snake emojis and #WarrenIsASnake hashtags after the 70-year-old claimed Sanders had once said a woman would never be president, which he has denied.

​On Tuesday night, Donald Trump said: "The biggest loser tonight, by far, is Mini Mike Bloomberg. His 'political' consultants took him for a ride. $700 million washed down the drain, and he got nothing for it but the nickname Mini Mike, and the complete destruction of his reputation."

So the contest now seems to be a straight fight between Sanders, who is also 78, and Biden, who is 77.

Sanders famously suffered a heart attack last year and while Biden's health has never been questioned, he has been mercilessly mocked by President Trump as "Creepy Joe" or "Sleepy Joe" and the White House gives the impression they would relish their chances against either of the septuagenarians.

​Whoever wins the Democratic nomination, they need to pick a running mate who can pick up votes from parts of the country where Sanders or Biden might struggle.

In 2016 Hillary Clinton plumped for Tim Kaine, a senator and former Governor from Virginia, who was 58 at the time.

​Kaine, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, was another voice of the US establishment and he brought nothing to the Clinton ticket in 2016.

So if Biden or Sanders wins the nomination who are they likely to choose as their running mate?

​The feminist lobby within the Democratic Party is strong and the failures of Warren, Klobuchar and Tulsi Gabbard to make any impact has hurt them and the choice of a woman would be a sop.

A female vice-presidential candidate could also bring in women voters, although Hillary Clinton wildly over-estimated the importance of her gender to female voters in 2016.

In 2008 the Republican nominee, John McCain, chose Sarah Palin - the then Governor of Alaska - as his running mate. Although she appealed to the Republican base, she was prone to putting her foot in it and was widely ridiculed by Democrats.

A candidate needs 1,991 delegates to win the nomination - Biden currently has 402 and Sanders 314, although that does not include California’s 415.

If Biden wins the nomination he may well choose Amy Klobuchar as his running mate.

​Klobuchar, 59, is a moderate, from Minnesota, and might appeal to voters in the Midwest.

Her father, a retired sports journalist, is of Slovenian descent but Klobuchar is American through and through. Her weakness is foreign policy. Last month she stumbled during a TV interview when she was unable to name the current Mexican President - Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

An alternative would be Kamala Harris, 55, a California Senator who dropped out of the race in January. She would be a popular choice with the Democrat base vote, especially African-Americans.

​Some Democrats hope Biden would pull an even bigger rabbit out of his hat - in the form of 56-year-old Michelle Obama herself. 

But an Obama on the ticket could be catnip to Trump and the Republicans.

What about Sanders’ running mate?

​Elizabeth Warren is too old - together their ticket would have a combined age of 148 - but Tulsi Gabbard could be an option, although she does not bring with her an obvious demographic which is different from that which supports Sanders.

Sanders is already strong with the Latino vote, so he probably does not need a Spanish-speaking running mate.

An obvious choice and one who would certainly excite the Democratic base would be Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the young firebrand who was elected to Congress in 2018 and has consistently baited Trump and his allies.

​But Ocasio-Cortez comes from liberal New York and the East Coast intelligentsia are already enthralled with Sanders. Trump would have a field day up against a radical Sanders/Ocasio-Cortez ticket in the South and the Midwest.

An alternative might be Rashida Tlaib, an Arab-American congresswoman from Michigan who was also elected in 2018. Tlaib and Ocasio-Cortez are among a four-strong group of women in Congress dubbed The Squad.

​Another possible choice might be Cory Booker, 50, an African-American senator from New Jersey, who could help him to improve his showing with black voters.

But Sanders sees himself as an iconoclast and he may decide to choose a non-politician as a running mate.

What he really needs is a household name and there do not come many bigger than Oprah Winfrey, the former talkshow host and actress who rejected running for the White House back when it was suggested back in 2018.

A Sanders-Winfrey ticket could just give Trump a run for his money in November.

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