- PoliticsThe Daily Beast
Now that Bernie Sanders has dropped out of the 2020 presidential race, the heat is on Joe Biden to select his running mate soon, so that he can generate some much needed media attention and fundraising in the middle of this global pandemic. In my opinion, as a black woman, Biden’s choice, without question, should be a black woman. Here is why: When Barack Obama secured the nomination for president of the United States of America in 2008, he chose the older, wiser, gray-haired, white male senior senator from Delaware, Joe Biden. Although Biden was not the exciting choice, he was the right choice for the young, black nominee. Obama was going to be the nation’s first black executive. He needed to reassure those nervous about history’s choice, that he would have someone “safe” and known to the public by his side. Now, Biden needs to send the opposite signal: that it is time for America to trust a woman who represents the backbone of the Democratic Party with the vice presidency, one who is ready on day one, if need be, to serve as president.What Obama Saw in BidenThe entire history of America starts with white men of power owning everything, including slaves, running the government, owning the wealth, and calling all the shots.Then once that power was finally shared in the late 1860s after slavery, it was shared first with black men. Followed by white women, then finally, black women and women of color. It started with the 15th Amendment, approved by Congress on Feb. 26, 1869, and ratified Feb. 3, 1870, granting black men the right to vote. Not black women. And not white women. The first blacks elected to Congress, during Reconstruction, were all men, of course. It was not until 1920 that white women got the right to vote, with the first white woman elected to the House of Representatives in 1916 and to the U.S. Senate in 1922. It was not until Shirley Chisholm’s election to the House in 1968 that a black woman served in Congress.Chisholm’s historic win came one year after the first non-white Supreme Court justice, Thurgood Marshall, joined the highest court in 1967. It wasn't until Sandra Day O’Connor reached the Supreme Court in 1981 that a woman served on the world’s most elite bench. Sonia Sotomayor became the first Latina justice in 2009. It is 2020 and no black woman has been nominated to the high court. It was Bill Clinton who appointed the first women to serve as secretary of state and attorney general. It took George W. Bush, a Republican, to appoint the first black secretary of state, Colin Powell, followed by Condoleezza Rice, a black woman. Biden Commits to Selecting Female VPJoe Biden now has a chance to buck history’s tide. Two white women have been nominated for vice president, Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Sarah Palin in 2008. If I were advising Biden strictly along electoral guidelines, I would tell him the governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, or Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin would make great choices. They both would likely bring key electoral states that Trump carried in 2016 into his column on Election Day.But Sen. Kamala Harris, who wouldn’t get him anything electorally, would deliver something Biden must have in 2020: the intense and energized black vote that eluded Hillary Clinton in 2016. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. (which is also my sorority and we have a powerful army of more than 300,000 members worldwide to help her raise money and be foot soldiers on the ground). Another strong choice electorally and along color lines is Florida Rep. Val Demings, who served as a House impeachment manager during the Trump impeachment. She too could produce that excitement, and help Biden compete for Florida, a state that Trump can’t afford to lose. Some may ask why I don’t include Stacey Abrams here. One big reason: She has not been vetted nationally by a nosy, aggressive and often rough national press corps. Harris, Demings, and other possible candidates mentioned are federal office holders. They have been vetted. Biden has made clear he wants no hiccups or surprises. And a 43-year-old woman of color, who currently holds no public office and lost her only statewide race, would be a big leap for the country to accept as someone ready for the presidency on day one. In 2016, Hillary Clinton was ahead in the national polls, and yet she did not turn out the Obama coalition in sufficient numbers in part because black turnout in key states like Michigan and Pennsylvania wasn’t strong enough. Biden, who has pledged to nominate a woman as his running mate and a black woman as a justice, knows there is no path to the White House for a Democrat without strong black turnout. He needs a black woman as his running mate. Why? Because black women are the core of the Democratic base, the party’s most loyal voters. And as Harris made clear in her final debate performance this year, the Democratic Party must stop taking black women voters for granted. Whether it’s Harris or Demings, Biden needs a smart, strong, loyal, and tough sister by his side. It is the Obama 2008 ticket in reverse. Only this time Biden will be at the top, and he has a chance to change history’s trajectory by putting a tested and trusted black woman in his No. 2 slot—thus setting her up for the best shot a woman has ever had of becoming president in either 2024 if Biden does not run again or in 2028 after two terms. Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. 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(Bloomberg) -- Cars lined up this week at the main entrance to the Baishazhou wet market, one of the biggest in Wuhan, which is buzzing again. The Chinese city where the coronavirus first emerged has stirred back to life following a lockdown lasting for months.A sign hovers overhead: “No slaughtering and selling live animals.”Baishazhou and other wet markets are at the center of an intensifying global debate about whether they should be allowed to operate, given another market in Wuhan was one of the first places where the virus was detected. U.S. officials, in particular, are ramping up pressure to shut them down. Yet such markets in China and elsewhere in Asia are as essential a part of everyday life as bodegas in the New York City or boulangeries in Paris.The challenge facing Beijing’s central government as Wuhan and the rest of the country seeks to return to normal life will be how to keep open such markets -- which function like a farmers’ market in Western countries -- while enforcing rules against the live slaughter of animals or sale of wildlife on site.“Banning wet markets is not only going to be impossible, but will also be destructive for urban food security in China as they play such a pivotal role in ensuring urban residents’ access to affordable and healthy food,” said Dr. Zhenzhong Si, a research associate at the University of Waterloo who studies food security in China.The coronavirus, which has now infected more than 1.4 million people worldwide, was first discovered in December after a cluster of cases initially linked to the city’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market -- one of the biggest aquatic wholesale markets in central China. Subsequent research, including a study by Chinese researchers published in the Lancet in February, has found that some of the earliest cases had no exposure to the Huanan market.Scientists and Chinese officials believe the deadly illness jumped to humans from wild animals, most likely via an intermediary species like bats. Close contact with wild animals at the market, which has been closed since January, has been widely blamed for the outbreak.American OppositionU.S. officials are calling for President Xi Jinping’s government to immediately close the markets, saying they are potential breeding grounds for disease. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said last week the coronavirus was a “direct result” of unsanitary markets and said it was “mind-boggling” that the markets remained open.“I would like to see the rest of the world really lean with a lot of pressure on those countries that have that,” he said on “Fox and Friends.”Republican lawmakers including Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina are urging Chinese officials not to reopen such markets. Graham last week sent a letter to the Chinese ambassador to the U.S. imploring him to pressure his government, saying “their operation should cease immediately.”There also may be some semantic confusion. U.S. officials and others refer to wet markets generally while what they appear to be seeking to ban is the live animal trade in the markets.“The closest thing to wet markets in Western countries are farmers’ markets where you can buy products from independent vendors,” said Jian Yi, founder of the Good Food Academy, an online platform advocating healthy eating. “People depend on wet markets for vegetables, fruits, meat and fish.”In any case, shuttering such markets would be next to impossible as they are crucial to the livelihood of millions of farmers and small business vendors and are a centerpiece of communities across China. A 2018 study from Canada’s Wilfrid Laurier University and Hungry Cities Partnership, which looks at urban food systems, found 90% of households in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing, with a population of more than eight million, bought food from wet markets -- with 75% visiting one at least five times a week.Wet markets are popular in China because they’re convenient, and products are considered to be less expensive and fresher than in many supermarkets. While pigs, lambs and cows must be butchered in special slaughtering factories, rather than on site, meat sold at the markets isn’t packaged, and live fish and chickens are common.Cracking DownAlthough there are well-managed, hygienic wet markets in and near bigger cities, hygiene can be spotty, especially in smaller communities. Even before the virus outbreak, China’s central and local governments tried to regulate wild animal trading at markets, instituting occasional checks to improve sanitation.China’s wild-animal farming industry was worth an estimated 520 billion yuan ($74 billion) in 2016 and employed more than 14 million people, according to the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Environmentalists, researchers and Chinese state media have called for stricter regulation of exotic animal trade in the markets.Photos that circulated online in January showed animals including deer -- which aren’t commonly eaten in China -- and peacocks available for purchase at the Huanan market. This triggered an outcry over authorities’ negligence in ignoring loopholes that allow their purchase and sale as long as they’re bred on farms. Wild animals are categorized as those that aren’t commonly eaten.China’s National Health Commission in January issued a temporary emergency order that Wuhan officials should “strictly manage” the markets and prohibit wild animals and live poultry from entering the city. Under pressure in February as the virus spread, the National People’s Congress announced a ban on trading wild terrestrial animals for the purpose of eating.Still, the NPC’s decision didn’t cover the trade of exotic animals for use in traditional Chinese medicines, fashion or entertainment. Chinese medicine holds that some exotic animals have health benefits and has helped fuel the illegal smuggling and trade of species like the endangered pangolin, whose scales are believed to cure a variety of ailments.“It’s misleading to focus on wet markets when we discuss the outbreak,” said Si, of the University of Waterloo. “It overshadows the true problem here, which is the supply chain of wild animals. We shouldn’t demonize wet markets because of the coronavirus outbreak.”The Chinese government has been pushing for the resumption of economic activity now that the official infection numbers have been at a low level for weeks, trying to kick start consumption that all but disappeared during the outbreak.The now-famous Huanan market remained closed this week, even as Wuhan gradually reopened. The smell of seafood wafted on the street, though the market was boarded up and guarded by police who stopped people from taking photos.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
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