“His cabinet will be the future”: Readers tell us who they want to see next to Joe Biden, on the ballot and in the White House.
The summer is heating up and, with it, the Democratic Veepstakes. The party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Joe Biden, has said he wants to announce his running mate around Aug. 1. This means that somewhere out there, the campaign’s aides and advisers are in the final stages of agonizing over who’d make the perfect No. 2: Kamala Harris? Elizabeth Warren? Michelle Lujan Grisham? Tammy Duckworth? The stakes are high, and the calculation seems in constant flux.
Last month, we invited readers to get in on the action by submitting their picks for the vice presidency as well as for top cabinet positions such as attorney general, secretary of state and E.P.A. chief. Thousands of you answered the call, choosing from our suggestions or writing in your favorites, creating your own Dream Team. The (highly unscientific) results have been tabulated and are now ready to be shared — a perfect conversation starter for your socially distanced July 4 barbecue.
Topline: Senator Kamala Harris was your top choice for vice president, though it was by no means a blowout. Senator Amy Klobuchar ran a close second — and only a few votes ahead of Senator Elizabeth Warren. On June 19, Ms. Klobuchar took herself out of contention for the job, saying that with the protests and focus on racial justice of late, Mr. Biden should put a Black woman on the ticket. But overall, the women of the Senate made a strong showing.
You had clear favorites for some of the cabinet posts. Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, whose short-lived presidential run revolved around fighting climate change, was the overwhelming pick to head the E.P.A. To lead the Treasury Department, Ms. Warren easily outpaced the No. 2 vote-getter, Michael Bloomberg, the former New York mayor.Image Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington. Credit... Susan Walsh/Associated Press Image Senator Elizabeth Warren. Credit... Ruth Fremson/The New York Times
Other categories were more evenly split. Susan Rice, who served as the ambassador to the United Nations and then as the national security adviser during the Obama years, was your favorite for secretary of state, but Senator Mitt Romney, the Utah Republican who some readers said would help bring some balance to the cabinet, was close behind.Image Susan Rice, former national security adviser. Credit... Win Mcnamee/Getty Images Image Senator Mitt Romney of Utah. Credit... Michael Reynolds/EPA, via Shutterstock
Ms. Harris was your top choice for attorney general but scored only a few hundred votes more than Preet Bharara, the former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.Image Preet Bharara, former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Credit... Adrees Latif/Reuters
Ms. Harris wasn’t the only name that popped up in multiple categories. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico got write-in love in the V.P. spot, as well as to head Homeland Security and Health and Human Services. Several of you wanted to see Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as U.N. ambassador, but also possibly as head of the E.P.A. And Ms. Warren got a nod for every position listed, with the exception of secretary of defense.
Some of your write-ins were more fanciful than others. Michelle Obama would no doubt be a formidable choice for V.P. — or, as one of you suggested, to lead a new “Department of Becoming.” It also would be fascinating to see The Times’s Paul Krugman tackle the job of treasury secretary. But it’s best not to bet the farm on either of these dark horses.
Some of you went above and beyond, suggesting the creation of new high-level positions: a czar to oversee “tech and cyber attacks”; a “cabinet-level post for National Infrastructure”; someone to lead a “National Truth and Reconciliation Commission” to investigate “the corruption of the Trump administration.”
Regardless of who makes the cut, several of you argued that Mr. Biden should announce his team sooner rather than later, to give his campaign a little “OOMPH,” as one reader put it.
Below are your top Dream Team selections, along with the reasoning behind some of your decisions. Remarks have been edited for length and clarity.
Harris’s prosecutorial chops have helped make her among the most intimidating questioners in committee hearings. She eviscerated both Jeff Sessions and his craven replacement, Bill Barr. It doesn’t hurt that she has a multi-watt Obama-esque smile and considerable personal charm. Smart, funny, and ruthless when she needs to be. She would help lead a team with integrity, accountability and a true sense of patriotism and public service. — Monty Mickelson, 63, Portland, Ore.
She has common sense, experience and the Midwest — but only if a Democrat replaces her in Senate. — Allison Henderson, older than 60, El Cajon, Calif.
She understands the importance of strong international relationships and is smart and experienced. We need someone with experience to repair relationships with allies and conduct sophisticated, effective management of China and Russia. — John Holland, 57, New Haven, Conn.
Mitt Romney is well rounded, smart, could restore diplomacy, has excellent ethics and is a true leader, even if we don’t agree on many things. — Mari Boggiano, 45, New Jersey
Income inequality must be addressed as our No. 1 priority. She can handle that as well as addressing corruption. I want to see fierce advocates in all these roles but I am supporting Joe Biden no matter who he chooses. — Ann Heiser, 62, Afton, Minn.
Joe will most likely inherit a devastated economy. Bloomberg has the experience and knowledge to help us once again save an economy destroyed by Republicans. — Wesley Ginnick, 29, PittsburghImage Adm. William McRaven. Credit... Marsha Miller/The University of Texas at Austin, via Associated Press
Admiral McRaven projects self-confidence, determination and independence. He tells it like it is, with the bark off. Ramrod and iron straight. Joe Biden deserves a secretary of defense to tell him what’s what, just like George C. Marshall did with F.D.R. when elevated to Army chief of staff when Roosevelt reached down past 343 others to place Marshall at the top to lead America during World War II! — Dean Browning Webb, 69, Camas, Wash.
Time to promote his generation. He served the nation in the Middle East. He’s an articulate, brilliant role model for his generation and for gay people of all generations. — Laury Zicari, 67, Glenburn, Maine
I doubt she’d take it, but whoever does would be the point person on criminal justice reform. On the long list of people who could do the job, Senator Harris is at the top. — Nikunj Khetan, 23, Boston
He has a strong record of expecting powerful interests to actually obey laws. — Brian Crain, 45, Houston
Inslee is committed to fighting climate change to the point where it borders on obsession. — Ben Adams, 23, Bethlehem, Pa.
Let’s show that a Republican can, and does, care about the environment. — Rich Strum, 56, Ticonderoga, N.Y.
I’d like to see a doctor in this role, like Fauci. But if Gates would accept it, he could revolutionize things. He’s run a huge organization before, and his foundation has been tremendously innovative and effective. It’s an area in dire need of technological modernization. — Chris Lansford, 49, Boise, Idaho
Berwick, having worked with Medicare and Medicaid, will be in a good position to handle the complexities that are going to come forth with this pandemic and to be able to make informed decisions regarding how to best serve the people who have lost health care as well as jobs. [Dr. Berwick is a former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.]— Dianne A. Clowes, 53, Fredericksburg, Va.
I want Michelle Obama for V.P. because in addition to being very smart, she has the charisma and allure to energize young people and women, in addition to African-American voters. I hear she won’t take it, but a girl can dream. — Jessica Lowrey, 54, Salt Lake City
Biden, Harris, Romney, Warren, McRaven and Adam Schiff are a unity ticket. This team will show Americans that they care more about them than the oligarchy, assuage the fears of centrist voters and give centrist Republicans familiar faces. — Elliot Broze, 30, Walla Walla, Wash.
Senator Cortez Masto would ensure that the ticket brings a new voice to complement Biden’s well-known tune. She brings a Western state perspective and can tick up Hispanic turnout like Obama did for African-Americans in 2008. — Terri O’Brien, 67, Detroit
Only a progressive leadership team (Bernie Sanders, Andrew Bacevich, Senator Warren, Tulsi Gabbard, Alan Grayson, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Arnold Schwarzenegger — heading the E.P.A. as a token bipartisan establishment pick) could reassure me that a Biden administration will act to seriously address the economic and foreign policy crises that have resulted from the last 30 years of misguided and destructive policy pursued by establishment leaders of both parties. — Jakub Wrzesniewski, 40, Washington, D.C.
Being the age that he is, Biden needs to act as a steward of the next generation of the party. By picking young, diverse cabinet members like Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, he can show voters that while he is the “return to normalcy” candidate, his cabinet will be the future. — Leah Forrest, 24, Los Angeles