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KT edit: Biden charms with pitch for woman Veep

Filed on March 16, 2020 | Last updated on March 16, 2020 at 06.41 pm

The same is the case with the Oval Office that has seen 45 presidents at the helm but all men.

A clean debate with a studio audience. Sanitised, soapy, and secure from coronavirus. The Sunday night clash between former US vice-president Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont was even low on issues related to US President Donald Trump, who has been busy convincing Americans that everything is under control even as Covid-19 continues to spread across the world and infect people in countries and cities that had remained untouched until now. The highlight of the debate, however, was Biden's word on having a woman as his running mate, which would be a milestone for the country if he is elected. Women are yet to make a debut as a vice-president in the United States since the office came into existence in 1789.

The same is the case with the Oval Office that has seen 45 presidents at the helm but all men. The closet chance of nominating a women vice-president was in 2008 when Republican presidential nominee John McCain chose Alaskan governor Sara Palin as his running mate. The hope of breaking the glass ceiling was dashed when the duo lost the ticket in the 2008 presidential elections to the Barack Obama-Joe Biden team. The voters also disappointed presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton in 2016 when they voted for Trump.

The US is the largest economy in the world, a superpower that has helped shape much of the world order in the last century. As much as the world looks up to the country in various aspects of leadership, its record on women empowerment, opportunities for people of colour, and widening inequality needs to be corrected. The debate on Sunday night rightly discussed some of these issues with Biden saying, "If I'm elected president and have an opportunity to appoint someone to the courts, I'll appoint the first Black woman of the courts. It's required that they have representation now. It's long overdue." There is no dearth of talented women political leaders in the US and such commitments by leading presidential candidates sends out the right message. Biden's progressive agenda is stealing the limelight from Sanders who also has had the right talking points but lacks the charm and aggression of Biden.

Sanders is right in talking about the widening inequality in the US, and the fact that its capitalist economy has benefited the richest most rather than the ones at the bottom of the pyramid. In the last 30 years, the top one per cent in America has seen their wealth increase by $21 trillion and in contrast the wealth of the bottom half in America has decreased by $900 billion. Healthcare for all, too, is an urgent need as both the democratic candidates agree. But with Biden choosing the right keywords, the race for the presidency is getting more interesting.


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