Others speak of the need to energize young voters of color who were uninspired by the 2016 Democratic presidential ticket, warning that summer protests in the streets are not guaranteed to translate into votes in November. And increasingly, many are arguing that for a presidential candidate who values experience in a running mate, personal familiarity with navigating the most searing issues confronting the nation should be a relevant qualification.
“Just like in ’08 — when President Obama selected someone that would help him govern, someone that could hit the ground running on recovery efforts in ’09 — when Joe Biden is elected in November, his running mate, the next vice president, would hit the ground running to address the crisis we have in our nation,” said Clay Middleton, a member of the Democratic National Committee and a well-known South Carolina strategist. “Of the plight of African-Americans, and law enforcement, police reform, a plethora of issues.”
Among those on the private call last month with Mr. Biden were the Democratic strategists Donna Brazile, Leah D. Daughtry, Minyon Moore and Karen Finney; the lawyer and media personality Star Jones; Roslyn M. Brock, the chairman emeritus of the national board of directors for the N.A.A.C.P.; and a lengthy list of activists in civil rights, labor and other issues, according to a readout intended for women who had signed the original petition. Mr. Biden’s campaign manager, Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, and two senior advisers, Anita Dunn and Symone D. Sanders, were also listed as participants, as was Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester, a Delaware Democrat and a member of Mr. Biden’s vice-presidential search committee. A Biden spokesman declined to comment.
“In the moment of our deepest racial division and crisis, really being able to have a ticket that is as reflective of the future and diversity of America as what we’re seeing happen in the streets right now — that, that is the opportunity,” said LaTosha Brown, co-founder of the Black Voters Matter Fund. “If there was a time in America we needed the leadership of a black woman, it is now.”
Ms. Brown, who was also listed as a participant in the call with Mr. Biden, declined to comment on the conversation, but said of the campaign, “I think there’s an openness to explore.”
Mr. Biden, 77, has been clear for months about some of his criteria for a running mate. He wants to choose someone with whom he is “simpatico” on major issues and strategy, even if they disagree on tactics. His vice president must be prepared on “Day 1,” he has said, to assume the presidency if need be. He wants to have open conversations and a strong level of trust with his running mate, he has said, just as he and Mr. Obama did.
He has also suggested he wants someone who will balance the ticket and who “has capacities in areas that I do not,” he said at a fund-raiser last month.