PERSPECTIVE: Biden’s VP Could Serve 10 Years as President

PERSPECTIVE: Biden’s VP Could Serve 10 Years as President

Created: 17 April, 2020
Last update: 27 July, 2022

Arturo Castañares

Former Vice-President Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee for president now that Bernie Sanders dropped out of the race and endorsed him, along with Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobucher, and even former President Barack Obama.

Biden hasn’t yet decided who will run with him as his Vice-Presidential running mate, but he did commit that it will be a woman joining him on the ticket.

His choices are not limited to those that have already endorsed him.

Grethen Whitmer, the first-term Governor of Michigan is a front runner for the nod as she leads an important state Biden must win to beat Donald Trump. Whitmer previously served five years in Michigan’s House of Representatives, nine years in their State Senate, and was appointed to fill the last 6 months of a local prosecutor’s term after he resigned in a prostitution scandal. She has a BA and law degree from Michigan State University.

Stacey Abrams, the former candidate for Governor of Georgia in 2018, could also help Biden with southern Democrats as well as African-American voters. Abrams served ten years in the Georgia State Assembly and earned her BA from Spelman College, a Masters’ Degree from the University of Texas, and a law degree from Yale University.

Biden could also make the bold move of selecting a woman with no electoral history but with an intimate understanding of the presidency; Michelle Obama.

Mrs. Obama hasn’t endorsed Biden yet and some Democrats hope it means she is seriously considering the possibility of serving as the first female vice-president in history. Of course, she’s the wife of the former president, too, but also has a BA degree from Princeton and a law degree from Harvard.

But no matter who Biden picks to be his running mate, there is a chance that person could end up not only following Biden as President, but she could end up serving more than two terms.

If President Joe Biden were to resign or die in office, the Vice-President would automatically become President. That’s a no-brainer, but depending on when that happened, she could end up serving longer than the usual two terms allowed by the Constitution.

Under the terms of the 22nd Amendment, no one can be elected to more than two terms, and no one who served more than two years of someone else’s term can be re-elected.

So that means that if Joe Biden served exactly two years or more, then either resigned or died in office, his Vice-President would fulfill the rest of Biden’s term and still be eligible to run for two full terms herself, bringing the total to 10 years.

Democrats would surely love to not only beat Donald Trump but also secure the White House for a decade. Biden, at 77, is already the oldest candidate for president ever and would be hard-pressed to serve eight years under the pressures of the job.

But a younger Vice-President like Whitmer (49 years old), Abrams (46), or Obama (56) could easily be able to serve for 10 years and still be younger than Biden is now.

The thought of a Democratic president serving more than two terms would seem to energize voters, especially if she is a dynamic and popular figure.

Michelle Obama, although never having been elected, consistently polls even higher than Barack Obama. And of course, she has the same amount of electoral experience as Donald Trump did when he ran for president, so that shouldn’t be an automatic disqualifer anymore.

The Trump presidency has changed the office. Before him, no person without prior elected experience had been elected since Dwight D. Eisenhower, but he was a four-star General and hero of World War II. Since then, every president had first served in some elected position, even if only for a few years.

We’ve had US Senators and Congressman (Kennedy, Nixon, Johnson, GHW Bush, Obama), Governors (Carter, Reagan, GW Bush, Clinton), and even Vice-Presidents (Truman) but only Trump entered the Oval Office without ever running for another office, or even having stepped in the Oval Office before he won.

So the rules have changed, and Biden is free to select just about anyone he wants as his running mate, regardless of her past experience or qualifications.

Remember, Republican nominee John McCain chose first-term Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin in 2008, and Republicans have already suggested that Ivanka Trump, the President’s daughter, could someday run for President without any experience outside of business and serving as a senior advisor to her dad.

Whoever Biden picks as his running mate will be thrust into the spotlight and potentially into the Oval Office for many years to come. It’s an important decision and it will be both celebrated by supporters and picked apart by opponents.

All eyes are on Biden now as supporters await the announcement of the potential first female vice-president and possible first woman president in American history.