Politics

How the Mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, grew to become a part of the Biden VP dialog

In this screenshot, the Mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, speaks during the show "Saving Ourself: Using BET COVID-19" on April 22, 2020. "Saving Ourself: Using BET COVID-19" is becoming financial , Educational and Community Assistance provides support directly to black communities most affected by COVID-19.

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While the nation is grappling with racial injustice, suspected Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has reportedly viewed several black women as his fellow campaigners.

Candidates include Keisha Lance Bottoms, 50-year-old Mayor of Atlanta, who has come into the limelight for her treatment of the coronavirus pandemic and protests in response to the police murder of George Floyd.

While she has no federal experience like other women to be considered, such as Senator Kamala Harris or former national security advisor Susan Rice, her leadership in turbulent times has put her on the radar of the Biden campaign. Harris, Rice and potential candidate Rep. Val Demings are all black too.

"The idea that she had some experience managing bureaucracy and managing multiple offices would make a difference [bottoms]," said Andra Gillespie, associate professor of political science at Emory University in Atlanta. To be a federal legislator is "very different from actually being in an elected position in which the money stays with you."

"It was the same kind of argument that Pete Buttigieg put forward: if he was an executive, he would probably be better qualified than someone who was just a senator," said Gillespie. Buttigieg is the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who ran for president but left shortly before Super Tuesday.

But Atlanta, much larger and more complex than South Bend, could show that Bottoms has even more leadership potential than Buttigieg, said Gillespie. Atlanta has a population of approximately 500,000 people, five times the population of South Bend, according to US census records.

Corona virus and protests

Bottoms was born in Atlanta and was elected Mayor in 2017 after six years in office. Her father, Major Lance, was a well-known R&B singer in the 1960s.

As Mayor, Bottoms, mother of four, gave passionate speeches about black children who create race profiles.

More recently, Bottoms has received national recognition for its critical response to the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, who accelerated the reopening process and endangered the state's population as the coronavirus continued to spread. Kemp announced plans to reopen to the state on April 24, although more and more cases were confirmed in Atlanta at that time.

"I think maybe there was a way for us to be very thoughtful about a gradual reopening," Bottoms said in an interview with NPR. "I don't think this should have started with hairdressing salons and barbershops and places where people cannot adequately distance themselves or even have easy access to the appropriate PPE. So I think there could have been a more thoughtful approach . "

Around this time, Rep. Jim Clyburn, the most powerful black in Congress, was hovering on the idea that Bottoms could be seen as a convincing choice for Vice Presidents.

"There is a young lady right there in Georgia that I think would be an excellent vice president, and that is Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms," said Clyburn, the house's majority whip, which Biden faced before the decisive one Elementary school in Clyburn's home advocated state of South Carolina.

The leadership of Bottoms was also tested during the protests against Floyd's death, in which Bottoms made a passionate speech calling for an end to the destructive behavior that resulted from the demonstrations.

"What I see on the streets of Atlanta is not Atlanta. This is not a protest. It is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.," Bottoms said at a press conference. "This is chaos."

Nationwide protests broke out after a video appeared in which a former Minneapolis policeman knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly eight minutes on Memorial Day. Floyd, a black man handcuffed and face down on the floor, told the officers that he could not breathe. His death was considered homicide, and the officer who knelt on Floyd's neck, Derek Chauvin, was charged with murder.

Protesters march during a protest against racial inequality and the death of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, Georgia, on June 15, 2020.

Alex Hicks Jr. | USA TODAY NETWORK | Reuters

In order to model a peaceful demonstration, Bottoms himself took part in some protests demanding justice for Floyd.

"In a way, she's trying to respond to the screams that could come from the party's progressive wing on police reform," Gillespie said, adding that Bottoms may also be trying to show conservative voters that police reform isn't necessary, something that "looks disruptive and disordered".

Neither the Biden campaign nor Bottoms' office immediately responded to a request for comment from CNBC.

The black voice

Bottoms could also help Biden continue to secure the black vote for the democratic ticket, although their lack of awareness at the national level could be a disadvantage, experts say.

"I'm sure the Biden understand that African-American women are pretty much one of the more significant parts of the Democratic Party at this point," said William Boone, a political science professor at Clark Atlanta University. "But on the other hand, does she have that kind of national appeal? Do other African American women, groups, and organizations know her well enough to say, & # 39; yes, we are committed to supporting it. & # 39;"

Over 90% of black women voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

Given the strong support of the Democratic candidate and the nationwide response to Floyd's death, it makes sense for Biden to take a black woman seriously as his running mate, Boone and Gillespie said.

Harris and Demings now have a reputation that is partly determined by their law enforcement experience.

"At the moment, experience as a prosecutor or police is not considered a plus," said Gillespie. Women like Demings and Harris are challenged to show Biden why they would best complement him. Senator Amy Klobuchar, who worked as a prosecutor in Minnesota, said Thursday that she is retiring from the VP exam because "this is a moment to put a colored woman on this ticket."

"Klobuchar is often accused by law enforcement officers of letting the killers go, and Harris is accused of jailing so many blacks," said Marilyn Davis, associate professor of political science at Spelman College, Atlanta.

And while Bottoms isn't as well known as Harris, it could work in their favor, said Gillespie. Bottoms has the ability to "define" itself.

"If you have someone who is much better known, it is much more difficult to increase the cheap and reduce the negative when people's opinions about them have already been formulated," said Gillespie.

Head to head with Mike Pence

On the other hand, Bottom's inexperience at federal level could hamper her in the debate phase against Vice President Mike Pence.

Biden's running comrade will face Pence on October 7 during the Vice President debate at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City.

Pence, who works alongside President Donald Trump, has become an experienced speaker on national affairs after giving numerous speeches on the corona virus and other issues.

Bottoms' performance in the mayor debate has fluctuated in quality, Boone said. "Some were pretty good and some weren't so good."

"Pence has a lot more experience at national level than Mayor Bottoms, so it's about how much preparation you need to do to bring it up to date and answer some of these questions," Boone added.

But Bottoms, a long-time biden endorser, chose the alleged democratic candidate in Iowa. She promised support for Biden back in June last year when there were approximately two dozen nominees.

And in the past few months, their efforts to control the protests and respond strategically to the pandemic have shown that their spokesman has been able to shake people in Atlanta and make national waves.

She went viral "because she commanded the stage and was present," said Gillespie.

"Because of the challenges we have faced in the past few months, she has had an opportunity to build a national reputation and to practice what could be reflected in her ability to speak at congresses and rallies and to ascend. " against Mike Pence in the debate. "

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