The 2020 election may be more than a year away, but some candidates have already given some thought to who their running mate might be — including Bernie Sanders. When asked in an interview with The Young Turks web-series about who he might pick to join him on the ticket if he wins the primary, the Vermont senator said: "I think we would look for somebody who is maybe not of the same gender as I am."
Sanders officially announced his 2020 presidential bid in February. In a video for the announcement, the senator vowed, "Together, you and I and our 2016 campaign began the political revolution. Now, it is time to complete that revolution and implement the vision that we fought for."
On Tuesday, Sanders told Vermont Public Radio that, with his presidential bid, he planned to "take the values that all of us in Vermont are proud of — a belief in justice, in community, in grassroots politics, in town meetings — that's what I'm going to carry all over this country."
Sanders isn't alone in hinting at picking a woman as a running mate. On Tuesday, New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker, who also announced his candidacy for the 2020 race, told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow that he was "looking to women first" for prospective running mates.
While Sanders didn't elaborate any further on the potential move to pick a woman as his running mate, Booker got into why he thought picking someone who wasn't a male was important for American politics.
"I believe there should be a woman president right now and we’ve worked very hard to get one, but we have such a great field of leaders," Booker told Maddow on Tuesday night. "I’m not going to box myself in, but should I become it, you know I’ll be looking to women first."
The New Jersey Democrat also praised the diversity of backgrounds among Democratic candidates for the 2020 race. "I think it's something that we should have," Booker told Maddow.
As he spoke on The Young Turks show on Tuesday, Sanders sounded confident about his candidacy. "I think I am the strongest candidate to defeat Donald Trump," the Vermont senator told the show's co-hosts. "I think we can win states that [2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton] lost. I think we can win states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, and maybe some other states as well."
At one point, in a frank admission, Sanders noted that critics had "correctly" called his campaign in the previous Democratic primary "too white and too male oriented." Come 2020, Sanders promised he would do his best to "reach out to every community in this country."
A presidential candidate's ultimate selection for such a role can tell a lot about where his or her political priorities lie. Running mates for presidential candidates arguably balance out their image and voice. And if a woman does ultimately run alongside Sanders or Booker, it could signal a powerful message of progress for female voters in the United States.