Next month, Joe Biden will choose his running mate, the presumptive Democratic Party's vice presidential candidate. Biden has pledged that his running mate will be a woman but committed to little beyond that. The last female major party vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, became a media phenomenon unto herself and helped usher in the Tea Party movement to prominence. No presidential ticket with a woman on it has ever been elected in the United States. With Joe Biden as the oldest presidential candidate in history, the stakes for vice president have never been higher. 

Who are the Biden campaign’s top choices for vice president? Will Biden use his choice to energise Democratic Party progressives or to maintain his campaign theme of being a moderate, centrist candidate? Or will history be made in 2020, with a woman elected as vice president of the United States? 

To discuss these issues, USSC hosted a webinar event featuring Dr Jennifer Lawless, the Commonwealth Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia; Kim Hoggard, former senior official in the Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush administrations; and USSC CEO Professor Simon Jackman in a conversation moderated by former ABC Washington Bureau Chief Zoe Daniel.  

Dr Jennifer L Lawless is the Commonwealth Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia. She is the author or co-author of six books, including Women on the Run: Gender, Media, and Political Campaigns in a Polarized Era (with Danny Hayes) and It Still Takes a Candidate: Why Women Don’t Run for Office (with Richard L Fox). She is an editor of the American Journal of Political Science, and holds an appointment as a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. 

Kim Hoggard is a Non-Resident Fellow at the United States Studies Centre. She worked for two US presidents on policies related to domestic, economic and international affairs, serving as White House Assistant Press Secretary for President Ronald Reagan, as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Treasury for Public Affairs during the second term of the Reagan administration, and as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs for President George HW Bush. 

Professor Simon Jackman commenced as Chief Executive Officer of the United States Studies Centre in April 2016. Jackman’s research has appeared in the leading journals of political science, in a publishing career spanning thirty years. Between 1996 and 2016, he was a Professor of Political Science and Statistics at Stanford University. Jackman served as one of the Principal Investigators of the American National Election Studies, the world’s longest running and most authoritative survey of political behaviour and attitudes, directing this project over both the 2012 and 2016 presidential election cycles. 

Zoe Daniel was the ABC’s US bureau chief in Washington from December 2015 until December 2019. She was the ABC's South East Asia correspondent from 2009 - 2013 and Africa correspondent from 2005 until 2007. Zoe co-hosted the international news program The World on News 24 and Australia Plus. Zoe is the author of Storyteller, which provides a personal insight into her life as a foreign correspondent, as well as juggling a family.