Because she’s been doing serious wonk work, Raimondo, age 52, hasn’t been getting the bright-lights attention of female pols who do the easy stuff, like talking about abortion rights.
A former governor of Rhode Island, Raimondo is leading the $100 billion campaign to make America the leading chipmaking power and expand broadband access. She likes to call the CHIPS Act “rocket fuel for our global competitiveness.”
Our tech future, including artificial intelligence and supercomputing, shouldn’t be relying on the good graces of China, which is close to dominating the world’s supply of semiconductors. She will also oversee controls on exports of advanced semiconductors and equipment to China.
Founder of a venture capital fund, Raimondo gets along famously well with business leaders. But she’s still a Democrat. Raimondo has imposed some discipline on executive pay by restricting stock options at companies getting government subsidies. As governor, she started free community college and all-day kindergarten in Rhode Island.
For those who want their candidates to offer inspiring backstories, Raimondo has one. She grew up in a “close-knit” Italian American family. When she was in the sixth grade, her father lost his job at a Bulova watch factory after working there 28 years. Raimondo knows the economic and psychic toll of factories closing down.
Harris has marketed herself as a “person of color” who has suffered the hardships that implies, but her father was an economics professor at Stanford and her mother a medical researcher. Raimondo has a much stronger claim to being a child of the working class.
Some on the Democratic left flank think Raimondo is too friendly to business, but those suspicions could be an asset in a general election. She has won a good number of Republican fans and could peel off votes of conservatives sickened by the former grifter-in-chief’s reign of chaos.
Last month, The Wall Street Journal ran a profile of Raimondo as glowing as this one. It was titled “Everyone Wants to Talk to Gina Raimondo — Even China.”
Raimondo’s qualifications dwarf those of all the talked-about running mates for Donald Trump. They dwarf Trump’s qualifications as well. A comparison of cognitive abilities would also not be to Trump’s advantage.
The proudly pro-business Raimondo could better sell the successes of Bidenomics to the public than Biden has. She would talk economy; he, labor. They could both do foreign policy.
Raimondo playing co-pilot with Biden would offer Democrats a truly powerful ticket in 2024. She belongs at the front of the line of potential new running mates.
Democrats should be asking themselves: “What about Gina Raimondo?”