Biden’s Promise of a Diverse Cabinet Must Be Fulfilled


Before Biden and Harris take office, they are tasked with selecting a diverse set of Cabinet members. (Courtesy of Twitter)

As the newly recognized president-elect, Joe Biden has no time to rest. America is already eagerly awaiting the announcement of his Cabinet. One of the main reasons many voters went blue this year was because of the promise of a diverse Cabinet from Biden, a move he made in an attempt to help unite the country. Kamala Harris, the vice president-elect, has already made history as being one of very few women to be on the presidential ticket. Now, she is set to become the first woman and first person of color to secure the vice presidency. While Harris’ win is historic, Biden’s is, unfortunately, nothing the American people haven’t seen before. 

A white, 77-year-old male, Biden’s win leaves something to be desired in the realm of diversity. That’s why his pledge to create the most diverse Cabinet to enter the White House is so highly valued among his voters. Biden cited his presidential campaign as evidence that he will deliver on his promise, saying, “I said from the outset I wanted a campaign that represented America, and I think we did that. Now that’s what I want the administration to look like.” Biden’s Cabinet is rumored to be diverse in multiple areas, ranging across race, age, gender and political party.

One high-profile name that tends to immediately appear when it comes to discussions of Biden’s Cabinet is Sen. Bernie Sanders. A former Vermont congressman and mayor, Sanders has a long history of involvement in politics and is famous for gaining popularity among younger generations in the past few years. Sanders was, ironically enough, Biden’s biggest competition during the 2020 presidential election. However, many identified Sanders’ more radical, socialist-leaning ideals and policies as the reason he ultimately lost the race, labeling him as too progressive for the American people. 

If Sanders is chosen as a Cabinet member, he’ll serve in the Labor Department. Here, he would address some of his primary concerns, such as raising the minimum wage for improved living conditions and increasing healthcare accessibility. A 79-year-old white male himself, Sanders doesn’t do much good when it comes to diversity, although his views are much more leftist and radical than Biden’s own. While this would definitely please progressive voters, it could aid in angering moderates who didn’t want Biden in the first place. This could further divide the country, which is the opposite of Biden’s goal. As a result, Sanders’ involvement in the Cabinet is one of the most controversial suggestions. 

However, there are plenty of presidential nominees from the 2020 election to choose from that are much tamer options. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, for example, is a possibility when it comes to the Justice Department. A white, female member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Klobuchar quickly endorsed Biden after ending her presidential campaign. Although far from neutral, Klobuchar presents a much less extreme choice for the Cabinet when compared to Sanders. There are plenty of other recognizable names up for the Justice Department, such as Stacey Abrams and Cory Booker. Abrams recently made history as the first Black woman to become a nominee for governor in a major political party. Prior to Harris’ nomination, Abrams was even rumored to be a potential running mate for Biden. Sen. Cory Booker also made history as the first AfricanAmerican U.S. senator from New Jersey. A member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, his focus on criminal legislation makes him a strong choice for Biden’s Justice Department. 

Some of Biden’s other former competitors-turned-supporters include Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Warren is a wise choice for the Cabinet, seeing as she was one of the other presidential nominees who polled well among voters. Many supporters rallied behind Warren, hoping she would be able to pull out a win and become the first female president. With a background in education, Warren is well-known for her focus on advocating for and supporting the working class, frequently addressing her own upbringing as ammunition for this goal. Warren would be a candidate for the Treasury Department. In spite of Warren’s popularity amongst Democrats, this position in Biden’s Cabinet will prove a difficult battle to win, seeing as the Treasury Department will serve a vital role in our current political climate, tasked with dispersing money for COVID-19 relief and potential economic stimulus.

This could explain why Biden might be swayed to choose a Republican for the department in an attempt to placate what will likely be a majority Republican Senate. Another path for Biden could be choosing a more neutral individual, such as Gov. Lael Brainard. Although a Democrat, Brainard is seen as more of a centrist in comparison to some of today’s more progressive candidates, and he has a long record of experience, including serving in both the Obama and Clinton administrations. 

Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg would be up for a position in Veterans Affairs. Buttigieg is a veteran himself, having been deployed to Afghanistan. He was a fan-favorite in the 2020 presidential election, and many have noted his personal endorsement for Biden after ending his campaign as a crucial factor in Biden’s win. His influential support for Biden could aid in cinching him a Cabinet position. There have also been rumors circulating about Buttigieg becoming involved with the United Nations. 

Although Biden has yet to enter the White House, all eyes are on him as he prepares to make his first monumental decisions as president-elect. Though Biden’s voters are thrilled to have secured the presidency, they are also prepared to hold Biden accountable when it comes to following through on his bold promises.

Taylor Herzlich, FCRH ’23, is a journalism major from Mt. Sinai, N.Y.