Could Biden’s VP Pick Be A Flight Attendant?

Filed Under: Misc.

Obviously this is inherently political, which isn’t my intent — for what it’s worth, I have no strong opinion or agenda here. I’m writing about this because of the connection to aviation, and because I found it interesting and surprising.

Who will Joe Biden pick as his running mate?

With Joe Biden now being the presumptive Democratic nominee, there’s a lot of talk about who he’ll pick as his running mate. He made headlines by stating during one of the debates that he would pick a woman as his running mate.

Names like Stacey Abrams, Kamala Harris, and Amy Klobuchar, are being thrown around most.

That brings me to an interesting story in the International Business Times, which has the title “Five Potential Vice President Picks For Joe Biden.” There was a name on the list that caught me off guard — Sara Nelson.

Who is Sara Nelson?

For those of you who don’t know who Sara Nelson is, she’s the President of the Association of Flight Attendants, and she has been a United Airlines flight attendant since 1996. On the surface it seems rather farfetched to select a union leader as a VP pick, but she has been called America’s most powerful flight attendant, and her influence has gone way beyond internal flight attendant issues.

For example, during the government shutdown in late 2018 and early 2019, she was one of the most vocal people about the dangers of not paying federal workers. The same has been true now with getting funding for airlines through the CARES Act.

The author’s argument for Sara Nelson as a VP pick boils down to the following:

  • Biden might pick a progressive running mate so that he can get support from Sanders supporters
  • While Elizabeth Warren may seem like a logical choice, she is just seven years younger than Biden, and Massachusetts has a Republican governor who would appoint her replacement if she became VP, meaning the Democrats would lose a seat in the Senate
  • Nelson is a well known progressive labor leader
  • She has some foreign policy experience as well, as she was part of the industry’s response to 9/11, SARS, and more
  • “There is likely no other potential progressive VP pick who checks more boxes for both the left and the center of the party”

I’m certainly no political strategist, though this still all seems highly unlikely to me. Secretary of Labor? I could see that. Vice President? Well, I guess we’ll see…

I suppose largely politicians don’t have the “traditional” qualifications they used to have, so maybe this isn’t that far out there…

  1. I’ve never heard of her, but that is a compelling speech. I think if she decided to enter politics she’d have a bright future ahead of her. What’s the date on that video? Seems like a response to some past event, not the current situation. The most important consideration for a VP pick, especially when the nominee is over 70, is: Are they ready to be the President on day 1? I would need to know more about her before being able to make that determination. Dan Quayle and Sarah Palin were not, but as VP picks Joe Biden and George HW Bush probably were.

  2. “She has some foreign policy experience as well, as she was part of the industry’s response to 9/11, SARS, and more”
    Let’s get real.

  3. I don’t know. I think Biden will have to choose a woman not from the coast and someone well known. I only know of Sara Nelson from OMAAT.

  4. Some good odds on Whitmer, surprised she’s not higher

    Abrams would be good for a longer shot flier too

  5. Most of us know Sara Nelson from airline news but I do not know a lot of her background. Probably not VP, possibly a sub cabinet role like Deputy Secretary in the Transportation / Labor or head of the Labor Relations Board. That is just speculation based on resume criteria not anything inherently political. I suspect if the US Government gets deep into funding the airlines and/or has deep influence ala GM 10 years ago you could see an Airline Czar like there was for automobiles she could serve in such a role. Biden’s VP will be reserved for someone who can and quite possibly be a President in the near future.

  6. Warren scares moderate Dems, so it won’t be her.

    I’m already looking forward to this news cycle being over…

  7. Please stick to credit cards, hotel reviews and trip reports. This is really not a pleasure to read…

  8. Biden will not pick her. He will pick a woman but it will be someone that has held elective public office.

    “She has some foreign policy experience as well, as she was part of the industry’s response to 9/11, SARS, and more”

    That’s a little like Sarah Palin claiming foreign policy experience “I can see Russia from my house.”

    He doesn’t need foreign policy for balance, foreign policy will be less important this coming election (with the exception of drawing lines with China) the only relevance there is ‘one heartbeat away from the presidency’.

  9. Venezuela chose someone similar in a way, the union leader of bus drivers, a bus driver himself.

    Many FAs lack empathy, claiming they don’t give a sh#% (or give a fu#<), just there for your safety and don't even think of interfering with a flight crew. They call us passengers "the enemy".

  10. I think she would be a perfect nominee. She was at a convention I attended in Detroit in 2018 and she was an invited guest to give a speech. She gave a great speech as is symbolic of the labor movement.

  11. BTW it must be hard for the MAGA trolls to realize their 3 year “reign” of terror and stupidity and incompetence and graft and nepotism is rapidly coming to a close this fall…Biden was already looking to be the dominant favorite even before CV19 hit.

  12. What about Secretary of Transportation?

    I believe that Kamala Harris will be the next Vice President of the United States.

  13. Biden, Bush Sr. and Jr. and Trump are not qualified to be President . Robert Gates said that Biden was 80% wrong on defense issues, especially when Biden was against the amphibious assault to take out Bin Laden.Trump must choose the lesser evil: A collapsed economy or a disintegrated healthcare system to wipe out COVID 19 in the fall. My bet is he will pick the latter. Warren is too leftist and nobody from MA ever won the presidency, such as Kennedy and Kerry. Abraham won’t be selected as we just had a black president for two terms. There is no contest between Biden and Trump for black voters who to vote for. Biden will be too old to run for re-election in 2024. Biden will incur the lowest expenses and assert the least effort to clinch the nomination and win the election in US history. But it is not a sure bet or done deal for Biden considering all the odds against Trump now. Hopefully, he will mirror Obama’s election strategies rather than Clinton’s because Republicans will cheat, lie and break the laws at every step of the way to win presidential and congressional elections. Biden won’t want to lose a senate seat but will consider a running mate who will pull in more votes from the swing states. It is quite astonishing to watch voters who continue to elect a Republican President because six out of seven, since WWII, experienced a recession while in WH. Unless, they are cult members who only use their hearts not their heads when going to the poll, then it displays the shallow level of knowledge and comprehension of facts and issues of those voters.

  14. @Alan – I care!

    I think Sara is a long shot, but very capable and better than a lot of folks currently running the Government. However, if I had to lay down a wager, I’d bet on Kamala Harris.

  15. It doesn’t matter. — But here’s what probably will happen anyway:

    1. Biden picks a “centrist” woman like Amy K. —Whitmer will not be picked due to her disastrous handling of coronavirus in Michigan.
    2. Biden, being Biden, changes his mind at the last minute and pick another more “diverse” and “progressive” woman like Harris.
    3. Harris gets destroyed by Pence at the VP debates (“WTF were you doing when I’m leading the coronavirus task force…”)
    4. Biden gets destroyed by Trump at the debates for…being Biden.
    5. Harris will be the next Vice President — of her school district.

  16. Let me explain the possibility of this happening in terms most people can grasp:

    Precisely zero percent.

  17. @ Amos

    It does in fact matter. And speaking of a disastrous handling of Covid-19, it all starts at the top; your anus-shaped mouthpiece, DJT.
    Lie. Deny. Repeat.

  18. And the answer is: Kamala Harris. Can’t wait to see the prosecutor go against Pence in VP debates and rip him apart.

    If not Harris, Klobuchar…

  19. @Amos – How about Trump’s colossal mishandling of the government’s response to the pandemic?

    Don’t answer that. Anyone who thinks that Gov. Whitmer’s coherent and cerebral handling of coronavirus in Michigan was “disastrous” must believe that Trump’s face belongs on Mount Rushmore for his colossal mishandling of the response to the virus.

  20. Biden needs a female candidate who can help win an important swing state in November. Whitmer of Michigan fits that bill nicely. Maybe Klobuchar, to a lesser degree. Kamala Harris has good quals, but Biden already has California locked up.

  21. I don’t know what @DCS and @whatever the other guy is are smoking to think whitmer’s response is “coherent” and “cerebral”:

    As of today Michigan—my state—has by far the HIGHEST CASE-FATALITY RATE of the entire country. 5.6%. Compare that to our neighbors: Illinois: 3.3%, Ohio: 4.0%, Wisconsin: 4.2%, Indiana: 4.4%. Much higher than other hotspots like CA (2.8%), Louisiana (4.0% in case you want to pull the racial “disparity” card), etc.

    The frontline healthcare workers still lack PPEs despite higher allocation to MI than any other neighboring states.

    MI magically had “zero cases” until the day after the dem primary where Whitmer cheered for biden up and down the state.

    The Recall Whitmer petition opened a year ago had over 16k signatures in the last two days alone.

    Yeah, she’s “cerebral” indeed! Trying too hard to be the VP pick I guess. Check out her “news conference” if you want to see clueless:

  22. Kamala would leave Pence running from the stage, tail between his legs, calling “Mother!” (aka his wife).

    Donald Trump Era: November 2016-February 2019. RI(not)P. Was nice to ride the Obama Economy while it lasted. Time for the competent adults to take over again.

  23. Since the American public cares most about physical attractiveness (in this Kardashian era), and love a heart-tugging emotional speech (not facts and numbers….so boring) aka Obama – I’d say Sara Nelson is PERFECT.

  24. Time to get back to miles and points please. Most of us OMAAT readers didn’t come here to read more vicious political diatribe. There’s more that enough of that everywhere else. Lucky, I respect your article but not the level to which the comments have rapidly descended.

  25. Most of these responses crack me up… You people need to get a grip on reality, not on what you are currently holding. A grudge that is, lmao

    And for God’s sake turn off the news and open a book. Expand you mind not fill it with more vitriol.

  26. I know this is a travel site vs a political site, however, if Joe Biden were to use Michelle Obama for VP the election would already be over today!

  27. It’s curious. Those saying the government botched the handling of the Corona virus are usually the same ones calling for more government involvement in our lives. You really want government run healthcare? Somewhere in the future there will be another Trump like person in the White House. Careful what you wish for!

  28. Let’s be honest, Biden isn’t picking anything. He can hardly pick out his own socks. Dementia is cruel…….

  29. @Ben (Lucky)

    You have launched another blog post, and then not responded (as of the time of this response) to ANY of the reader responses. I suppose you are busy scouring the internet for the next bit of “news” to regurgitate into another blog post, including a “Bottom Line” summarizing basically a non-story.

    Have you considered engaging with your readers’ responses to your postings? In the past you did so on a regular basis. In this time of social distancing, it would seem that you would have plenty of time to do so. Instead, you seemed focused on “volume'” of postings, rather than engagement with your readers. Very disappointing, but it is your blog.

  30. How does Biden get labeled as senile and Trump, who slurs his words, gets spared from this label?

  31. Just like in 2016 @UA-PEK (@UA-NYC) might be crying into his MSNBC flavored Kool-Aid on election night. It will probably boil down to how COVID-19 plays out the next few months.

    As for @TDS (@DCS) Trump has done comparatively no worse than several of his European counterparts. They should have performed orders of magnitude better than Trump and they didn’t. Amusingly some reverted to their countries equivalent of Trump’s America First when the sh** hit the fan. And please don’t tell us about the medical equipment Germany sent to Italy – it was essentially a pittance.

  32. “It’s curious. Those saying the government botched the handling of the Corona virus are usually the same ones calling for more government involvement in our lives. ”

    Not curious at all. People can want government and criticize it when it does not work, exactly like now. The problem with right-wingers is that they believe government does not work at all, period, which is why wanting government and criticizing it when it botches things seems like cognitive dissonance, when it is no such thing and makes perfect sense.

    “You really want government run healthcare?”

    Why not? All of the world’s western liberal democracies implement some form of it and it’s worked for years. Obamacare, a baby step in that direction, works and is beloved even in right-wing bastions like Kentucky, as long as you call it Kynect and not Obamacare, although they one and the same… 😉

  33. An interesting post this morning

    Sara Nelson would certainly be an interesting choice – Biden will need a Vice President who can help him in the Midwestand who can serve as President (if anything happens to Biden given his age (that he is honest about)); hope he choose: Amy Klobuchar

  34. “She has some foreign policy experience as well, as she was part of the industry’s response to 9/11, SARS, and more”

    Right… And I have foreign policy experience because I can see Russia from my house…

  35. DCS – I love the vox pops of people staunchly advocating for the Affordable Care Act and then becoming visibly furious when Obamacare is mentioned, demanding it’s repealed!

  36. What a horrible post. Stop making fun of Biden, he can’t help it and his handlers are committing elder abuse.

  37. We need Andrew Yang. Need more asians in US government.
    They make better airports, run better airlines and handles COVID19 better.
    If you need proof, just read all the reviews on this site

  38. “She has some foreign policy experience as well, as she was part of the industry’s response to 9/11, SARS, and more”

    That is literally the most dumbfounding thing I expect to read today and maybe even this week! For full disclosure, I do regularly read the Daily Mail website just for giggles. Who are you and what have you done with Ben?

  39. Oh please. An emotional speech of generic platitudes does not translate into a good politician. And she’s wrong, shutting down government over budgets is always a political game for better or worse. Ask Nancy, she knows about game playing.

  40. Could be very useful on long trips on Air Force One. Which is more useful than 99% of previous VPs.

  41. Biden is the straw man. He will be forced to pick who the DNC tells him to pick. That woman will “supposedly” be the next POTUS. If he were to win…LOL….he would fall on his sword (for the good of the country of course) ) and resign. But it ain’t going to happen b/c if you have HRC as your VP, and her husband to help out, and that other black guy helping out…you still will have HRC on the ballot and it will be a bomb disaster.
    @DCS….if you like government healthcare then you would probably like government housing also and that government food given out. Go to a communist country and see how it’s working out for them.

  42. Biden shows some minor memory lapses, consistent with what happens to many of his age; his reasoning is unaffected. Of course, Ronald Reagan is never mentioned by those claiming Biden is senile; and they’re still prepared to worship at Trump’s feet, despite the fact that he’s a full-blown psycho.

  43. …and the logical choice is Warren, despite the Senate issue. Biden might well opt for a graceful retirement in ‘24 (“I shall not seek, and I will not accept…”)

  44. “She has some foreign policy experience as well, as she was part of the industry’s response to 9/11, SARS, and more”…. This is probably the lowest point in my following of this blog. I have a lot of respect for Ben’s views and perspectives, but the above statement is just so….. I will give Ben the benefit of doubt this time.

    One heart beat away from being the most powerful person in the world… I don’t think so!

    I do think she has the potential for other public interest role.

  45. @ UA_Flyer — I wasn’t stating that was my opinion. I was literally quoting the article/recapping the perspective of the author. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt of not having read that… this time. 😉

  46. There’s one thing that would be worse than Trump running the country: a union flight attendant from United running the country.

    You could expect her to run the country into the ground and then tell us we should be grateful for it. Nelson embodies everything that is wrong with domestic airline employees: lazy, entitled, fatuous.

  47. @Amos

    Show some respect for DCS. She holds a ‘Ph.D in physics’ and ‘dual appointment at Ivy League colleges’. That means she’s eminently qualified to speak in credit card and hotel sponsored aviation forum(!) on the subject of politics(!!) and coronavirus(!!!)

  48. Lucky,
    Just because the governor of Mass is a republican doesn’t mean he’d choose a GOP replacement for Warren should she be the VP pick. Don’t paint with such a wide brush. Things are done alot different here. While Gov. Baker may be a republican in name, you really should try to understand New England politics. There is a higher chance he’d appoint Ed Markey to fill her seat than anyone from the GOP.

  49. @Amos — There is nothing in your diatribe that supports your claim that Whitmer is incompetent. By your fact-free standard, Gov. Cuomo, whose state is now the ‘epicenter’ of the virus, would also be incompetent. Trump dropped the ball by failing to act. Things would quite probably have been a lot worse had Govs like Cuomo and Whitmer not stepping in to fill in the leadership vacuum. That’s why Cuomo’s and Whitmer’s approval numbers for how they’ve handled the pandemic are way up while Trump’s barely budged (they up very slightly when people initially “rallied around the flag”, and now they’ve fallen again after watching his incoherence on TV daily).

    It just so happens that Politico just did a big expose on Whitmer. Educate thyself before pontificating. There is reliable information all over the net, for free. There is no excuse for you to keep regurgitating ‘stuff’ you get from Faux News or from RNC fax machines or from the lying megalomianacal buffon-in-chief.


  50. @Clown_Crusher — Trump did do a lot worse than all his European counterparts, but Macron, who was already extremely unpopular.

    Look up things before commenting…it’s free!

  51. @Jenn — Germany, UK, France, the Netherlands, the Scandinavian countries, even Canada, all have a government-run healthcare system of some kind *that works*, and the last time I checked, none of those countries was ‘communist’ — a term that I am not even sure you understand.


  52. Ben (Lucky) says:
    April 12, 2020 at 11:06 am
    @ UA_Flyer — I wasn’t stating that was my opinion. I was literally quoting the article/recapping the perspective of the author. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt of not having read that… this time.

    I stand corrected Ben, you did respond to a reader’s comment on this post. And you admitted to “literally” quoting the article. Why spend any time reading, when it is so much easier to cut and paste. Disappointing…again.

  53. @DCS

    Your errors are so deeply ingrained and equalled only by your verbosity, that I fear neither aspect can ever be corrected. Pay heed and stop now.

  54. @M. Brody — If you can coherently, assuming that’s even possible, point out my so called “deeply ingrained” errors, then do it and let’s duke it out. Otherwise, go troll someone else and get lost while at it.

  55. Very regrettable to see so many in the US obviously not having a clue about what the words communism or socialism actually cover. Not even to mention democracy I guess. LOL.

    Anyway probably for some the lockdown is a fantastic opportunity to do themselves a great favor and self-educate on HISTORY and philosophies. Carefully choosing qualified sources of information and certainly avoiding fast food like TV channels. Nothing healthy there. Quite intoxicating actually.

    Appropriate knowledge and real facts (not lies, mantras, etc…) should help elevate the debate…

  56. @GS Guy

    and you my friend are an obvious sit at home, do nothing idiot. Mommy should be very proud.

  57. @M. Brody Let’s not feed the Politico-watching troll again. Wuhan virus is usually survivable (albeit less so in Michigan than in other states) but TDS is terminal and incurable. Get ready for another bout of that’s-it-i-will-move-to-canada-now keyboard warriors in November.

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