Ethan: Last week you asked me to put on my Republican thinking cap (I was surprised by how small it was) and handicap the 2nd Congressional District primary among the GOP candidates.

Phil: I don’t think the cap was small, as much as your head is big. And not that I want to make it any bigger, but the day that our column was published, a poll came out showing your prediction of an Adrienne Bennett victory less crazy than I thought. According to the poll, Bennett is up 28-22-20 over Eric Brakey and Dale Crafts.

Ethan: Yup, I definitely know the pulse of Republicans. This week I am asking you to put on your Democratic thinking hat.

Phil: Am I wearing the Che Guevara beret or the Limousine Liberal tophat?

Ethan: Your favorite fly-fishing hat with a mosquito netting mask will be fine. Who do you think Joe Biden should pick as his running mate?

Phil: Easy. Bernie Sanders. Unite both wings of the Democratic Party overnight and you walk into the White House.

Ethan: While I certainly agree that picking someone who excites progressives is important, Biden has pledged to take a woman.

Phil: I thought you were asking me to be smart, not politically correct.

Ethan: Picking a woman is smart. And what’s best for the country.

Phil: That’s the problem. The political scientists are too focused on demographics, not “we the people” and what’s best for America.

Ethan: We limited our choice to only one gender for the first 200 years. We’ll be fine.

Phil: So, who do you like?

Ethan: Honestly, my pick would be Michelle Obama. So smart. Really popular. And she spent eight years in the White House teaching one of the best. I don’t think she would ever accept it, but Biden should pledge to tear down every Confederate statue in the nation to get her on the ticket. Well, he should do that either way.

Phil: So, I picked someone Biden would never pick and you picked someone who would never allow herself to be picked. How about we discuss folks that might actually be in the running?

Ethan: Here’s the short list according to the New York Times: U.S. Sen Kamala Harris; former National Security Advisor Susan Rice; Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms; U.S. Rep. Val Demings; and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Phil: If you are trying to unite both wings of the party, it seems like Warren would be the best choice from that group. Undoubtedly to the left and best known.

Ethan: She was my first choice for a while, but now I think he has to go with a woman of color.

Phil: Identity politics again.

Ethan: With all the action this country still needs around race, having someone who has actually experienced racism is vitally important.

Phil: Among the four left, America has never had a successful ticket with a mayor as the VP nominee (sorry Strim) and a sitting member of Congress hasn’t been elected since before even I was born. That makes Mayor Bottoms and Rep. Demings unlikely choices.

Ethan: So that leaves us with either Harris or Rice. Tough to choose from these two intelligent, experienced, and visionary women.

Phil: From everything I read, Harris is the favorite. Which actually surprises me. She comes from a locked in blue state and her run for president fizzled before it even got down the runway. I don’t really see her as adding much.

Ethan: She is the second most popular among all women being considered (Warren is first) and she is well vetted from having run and won two tough statewide races in California.

Phil: But?

Ethan: But, I think he goes with Rice. Biden has known and worked with her the longest. She has eight years experience at the highest levels of the White House. And her foreign policy credentials are unmatched. Having her in the White House will allow Biden to focus on the domestic policy needed to pull us out of this recession.

Phil: I think you’re just biased because her mother grew up on Munjoy Hill and graduated from Portland High School. Can I put my Republican hat on again?

Ethan: Sure. As long as it doesn’t say MAGA.

Phil Harriman served as a town councilor and state senator from Yarmouth. Ethan Strimling served as mayor and state senator from Portland.