By Larry Levine –

I know. I know. Former Vice President Joe Biden hasn’t secured the Democratic nomination for President yet. I know that. And there will be people who believe it’s too soon to start speculating about Biden’s Vice Presidential running mate. So, let’s consider the following not speculation but a recommendation.

The strongest Democratic ticket to oppose President Trump in November, the safest bet to oust Trump from the White House has been and remains today Joe Biden and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. Here’s why.

The first job of the Democratic ticket will be to not lose any of the states Hillary Clinton won in 2016. There are four states that will need to be defended, though it’s difficult to imagine voters in any Clinton state thinking now that Trump is such an outstanding and upstanding individual that they should switch.

NEW HAMPSHIRE – Clinton won here by .37 percent. Democrats must hold this state and both parties know it. Klobuchar had her best showing of the primary season here.

MINNESOTA – Clinton beat Trump here by 1.52 percent and Trump has made it known he will attempt to flip the state. It’s Klobuchar’s home state. She’s strong enough here to have pushed the state into the Biden column in the primary with her endorsement even though Biden didn’t campaign or spend any money in the state.

NEVADA – Clinton carried this state by 1.52 percent. Neither Biden nor Klobuchar ran well here in the primary. But it is a strong union state and a strong effort in the fall should keep the state out of Republican hands.

MAINE – This state divides it’s Electoral College votes. Clinton won the statewide delegates by 2.96 percent. Here, too, a strong effort in the fall should keep these votes safe for the Democrats.

To reverse Trump’s 77-vote Electoral College win of 2016, Democrats will need to flip at least 39 votes this year. Here are the 46 most like switches and why a Biden – Klobuchar ticket makes sense.

MICHIGAN – Trump won by .23 percent (11,000 votes) after President Barack Obama carried the state in 2008 and 2012. A change of 6,000 votes switches the state’s 16 electoral votes to the Democrat. Biden speaks the language of these midwestern voters and the Democrats are not likely to make the Clintonian error of allowing the data-crunchers to convince them they don’t need to campaign here. They do and they will.

PENNSYLVANIA – Trump won by .72 (44,000 votes) after President Barack Obama carried the state in 2008 and 2012. Clinton made a reasonable effort in campaigning here. But Biden’s nickname is Scranton Joe, as in Scranton PA, where he was born. His wife, Dr. Jill Biden, loves to talk of herself as “a Philly girl.” There are 20 Electoral College votes on the table here.

WISCONSIN – Trump took the state’s 10 Electoral College votes by .77 percent (23,000 votes) after President Barack Obama won the state in 2008 and 2012. This is another place where the Democratic ticket will not make the Clintonian error of taking the state for granted because the data told them it was safe.

There will be any number of names floated as possible running mates for Biden. Already we are hearing Sen. Kamala Harris of California, former Georgia Member of Congress Stacey Abrams, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, as well as Klobuchar. Harris and Abrams are offered as helping secure the all-important African American vote. But Biden has accomplished that on his own. He doesn’t need Harris’ help to California and Abrams would not bring in Georgia. Warren, it is suggested, would unify the party by appealing to supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders. But the zealots among the Sanders backers hate her and blame her for undercutting Sanders’ run through the primaries and the less zealous Sanders backers are not going to take a hike and allow Trump to remain in office. None of these promise the kind of help that would be needed to flip these three states.

That brings us back to Klobuchar. She locks down Minnesota. In response to a statement by one of her rivals at the first debate of this season, she said, “Where I come from, that’s all foam and no beer.” That’s the kind of midwestern appeal that will help in neighboring Wisconsin and nearby Michigan. She would help with suburban white women nationally and she would be a hedge against the age issue as the first female Vice President in the nation’s history.

As a counterpoint to the turmoil of the Trump years, a Biden – Klobuchar ticket would offer a promise of a return to civility and an end to the drama that has seized the nation. Americans want someone to put an arm around their shoulders and tell them, “Don’t worry. We’ll get through this. It will be OK.” Biden and Klobuchar are a team that would be the personification of that message.