It is the only non-COVID-19 conversation anybody wants to talk about: Who will presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden choose for his running mate? What is typically a parlor game most enjoyed by political fanatics is now fodder for never-ending speculation by people who don’t usually pay attention to the who's-on-the-list musing.

And these are not casual conversations. Rather, they are deep, analytical sessions framed by big capital “I” Issues — racism, sexism, ageism, with some democracy-in-peril observations thrown in for good measure. That’s made one man’s decision in one election season an especially weighty one.

It was mid-March when Joe Biden announced that he would only consider women to be his vice president. Biden declared his intent in the CNN-Univision debate when he faced off against former candidate Bernie Sanders, saying, "There are a number of women who are qualified to be president tomorrow."

Lucky for him, he’s got plenty of choices. Not only are there the six former female presidential candidates, but the long list includes accomplished governors, mayors, and congresswomen Asian, Black and Latina. But there are also other criteria to consider. First, must the 77-year-old Biden — who would be the nation’s oldest president — choose someone appreciably younger than he? At 71, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s age could work against her.

Next, how much and what kind of political experiences matter? Georgia’s Stacey Abrams is widely admired, but she’s never won a statewide race. But experience puts Warren back in the pool, with fellow Sens. Kamala Harris and Tammy Duckworth. Duckworth showed readiness for the rough and tumble of the campaign trail in a recent exchange with Fox Host Tucker Carlson. Carlson claimed Duckworth, who lost her legs in the Iraq war, “hates America.” The senator urged Carlson to “walk a mile in my legs and tell me I don’t love America.”

Finally, if measuring the importance of age and experience weren’t enough, the presidential nominee also has to respond to this tumultuous moment. Biden announced his intent to select a woman before, to quote lyrics from Hamilton, “the world turned upside down.” Right now — in the middle of a nationwide racial reckoning — what message does it send if his choice is not a Black woman? Harris would, therefore, top the list, along with long-shot Rep. Val Demmings. And maybe Abrams and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms get a second look. Sen. Amy Klobuchar took herself out of the running-mate race, urging Biden to pick a Black woman. But a recent poll of Black Democratic voters revealed strong support for either Warren or Harris.

That might reflect name recognition or acceptance of a presumed political reality, the inevitability of a white running mate.

It’s hard, as a Black woman, not to root for an accomplished Black woman to get a shot at our nation’s second most powerful political role. But I also don’t relish watching her get dragged through the racist muck and mire sure to come her way — even as I know that other women will not escape gender-focused nastiness.

Whoever is the final pick, she will be only the third woman ever to run for that office, after 1984’s Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro and 2008’s Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. That, coupled with the failed presidential runs by women from Shirley Chisholm to Hillary Rodham Clinton, is a pathetic record. Speculation about who might be former Vice President Biden’s choice will likely get more intense as he prepares to make an announcement by the end of this month. Until then, your guess is as good as mine.