While the eventual nominee in the Republican presidential contest is still in doubt, I think I can say with some certainty that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic candidate. Who will she pick as a running mate? I’m sure she’s given that question much thought, but she’s dropped no hints that I am aware of, which leaves people like me free to engage in uninformed speculation.
The obvious person to eliminate is Bernie Sanders. He certainly deserves the vice presidency. He has had an outsized effect on this campaign both by budging Hillary Clinton to the left and by demonstrating that it’s possible to finance a campaign without kowtowing to the big-money donors who buy political favor. Most of Bernie Sanders’ campaign money has come from a very large number of small donations. Bernie Sanders has also brought many young people into the voting process. Having him on the ticket would make it more likely that these younger voters would turn out in the general election to vote for a Clinton-Sanders ticket.
Nevertheless, I don’t expect Bernie to get the nod, and I’m not sure he would accept if he were offered the job. He’s a very independent old cuss, and I can’t see him playing second fiddle to Hillary. Also, the people who support Sanders are likely to vote for Hillery even without Bernie on the ticket. Who else can they vote for? Trump? Cruz? Not likely!
While we’re speculating on people from the left, how about Senator Elizabeth Warren? She is a renowned liberal voice, and almost everyone who pays any attention to politics is familiar with her name and her views. Having two women on the ticket might also be an advantage, given that most of the people who bother to vote in this country are female. Her anti-Wall Street attitude would also counterbalance the accusation that Hillary Clinton is too cozy with big-money interests. She would appeal to the same people to whom Senator Sanders appeals.
However, pulling the campaign farther to the left might not be the best political strategy. Liberals are already in the Clinton camp, because voting for Cruz or Trump would violate everything they stand for. The Clinton campaign needs to attract the votes of independents and even moderate Republicans who view a possible Trump or Cruz presidency as a disaster. Having an avowed liberal on the ticket who is perceived to have an anti-business attitude would make a Clinton presidency less attractive to them. In large part, the arguments against Elizabeth Warren are the same as those against Bernie Sanders.
Some Hispanic groups have been lobbying for Julian Castro, who is the current Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Without doubt, the Hispanic voters are going to be important in the coming general election. They would be an even more important group if they voted in larger numbers. Perhaps having a Hispanic on the ticket would motivate other Hispanics to turn out at the polls. This could make a difference in Florida, where Cuban-Americans tend to vote Republican, and in Texas, Arizona, and Nevada, where most Hispanics unfortunately tend to not vote at all.
However, after the anti-Hispanic tirades during the Republican primary, few Hispanics will vote for the Republican candidate under any circumstances. The same can be said of African-Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans. Perhaps the Democratic candidate can take the support of these groups for granted.
Large numbers of moderate Republicans are going to be unhappy with their party’s nominee this fall. Perhaps Hillary Clinton should pick a more moderate, business friendly co-runner. Given all of the moderates who are still around, the list gets longer, and I would run out of space if I discussed everyone on it. However, my guess is that Hillary Clinton’s running mate will be a business-friendly type and not any of the people I have named above.
Guessing who Trump’s running mate might be is more difficult. Not many potential candidates would want to share a ticket with him. Trump has made enemies out of almost everyone who is qualified for the job. Of course, there is no law that says that a vice-presidential candidate has to be qualified as testified to the fact that John McCain picked the highly unqualified Sarah Palin to run with him.
Who hasn’t Trump turned into an enemy? Well, despite all of the harsh words that Trump had to say about Chris Christie when the latter was still in the race, Governor Christie has been going out of his way to kiss up to Donald Trump since then, even flying in Trump’s plane to Trump campaign rallies. Those large, cushy seats seem to fit Christie’s more than ample hind quarters. Chris Christie is surely expecting something in return for his change of heart. Politicians don’t suddenly admire a person whom they formerly despised unless there is some sort of payoff behind the scenes.
Obviously Chris Christie is smart enough to know that Donald Trump would be a terrible president. Then, why has he endorsed Trump? The only explanation is that the fix is in.
Could Christie’s endorsement have been made in exchange for a fat political post such as a spot on the cabinet or even the vice presidency? Chris Christie may be smart enough to know that Donald Trump would be a terrible president, but he doesn’t seem to know that Trump hasn’t an ice cube’s chance in Hell of getting elected and appointing him to anything.