With the two most unpopular candidates in US history leading the race, never before has the next possible vice president mattered so much. So who’s in the running?
As November looms on the horizon and summer begins, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton must announce their candidate for Vice President in the weeks to come. Several rumours have been spread by the media but neither candidate has officially chosen someone who could potentially be the vice president of the United States. With a plethora of anger directed towards both presumptive nominees, each must pick a candidate that will help not only their campaign but also their public image.
One thing that makes Donald Trump stand out is his lack of political experience. Throughout his campaign, the business mogul has latched onto the hatred many Americans feel towards politicians, Democratic and Republican. In a CNN interview, Trump made it clear: “I’m not a politician. Politicians are all talk and no action…and I’m the opposite.” Although Trump has won many fans with this fact, it has also been his biggest weakness. The media and many other politicians have noted his lack of know-how in the political sphere–he has been criticised for his lack of diplomatic capabilities. Trump, then, must pick a vice president who is familiar with Washington politics.
Even “The Donald” has admitted that he would want someone with political experience. Here are several possibilities for the presumptive Republican nominee:
Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama was a proud supporter of Trump before he became the presumptive nominee. Trump supporters speculate about a partnership between Trump and Sessions. They agree on many domestic issues, including immigration and gun control. Sessions, however, has been shaky on whether he is a good option for Trump. In a State of the Union interview, the senator questioned whether or not the position was fit for him; Sessions stated that the presidential candidate hasn’t even met with him yet. Nonetheless, the senator fills the requirements Trump is looking for. Overall chance: likely.
Sessions isn’t the only senator who might join Trump on the campaign trail; Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee is a viable option as well. Not only does he have the political understanding Trump is looking for, but he is also chairman of the Foreign Relations Senate Committee. Corker could be Trump’s answer to any criticism the nominee faces regarding foreign policy. Both met at Trump Towers recently to discuss China and Russia. While Trump would be thankful to have the senator by his side, Bob Corker has not shown any enthusiasm or willingness to be a vice president. If Corker shows more eagerness for the position, his overall chance will be: very likely.
Many Republicans know Newt Gingrich, a former House Speaker and candidate for the GOP nomination in 2012, is not shy when talking about Donald Trump. From his tweets on Twitter to his interviews as a political consultant, Gingrich has become part of the inner circle and is a possible option for Trump. With Gingrich by his side, Trump would be able to rely on years of political experience. Most importantly, though, Trump would have a Republican favourite. Many of the other options are unknown by many, but Gingrich has had media success. Overall chance: very likely.
The Democratic pick is just as tricky for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Although her favourability rating is not as low as Trump’s, she faces a growing trend of distrust among the American people. Who, then, can she pick that will show American voters that she is exceptional enough to lead as president?
The most popular candidate thus far has been Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Clinton and her team have been continuously denying any rumors of a Clinton/Warren ticket, but Warren has endorsed Clinton, visited her campaign headquarters, and has raised her rhetoric against Donald Trump. All of these signs point to a two-woman ticket, but there is a catch: the woman card. Having two women as a possible president and vice president might seem too artificial; Hillary has been criticised for pandering to numerous races and genders in the past, so appointing a female running mate would only solidify the beliefs her critics hold against her. Clinton may, therefore, have to pick a candidate of the opposite sex.
That leads her to Bernie Sanders, her main nemesis on the trail. In an interview, Clinton wouldn’t say whether or not Sanders was an option for her, but there is no doubt that the millennial vote matters and most of that demographic has rallied behind the senator from Vermont. Even Trump hasn’t criticised Sanders too much, trying to pull Sanders’ supporters on the Trump Train. If Clinton appoints Sanders as vice presidential nominee, many will flock to her, some will go to Trump, and the rest will not vote. Warren and Sanders have both proposed policies that Clinton could support such as universal health care, paid family leave, and increasing the minimum wage, making both of them suitable VP options for the former First Lady.
While Sanders and Warren have been the most popular possible VP picks, they are not the most realistic – Virginia Senator Tim Kaine is. Kaine, to many GOP and Democratic insiders, is the best option for Hillary. In 2012, Kaine was elected to the Senate, and even before being elected, he served as governor and mayor of Richmond. He was also President Obama’s nominee to be chair of the Democratic National Committee. The Virginian is not only politically experienced, but he also speaks fluent Spanish, a perk that Sanders and Warren both lack (and one that would appeal to Latino voters). Hillary Clinton will want to pick a VP nominee that can appeal to voters which Democrats have had trouble connecting with in past elections.
Throughout the election, Americans have come to know Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Both have faced staggering criticism, and many know the flaws in their policies and appearance. If Trump wants to win the election, Senator Bob Corker would be the best choice. He would help Trump by speaking more cautiously and professionally while also healing any weaknesses in Trump’s foreign policy.
If Clinton wants to win, she should pick Senator Elizabeth Warren as her VP nominee and focus on luring in Bernie Sanders’ supporters. If Warren and Clinton can spread their message as an alternative to Trump, they will be able to persuade many of Sanders’ supporters. In an election full of uncertainty, one thing is certain: no matter who they pick, much more focus will be given to the vice presidential nominees than in previous presidential elections.