Fresh off Her Nomination, Clinton Searches for Running Mate
by Ned Sheehan on Friday, June 10th, 2016
According to the New York Times, as of June 7th, Hillary Clinton had secured enough superdelegates to be the Democrat’s presumptive nominee. Some of you may be wondering who her running mate should be. Here are my thoughts about the possible VP nominees, including each of their strengths and weaknesses.
One of the most commonly cited potential running mates for Hillary Clinton is Julian Castro, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and former mayor of San Antonio. There are many compelling reasons for Clinton to pick Castro: he is young, populist, charismatic, and Latino. However, there are some drawbacks to picking Castro as well. Firstly, Castro is inexperienced as he has not served in the House of Representatives or the Senate. Housing and Urban Development is far from the most impressive cabinet position.
Furthermore, Castro may not bring many voters (popular or electoral) to the Democrats. He’s from Texas, which is far too red to go Democrat this election. (That said, due to a massive influx of immigrants from Latin America, Texas will be a purple state in 20-25 years.) Furthermore, since Clinton is running against Donald Trump who promises mass deportations and a massive wall on our southern border, it is unlikely that latinos will need more motivation to vote and vote again for the Democrats.
Another strong choice for Clinton’s VP is New Jersey Senator and former Mayor of Newark, Cory Booker. He has all of the strengths attributed to Castro and is more experienced, having spent time in the Senate. He is a former Rhodes Scholar, famous for helping shovel his constituents’ driveways during a snowstorm in 2010. He could be a very good running mate — being both charismatic and experienced. Moreover, as an African-American, he could help motivate black voters, many of whom turned out in massive numbers to get Obama elected and reelected, to return to the polls. His main weakness is that — due to his political background — people could accuse him of being a corrupt New Jersey machine politician (although Obama wasn’t hurt by coming from a city as notoriously corrupt as Chicago).
Other candidates for the VP slot include Senators Tim Kaine of Virginia and Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Brown is to the left of Clinton and has the rough, unpolished feel that drew so many to Bernie Sanders. The main drawback with Brown is that the Democrats want to win back the Senate, and if he wins the Vice Presidency, Republican Governor John Kasich will choose his successor. Kaine is a little to the right of Clinton and lacks the charisma the ticket will sorely need to win against Trump.
Other possibilities include Amy Klobuchar, a staunchly liberal Senator from Minnesota (a solid choice, but Clinton will likely choose a man for a running mate), Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez (Latino, but has never held elected office, so an unlikely choice), Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico (a good choice from the increasingly purple southwest), Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon (a good choice to woo back the Bernie Brigade, he was the only member of the senate to endorse Sanders, but not from a swing state), Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania (pro-life, so no way he will be her choice), and Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, the only openly gay senator currently serving (it is unlikely that Clinton would take that kind of risk).
You may notice that I haven’t included Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren as options for VP. Well folks, they just aren’t going to cut it. Sanders is 74 years old, a self-described socialist, and from Vermont, a staunchly blue state. Clinton will want to win over the center, and Sanders isn’t going to do it. Plus, Bernie spurned and openly insulted the Democratic Party until it became convenient to do otherwise. The party simply isn’t going to let him get away with that. If you’re feeling the Bern, don’t worry, he’ll likely get the cabinet position of his choice.
Warren is equally unlikely to get the nod. The Democrats will want to build a bench of viable young politicians in order to prevent another battle between a lukewarm party favorite and an exciting radicalist. Warren will be 75 the next time she’ll be able to run (assuming Clinton prevails over Trump). Furthermore, it is highly unlikely Clinton will choose a woman. The Party wants a young, exciting VP who will be ready to win in eight years’ time. Even if Warren got the offer, she’d likely turn it down. Warren knows she has more power as an agitator in the senate than she does as Vice President, a job that John Nance Garner, FDR’s VP, famously described as “not worth a bucket of warm piss.”
In summary, I would expect Clinton’s choice to be either Kaine, Castro, or Booker. I personally think Booker is best for the ticket, but none of those three would be a net negative overall.
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