So, over the weekend, Donald Trump picked his running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who is extremely right-wing. I must say that I’m only slightly surprised. First, I knew that Trump was going to pick an established politician. Despite the caricature of Donald Trump, one thing he is not is stupid. So although his main appeal is based on being a political “outsider,” he knew he needed to balance his ticket with someone who has some actual political experience.
This is not mayor of Podunk, Arkansas, this is President of The United States. All of Trump’s (alleged) success as a businessman has no direct correlation to how he’ll be as a President. They are not the same thing. So this is why I knew he wouldn’t be choosing someone like Dr. Ben Carson or any other fellow non-politician whom had been speculated about. This is pretty much the reason President Obama picked Joe Biden to be his running mate in 2008. Obama knew his biggest weakness was his relative lack of political experience, so he chose someone with over 30 years of political experience to run with him.
I will admit to being a little surprised in that I did think it was likely that Trump would pick a woman or a man of Color to run with him. Much like with Senator McCain in 2008, Trump faces an opponent who brings with her a “historic” factor, in that she would be The First Female President if elected. McCain was facing a possible First Black President so he tried to counter that with…well, look we all know how that turned out. I’m not saying it’s always a winning strategy, but it’s a viable one nevertheless. But I’m sure there are plenty of better qualified female Republican congresspersons or Senators Trump could have picked. And while former rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio had both early on removed themselves from consideration, there must be some Hispanic Republican congressperson he could have gotten to agree to run with him. And if he was going to go with picking just another White dude, I thought Chris Christie, who clearly wanted the job, was the most likely pick. But I think the problem there, and it’s probably the same reason he didn’t pick a woman or MOC, is that Trump doesn’t want to risk anyone who might upstage him. This is still The Donald Trump Show, and that’s not going to change.
On the other side we have Hillary Clinton. Now that Sanders has finally faced reality (even if some of his more delusional followers have not). Hillary can finally devote her full attention towards the general election. And that means picking a running mate. Now, Hillary’s problem has always been that she doesn’t really excite anybody. There’s her core base of old White women, the Baby Boomers of her generation who have been waiting for her to run for President since 2000. They want a woman President, and she’s the Chosen One. This is meant to be her reward for putting up with Bill all these years.
But for the rest of us she’s just sort of the default candidate. Yes, she’s qualified for the job, so if there’s no one else around, okay, give it to her. But it’s that lack of real enthusiasm that cost her the nomination in 2008, and could have cost her it again this year, when more “exciting” candidates emerged. And now, with threats of the Bernie or Bust crowd either sitting home, or writing in Sanders, or switching to Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, she needs something to rally that base. So, in my opinion, she can’t afford to make a “safe” choice for her running mate. That means no White dudes.
Yes, I know, conventional wisdom says an all-female ticket is too risky. But conventional wisdom also said that Donald Trump would never get the GOP nomination, and here we are!
Yes, Warren has other downsides too, but she can excite the base and, most importantly, she can be the attack-dog who goes after Trump directly via Twitter and such, allowing Hillary to “take the high road” and just focus on the issues. So, assuming Warren is willing (which she very well may not be), I think she’s the best choice.