The once extremely unlikely prospect of Hillary Clinton picking a female running mate is becoming increasingly plausible. The past week saw increasing momentum for Hillary Clinton to choose Elizabeth Warren as her Vice Presidential nominee.
Always a favorite of Bernie Sanders supporters, Warren’s stock first rose when she scored points in a Twitter war with Donald Trump. On June 9, her strong attacks on Trump’s judicial philosophy left pundits scrambling for superlatives, further elevating her status as a potential VP nominee.
No Strong Alternatives
If it seems unlikely that Clinton would want two women at the top of their ticket, two men have always run without raising concerns. And when you evaluate other potential choices it becomes clear that none are clearly better than Warren.
As recently as May 3 I wrote “Sherrod Brown or Julian Castro for VP”? I did not even mention Warren, believing that accommodating Sanders backers made Brown the most likely choice.
But Brown’s standing has fallen amid concern that Democrats would lose Brown’s Senate seat (Republican Governor Kasich would appoint his replacement) has risen. And last week there were reports that Sanders felt betrayed by Brown’s endorsing Clinton over him and would veto his choice as VP.
Warren’s election as VP would also allow a Republican Governor to replace her, but Democrats feel a lot more confident of holding Warren’s seat in a special Massachusetts election than they do holding Brown’s seat in Ohio. It’s also the case that while Sherrod Brown backed Clinton far earlier than Warren did, he has said nothing about Trump that got national headlines. His selection would not generate the excitement Warren’s would produce.
Julian Castro’s prospects have also dimmed. This is due to his lack of experience, not being the skilled attack dog that a campaign against Trump requires, and the feeling that Latino voter turnout will be huge in November without a Latino on the ticket.
Warren’s ability to rattle Trump (who continues to refer to her as Pochahontas) with tweets and the lack of strong alternative VP choices has pushed her to the top of many Democrats list. After her June 9 speech a column on Daily Kos appeared with the title, “ Warren is clearly the best choice for VP, everyone else is subpar, ” Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas retweeted the column, saying it was “perfectly said.”
Elizabeth Warren would bring the most excitement to the ticket.Her selection would also send a strong positive message to Sanders backers. And her chances may also be helped by Trump’s tweeting on June 10 that he hopes she is the VP choice.
Clinton may still go with Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as the safe choice (Virginia’s Democratic Governor ensures the Party keeps the appointed seat), but I see Democrats as being deflated by the selection of a nominee very similar politically to Clinton. Nor has Kaine been on the front lines bashing Trump, though that is hardly a prerequisite (some believe that Warren’s very success at bashing Trump means she does not have to be the VP nominee to be effective, which would essentially penalize her for speaking out earlier than others).
Warren is not the “safest” choice. But Warren’s selection shows Clinton as a candidate willing to take risks for what is right.
Far less attention has been paid to Donald Trump’s VP choice. This is likely because Trump’s outsized personality seems to make his running mate less important.
Two names are often floated: Tennessee Senator Bob Corker and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. I saw a list in the Sunday NY Times where political scientists thought Marco Rubio was the top VP choice; they must have missed Rubio’s recent comments that he did not want to see his presence at the convention as promoting Trump.
Trump already has strong conservative support and will win the traditional red states in the south. It’s unclear what Corker brings to the ticket. In contrast, Christie brings an outspoken politician with a record of winning elections in a blue state.
Trump seems to really like Christie, and Christie has proved loyal and devoted to Trump (he remains devoted despite Trump criticizing him, as he did over the weekend by mocking Christie’s 2012 convention speech that barely mentioned nominee Mitt Romney). The notion that New Yorker Trump should not pick New Jerseyan Christie may be relying on the same type of outdated assumptions that says two women cannot be on the same ticket.
Christie also brings his attack dog approach to the ticket, relieving Trump of the burden of attacking Clinton. Christie seems like the best match for Trump and is the likely favorite to be chosen for the ticket.
On August 15, 2008 I wrote “Obama VP? New Clues Point to Biden.” Now the clues for the Democrats point me to Warren, and we’ll soon know the answer.
Randy Shaw is Editor of Beyond ChronFiled under: National Politics