Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Blogger Candidate Forum: The Republican Veepstakes

Seal of the Vice President Of The Unites States
Hello Everyone:

It is Wednesday and time for the weekly edition of the Blogger Candidate Forum.  Today we going to look potential running mates for Donald Trump and Secretary Hillary Clinton.  Finding the right running is like an arranged marriage, throw two people together and hope it all works out.  Seriously.  Conventional wisdom goes like this: find someone who will complement the person at the top of the ticket.  The Vice President's main task is to assume the Oval Office if the president becomes ill, incapacitated, dies, or resigns.  This has happened several times in the course of American history,  the most recent being in 1974 when then-President Richard Nixon resigned and then-Vice President Gerald Ford took over.  Finding that right person is as a much a matter of chemistry as it is politics.  Definitely, you want to choose someone from the same party.  The one exception to that was Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, chose Andrew Johnson, a Democrat.  For his second campaign, in 1864, President Lincoln wanted a unity ticket of sorts.  For the record, Andrew Johnson became the seventeenth President of the United States upon the assassination of President Lincoln.  So how do you actually choose a running mate.

Current VPOTUS Joe Biden
Asking the very question, how do you select a running mate, assumes that there is an actual process that top of the ticket candidates follow.  Are you surprised that there is an actual process.  So is yours truly.  It is customary for the presidential candidate to select their running mates and the delegates to approve the choice by acclamation.  (  However, there is no one way to choose a Vice President.  It is more of a roll of the dice, sometimes you come up lucky and sometimes not.  Here are some examples from past history.

The story of how Franklin Delano Roosevelt chose Harry S. Truman as his running was in the words of his biographer Robert H. Ferrell, of the are political stories of our century. (Ibid)

By the 1944 campaign, the leaders of the Democratic party realized that President Roosevelt's was in serious decline.  The very real possibility of the President dying in office and the Vice President taking over weighed heavily on their minds.  Thus, the selection and nomination of right running mate was of paramount importance.  In fact the President did die in office a few months after his election.  The previous VPOTUS was Henry A. Wallace, unpopular with DNC leaders because they felt he leaned too left.  The country was about to enter the Cold War with the Soviet Union.  The party chiefs had to furiously work on turning the delegates away from Vice President Wallace, who overwhelming like him, toward Mr. Truman.  The point here is succession was the main issue not finding someone who could help the President re-elected.  (Ibid)

Lyndon B. Johnson taking the Oath of Office after the death of JFK
Often, a presidential candidate will select someone who brings an ideological or geographic balance to the ticket.  For example, then-Senator John Kennedy dismissed protests by labor leaders and Northern Liberal to bring a Southerner, then-Senate majority leader Lyndon B. Johnson a Democrat from Texas.  That choice and the fact that he accepted were equally surprising given that President Johnson had designs on the big chair for himself.  This worked because it presented a North-South unity ticket.  Tragically, Vice President Johnson assumed the office in 1963 when President Kennedy was assassinated.

In the 1964, now-President Johnson did the reverse and chose Hubert Humphrey, senator from Minnesota with a good civil rights record.  In the 1992 Presidential election cycle, then-Governor Bill Clinton chose then Tennessee Senator Al Gore, a fellow southerner.  The selection cast aside conventional wisdom and signaled that the Democrats were ready to battle the Republicans for control of the south and swing voters concerned about the environment.  That really has not happened yet.  However, every once in an odd while the presidential candidate chooses poorly.  To wit, 2008 Republican nominee Senator John McCain's selection of then-Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska.  Blogger could say something but yours truly wants to keep it clean.  (Ibid)  How will our current candidates choose.  Let us start with five  of the potential  Republican  VPOTUS candidates.

Potential Republican VPOTUS nominees
Who will Donald Trump select as his running mate?  That it is the question.  The short answer is who knows?  Given his unpredictable nature, there is no way of figuring out how or who will he choose.  One thing is certain the (un)lucky candidate will have be pretty egoless.  This coupled with the fact that Mr. Trump's inner circle is devoid of establishment types and you start to get the impression that people are not saying much.  Mr. Trump himself has admitted to lack of thought about the process.  He told the New York Times,

I just don't want to think about it right now.  (  This comment was made on May 3.  Now he has to think about it. A few bold-faced names have emerged as Mr. Trump's potential running mates.  The first name on the list is former Speaker of The House Newt Gingrich.  Mr. Gingrich had a long career on Capitol Hill and in Republican circles.  A self-styled intellectual, he could offer a counterbalance to the impression that Donald Trump is a lightweight.  On the negative side, less likely to racist outburst, Mr. Gingrich is still prone to make off the wall statements and has a martial history that could rival Mr. Trump's history.  As an old white man, it is not certain if he could broaden Mr. Trump's coalition and he has little foreign policy experience. (

Newt Gingrich and Ben Carson

Another name on the list is Dr. Ben Carson.  Him?  Yes, him.  Why is the retired neurosurgeon considered a potential running mate, even though he is chairing the search committee?  It is not as improbable as you think after all former Vice President Dick Cheney was in the same position before he decided he was the best candidate for the job.  Although Dr. Carson has not expressed interest, this has not dampened speculation.  On the positive side, he is a nice enough person, likable, appealing to social conservatives.  The negatives, did you follow the primary results?  Where Mr. Trump is less-knowledgeable on foreign policy and even scarier on policy, Dr. Carson is even less knowledgeable and frequently unsteady.  Given his lack of experience in politics and policy, he highly unlikely to bolster Mr. Trump's credibility with people who see him as dangerously unschooled about policy,  (Ibid)

Governor Chris Christie
The third name on the list is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.  Gov. Christie was the first establishment figure to endorse Mr. Trump.  Why would anyone who is willing to endure endless ridicule for standing behind Donald Trump, staring vacantly into the middle distance, be a contender for the Vice President slot?  Gov. Christie brings a sense of gravitas to the ticket.  A two-term governor, former U.S, Attorney, and a great campaigner who gets along well with Mr. Trump.  The downside, another angry man with high unfavorables. (Ibid)

Governor Rick Scott

Another potential running is Florida Governor Rick Scott.  Gov, Scott endorsed Mr. Trump on March 15 but has also said he is not interested in the job.  He told CNN,

I like my job.  I worked hard to get this job.  I'm going to stay in this job.  (

The positives: Gov. Scott is a two-term governor of a key swing state.  The con: Gov. Scott is extremely unpopular in his own state and he has baggage.  The company he ran was fined $1.7 billion for Medicare fraud.  (

Senator Bob Corker

Republican Tennesse Senator Bob Corker seems to be a good fit as Donald Trump's ticket mate.  Senator Corker is a former businessman and a known dealmaker.  Like the Kennedy-Johnson and Johnson-Humphrey tickets, Sen. Corker is a Southerner which would temper the Clinton Southern Firewall.  He is also chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a member of the banking committee which would shore up Mr. Trump's credibility in foreign policy and economics.  On the negative side, as a known dealmaker, Sen. Corker has been known to irritate the hardliners within his own party.  Also, he is more low-key than Mr. Trump which could be a good thing.

These are just five of the potential Republican Vice President candidates.  Other possibilities include former Primary rivals Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Gov. John Kasich, and former Texas Governor Rick Perry.  These gentlemen are not likely to make the short list but given the Trump campaign's penchant for unpredictability, one never knows.  There is also the possibility of an unknown becoming Donald Trump's running mate.  It is hard for Blogger to predict who will be Mr. Trump's running mate given the unwieldy nature of the campaign.  What Blogger will say is that it will have to be someone who bring gravitas, calmness, and steadiness to the campaign.  If Blogger were to select someone it would be Senator Bob Corker.  Next week, we will look at some of the potential running mates for Secretary Hillary Clinton.

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