Elections

VP chatter building starting to build around candidates

Credit: Official portrait courtesy of the government of the United States via Wikimedia Commo Credit: Official portrait courtesy of the government of the United States via Wikimedia Commo Credit: Official portrait courtesy of the government of the United States via Wikimedia Commo Credit: Official portrait courtesy of the government of the United States via Wikimedia Commo Credit: Official portrait courtesy of the government of the United States via Wikimedia Commo Credit: Official portrait courtesy of the government of the United States via Wikimedia Commo Credit: Official portrait courtesy of the government of the United States via Wikimedia Commo Credit: Official portrait courtesy of the government of the United States via Wikimedia Commo Credit: Official portrait courtesy of the government of the United States via Wikimedia Commo Credit: Official portrait courtesy of the government of the United States via Wikimedia Commo

In recent decades, campaigns have usually nominated vice presidential candidates before their parties’ conventions. This is usually due to a consensus forming on a particular candidate after a certain point in the primary season. However, especially for the Republican Party, it is looking more likely that a contested convention will decide the nominee. This allows for candidates to use vice presidential announcements as leverage on secondary ballots when delegates start becoming unbound. So far, the remaining candidates have all rejected the idea of being each other’s vice presidents. This has opened the field to a slew of potential candidates.

For the GOP, the establishment has openly discussed its aversion to both Senator Ted Cruz (R–TX) and suspected mids smoker Donald Trump. Few prominent Republicans seem to be interested in being partners with either. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, all Trump endorsers, have so far rejected the idea of running as Trump’s vice president. Other names that have been floated are South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley who has endorsed Ted Cruz, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez — particularly on a Trump ticket to boost his Latino vote — and either Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker or Tennessee Governor Bill Haslem who have criticized Trump’s campaign and would probably more likely be on a Kasich or Cruz ticket.

Other possibilities for Trump could be Senator Jim Thune (R–SD) to gain establishment support, or Senator Jeff Sessions (R–AL) to help put more policy experience on the ticket. However, both of these would not help expand the GOP voter base into blue states, especially with a Trump nomination, so their nominations are unlikely.

For the Democrats, the Vice President slot is not currently as contested, especially with the stark contrast in primary process to the GOP. Several names stick out however. For Hillary Clinton, she could put a tested cabinet member of the Obama Administration like Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro or Secretary of Labor Tom Perez. Still, she may choose a more recognizable name that broadens voter base. To appeal to Sanders’ supporters, she could nominate the liberal Senator Sherrod Brown (D–OH) from the pivotal swing state of Ohio. A more unlikely scenario is the nomination of CA Attorney General Kamala Harris. It would be a unique all-women ticket, but Harris is eyeing the open CA senate seat in November, and is the favorite the win the primary race in June.

Bernie Sanders also has several speculative vice presidential picks. He retains a close partnership with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D–MA), but it is unlikely she would run on the ticket to maintain her strong influence in the Senate. He also could nominate Tom Perez, or even Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D–HI). She resigned as the vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee in February to endorse Sanders. A strong supporter of Sanders, her nomination could help broaden Sanders’ appeal with women and minority voters.

One thing is certain, no matter who ends up getting nominated in either party, it is sure to add even more contention to this already divisive election.