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Who’s your pick for Vice-President?

March 8, 2016

Politics isn’t  strange. It’s just plain weird, and never more so than in 2016.

Presumably this year’s GOP primary is about which GOP candidate can win  against Hillary Clinton.

Or is it?

Every Real Clear Politics (RCP) poll shows that Marco Rubio and John Kasich poll the best against Hillary Clinton.

So who’s leading the GOP field?  The guy that every poll shows can’t win against her, followed by a guy who is so close to losing to her that it’s a statistical win for Hillary. Both of them are almost universally despised by everyone else in the GOP establishment.

See?  Weird.

This election is clearly about dissatisfaction with the way the people are treated by Washington, but after you get past that grudge match, doesn’t it make sense that putting all that angst into action requires actually putting your person in the White House?

Much as they have done for the last ten years, the GOP is clearly banking on Democrat voter  apathy to win the grand prize for any GOP candidate. They base that on the relatively low turnouts in the primaries.

That penchant for living in the past century is why Donald Trump is leading the GOP pack, followed closely by the other political maverick, Ted Cruz.

Make no mistake, no party is better than rallying its base to vote in the general election than the Democrats.

The turnout is low now because voters perceive that Hillary is already the winner of the Democratic contest. The only people in play right now are the Sander’s supporters and they don’t comprise enough of a threat to her for her supporters to bother getting off the couch and voting in the primaries.

It will be a whole different ball game in November, provided that the strength of the populist movement in the GOP holds.

If Hillary’s GOP rival in that contest is polling well against her, you will see precinct captains literally turning over couch cushions to get voters to the polls.

That makes picking a running mate a key strategy for the two front runners on the GOP side.

If you don’t have a dead certain winner for your presidential candidate, then you better have the strongest ticket.

No president can fulfill even a plurality of the off-the-wall campaign promises they make without the cooperation of Congress.

Neither of the two front runners has many friends in that august body. The task of developing friends and followers is going to fall to their running mates.

Besides the obvious ability to take over as commander-in-chief for the President if necessary, the GOP front runners need some special skills in their VP picks this time around.

In the case of Donald Trump, he needs a rock solid conservative who is also capable of steering Trump through the procedural and congressional mine field. You might say he needs a diplomat with great GPS.

In Cruz’s case he needs someone who can soften his take-no-prisoners conservatism enough to form alliances on the Hill.

Hillary just needs a running mate that can offset her negative dishonesty and competency reviews and bring back voters in the areas that Bernie Sanders is mining for votes. After that, she can and probably will expect no more than an echo from her running mate. Sycophants welcome here.

It’s generally customary for presidential nominees to wait until the convention to pick a running mate.

This time around, that strategy may well be much too traditional. The VP is going to have to continue doing a lot of the heavy lifting for the next president, assuming that is a Republican.

After March 15, look for the first GOP candidate that declares a vice-presidential preference that resonates with voters on both sides of the insurgency movement to lead the GOP field going to Cleveland.

From → op-ed

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