(Charleston, West Virginia) – The "Brunch" is on the road again this week in the Mountain State! I’ve been wondering of late who Hillary Clinton might pick as a Vice Presidential running mate, should she win the Democratic nomination. There are various lists bouncing around the political chatter online, but let’s start by discussing a possible running mate from here in West Virginia:
“I Owe Ya’ Joe!” – In many respects, politics is about paybacks and returning favors. I know people find that unseemly, but it’s just part of the business. Secretary Clinton owes a great debt of gratitude to Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV). When she ran for President back in 2008, Manchin – then Governor of West Virginia – was one of her biggest supporters. In fact, he helped deliver a primary victory for Clinton with a whopping 42-point margin over Senator Barack Obama (D-IL). Manchin is perhaps the most conservative Democrat in the U.S. Senate, so he’d give the ticket ideological balance. West Virginia could be a swing state in 2016, so its five Electoral College votes might matter in a tight race. This is coal country; and the miners – who held a huge protest rally last week – are critical voters (photo above).
“Double-Trouble” – For the first time in my lifetime – and perhaps in history – twins are being considered for Vice President. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro is the former Mayor of San Antonio, Texas. At 40, he seems to have a bright future in the Democratic Party. He is said to be Mrs. Clinton’s number-one choice, but it’s really too early to handicap the pick. His twin brother is Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX). Either Castro brother will have appeal to the critical Hispanic vote and will give Democrats a more competitive chance in the traditional red state of Texas.
“Raising Kaine” – Another interesting possibility is Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), who is also a former Governor of Virginia. He also served as Lieutenant Governor and was Mayor of Richmond prior to that. He has that rare advantage of having worked in local, state and federal government. Kaine is also from the key battleground state of Virginia, which went for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, but which otherwise hadn’t voted for a Democrat since President Johnson in 1964. It is a crucial swing state now, and Kaine could help keep it blue.
“It’s a Woman’s World” – There is speculation that Mrs. Clinton might pick another woman for a running mate. Names mentioned include Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). I think it’s a longshot. The U.S. may be on the verge of electing its first female President, but it’s still a difficult road ahead. Having two women on the ticket may hurt Democrats' chances among male voters (who still vote heavily Republican). Remember, elections nowadays are won among independent voters, not party loyalists.
“O’Malley Rally” – From the start of the campaign, I predicted that former Governor Martin O’Malley (D-MD) would be the veep choice. He’s a former Mayor of Baltimore, too, so he brings a lot of experience to the table. I’ve always said that it’s likely the Clintons “recruited” O’Malley to run for President, so that Hillary would have someone to debate, but that ultimately he would be chosen as her running mate. I believe that scenario is still plausible.
“The Rahm-ba!” – It would be an odd dance, but some have suggested Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as a potential number two. Emanuel is a former White House Chief of Staff and Congressman. He may be the most fiercely partisan Democrat in America – a little too extreme to many who think more in terms of bipartisan governance. But Illinois is not a lock for native Hillary Clinton. Republicans shocked a lot of people by electing a new Governor there last year, and they hold one of the U.S. Senate seats. Despite Chicago’s crime problems, putting Emanuel on the ticket could put the Land of Lincoln in the blue state column again.
“Bernie Burnout?” – The big fascination right now is with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). He has pulled ahead of Secretary Clinton in New Hampshire, and is drawing huge crowds wherever he goes. Many Democrats feel that Sanders has earned the number-two slot and could deliver a lot of disenfranchised voters come November of 2016. Still, Sanders self-identifies as a socialist; and someone who is to the left of the liberal Clinton may not bring the ideological balance that a Senator Joe Manchin might. Then again, Sanders may have wide appeal to those all-important independent voters.
“Odd Men Out” – Some of the craziest – yet possible options – include keeping Vice President Joe Biden on for another term (VP has no term-limits), and Hillary Clinton selecting Bill Clinton as her running mate. Yes, it would be legal and constitutionally possible to have an ex-President on the ticket. (Remember Ronald Reagan considered picking Gerald Ford for VP in 1980.) But the Clinton-Clinton ticket idea is too weird, and I don’t think the voting public would buy it.
Who is your pick for Vice President if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee for President of the United States? Just click the comment button at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.
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