After the dust has settled in Cleveland, Ohio at the conclusion of the Republican National Convention, the party across the aisle will hold their weeklong parade of progressive figureheads to rile up the party and officially name Hillary Clinton as the Democratic presidential nominee. One thing remains to be seen, however, as we head to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia: who will the Clinton campaign choose as the former Secretary of State’s running mate?
In an effort to ensure clarity, the aspects addressed here will be limited to the potential candidate’s accomplishments, former positions held, key demographic draws, and notable downsides. Without further delay, the list of likely Democratic vice presidential nominees, in no particular order, is as follows:
- Tim Kaine – this centrist Democrat has certainly been groomed for the position of second in command after having served in a variety of local, state, and national elected offices. For instance, the current Virginia Senator has also been the mayor of Richmond, one of the state’s most prominent cities, and has served as the Lieutenant Governor and Governor of Virginia in the past. All of this experience at different levels of government has effectively qualified the Senator to tackle complex issues effecting both individual communities and the nation at large. The influential Senator Kaine has sat on three major committees in his tenure since 2012. They include the Armed Services Committee, Foreign Relations Committee, and the Budget Committee. Combined this would give even the greenest politician enough experience to justify a spot on the ticket, but when they’re put together with Sen. Kaine’s previous experience, it effectively makes passing up Kaine near-impossible. Perhaps one of the only downsides to Senator Kaine is that he’s the expected choice for Hillary Clinton, so they would lose the kind of shock value that they could receive for choosing a long shot like the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro. Nevertheless, Senator Tim Kaine is looking more and more like a positive, qualified, and valuable running mate for a candidate who desperately needs positive media coverage.
- Tom Vilsack – if anyone could compete with the pedigree of Senator Kaine, it would be the former Governor, native of a valuable “rust belt” state, and the current Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack. While his cabinet position may not be the most exciting for voters, it demonstrates his versatility and shows that he has more than enough bureaucratic experience to enact political change when the time comes. A Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, native, Secretary Vilsack brings the possible guarantee of a Democratic win in a key state to the table. Chief among his accomplishments is serving as Iowa’s Governor until 2007, which is the equivalent of Republican Scott Walker presiding over the very blue state of Wisconsin for the time being. Perhaps the biggest draw for the Secretary is that he would attract voters from both the “rust belt” and Iowa, although neither are expected to be very competitive for Hillary Clinton, as she has previously voiced opposition to the coal industry that thrives in that part of the country. Of course, the Secretary of Agriculture has a major shortcoming in that he has espoused his support for the Trans Pacific Partnership, a trade deal that has galvanized both parties and was adamantly opposed by Hillary Clinton in the past.
- Cory Booker – the junior Senator from New Jersey is one of the most intriguing possibilities for Hillary Clinton, and he should be given significant consideration if she wants to ensure that her stranglehold on minority voters remains intact. To demonstrate this unique appeal, Cory Booker is one of two African American members in the Senate and speaks fluent Spanish. But Senator Booker has much more than simple demographic appeal, and his record speaks for itself. Prior to his service on the national stage, Booker was a successful mayor of Newark, New Jersey, one of the most significant cities in the state. He is also a Rhodes scholar, went to Yale Law School, and worked alongside Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to create a $100 million education foundation for the city of Newark. Although the up and coming Democrat represents the future of the party, there are some minor drawbacks that shouldn’t be overlooked. Notably, the New Jersey Senator has staunchly promoted criminal justice reform, which is well and good, except that Secretary Clinton has received criticism lately for her husband’s “tough on crime” bills that were enacted in the 1990’s.
Elizabeth Warren – the senior Senator from the state of Massachusetts has wasted no time in leaving her progressive mark on everything from financial services to social policy. This is especially impressive because the former Harvard law professor was elected to the Senate less than four years ago. Senator Warren sparked controversy with her role in creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, as the CFPB has come under fire recently due to its somewhat unaccountable nature. Aside from this minor setback, the Senator could also fail to appeal to more moderate voters, as she has been one of the most staunchly progressive members of the Senate (aside from Vermont Senator and former presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders) in recent years. In addition to her partisan nature, the Massachusetts Senator has also been anything but shy about criticizing the presumptive Democratic nominee because of her ties to Wall Street. So the jury is out on this pick, but an all female ticket would effectively differentiate the Democrats from their counterparts across the aisle.
While other complimentary possibilities exist for the Democratic ticket (the names Julian Castro and Sherrod Brown come to mind) this list presents the most likely short list of candidates that the Clinton campaign would choose. Now the only thing to do is wait until the official announcement is made.
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With thanks to William Sellery and Evan Blauser, from Gavel Resources, part of the Interel Washington Group