Sunday, May 1, 2016

Who might be Donald Trump's VP pick? My take on his choices.

Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania. New York Times. 

I'm going to skip the normal format for this one. The New York Times put out a possible list of vice presidential candidates for Donald Trump. Quite frankly, I am not sure if they got it right, but the article can be found here. I am going go through all the candidates they came up with and a bunch of candidates that I think they have missed, in some cases egregiously. Right now though it seems rather wide open. The only people that I can say for sure that Trump wouldn't pick would be Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina and Jeb Bush. Other then those three it's anyone's guess. 

I also would do this for Hillary Clinton, but I just don't know enough about her party to do so. I may do so in the future, but not right now. And Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders and John Kasich are basically irrelevant. None of them are getting close to the candidacy. Let's get started:

Dr. Ben Carson. Former presidential candidate and generally well liked. Has some crazy ideas though, even compared to other people in the race. He's open to the idea of being VP

PROS- He's popular and is widely considered as a deeply moral and decent person, which could make him act as a mitigating influence for Trump's wilder ideas. He's also a minority, thought that probably matters less then people make it out to be.

CONS- He doesn't have much government experience, which Trump has said he doesn't want. He's also pretty bad at debates and isn't going to fit the VP attack dog role very well. 

My take- Trump could do worse, but I don't see Carson helping him all that much. I do have a lot of respect for the guy though, and would be comfortable with him being president if something were to happen to Trump. I am guessing there is a place for Carson in Trump's presidency though. 

 New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Former presidential candidate that was always buddy-buddy with Trump. Responsible for destroying Marco Rubio's chances. Fat. 

PROS- Christie is a very good attack dog. Taking out Marco Rubio during one of the GOP debates proves that. He also has a brash style that matches up well with Trump. Also has government experience

CONS- Pretty much a RINO. Has a mixed record as governor. He would also piss off the gun rights voter block. Probably better suited for Attorney General.

My take- Not a fan of Christie due to his stance on gun control. He's be good on the campaign trail, but I hate to think of him in charge of the government. I also think he's a lying liar who lies, so I hope Trump picks someone else. 

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin. No clue on this one, this is the first time I have heard of her. 

PROS- She's a woman which could help trump with his favorability ratings. Also has government experience. 

CONS- Name recognition. Also everyone remembers Sarah Palin and Mary Fallin reminds me of her. 

My take- Neutral. Need way more information at this point. 

Former Congressmen Newt Gingrich. He also ran for president in 2012. Has very strong conservative bona fides. Famous for fighting Bill Clinton in the 90's. 

PROS- Name recognition and government experience. He would also be good at attacking the Clinton's. 

CONS-Not everyone has good memories of the 1990's. 

My take- Trump could do worse, but I really don't see how much Gingrich adds to the campaign. 

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. First off the wall pick by the New York Times as she and Trump seem to hate each other. Can't see this happening whatsoever. 

PROS- She's a toofer token minority as an Indian American woman. Somewhat respected in the GOP and has political experience.

CONS- They hate each other and Haley disagrees with large swaths of Trump's platform. She could undermine him. Also the attack ads write themselves. 

My Take- Really odd choice by the New York Times. It's only slightly more likely then Trump picking Jeb Bush or Ted Cruz. 

Ohio Governor John Kasich. Trump's other opponent in the Primary race. 

PROS- His delegates would help Trump win on the first ballot. He also has political experience and would presumably help Trump capture the critical state of Ohio.

CONS- Even though Kasich has been in the race since the beginning nobody knows who he is. He is also vastly different in policy compared to Trump. He also seems to be losing his grip on reality since his chances of winning died a LONG time ago.

My Take- Unlikely but possible for strategic reasons. If the choice is between Ted Cruz winning the nomination or having Kasich as the VP, I want Kasich. Other then that though, he's not much of an asset. Sure Ohio is important but Trumps supporters don't like Kasich. I also think that Kasich wants nothing to do with it.  

Ohio Senator Rob Portman. You got me, not really familiar with him. 

PROS- He's from Ohio and he has political experience.

CONS- He's not that well known.

My Take- This would be a dark horse pick, but I think that Portman would serve better in the Senate, assuming he gets re-elected. 

Former Florida congressman Joe Scarborough. Also host of the very popular MSNBC show Morning Joe. 

PROS- He's a celebrity too and has connections throughout Washington. Very high name recognition and they get along pretty well. Also, Florida is a swing state, which could help Trump. 

CONS- He doesn't have the experience other candidates bring to the table. He also has been occasionally critical of Trump. Also, a lot of Republicans hate anyone on MSNBC, even if Scarborough is their token Republican. 

My Take- It's possible and it has been brought up to Scarborough before. He didn't seem all that enthusiastic to the idea. I also don't like the idea of two media personalities working together. Scarborough also doesn't have as much experience as I would like. 

South Carolina Senator Tim Scott. Don't know much about him other then he is a first term senator.

PROS- He's black and reasonably popular. He would also work as a bone to throw to other parts of the party that aren't keen on Trump.

CONS- Name recognition. Trump and Scott are also not on the same page at all when it comes to policy.

My Take- Another longshot candidate. I really doubt that he is being seriously considered, especially after he endorsed Rubio. 

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions. An elder statesmen in the senate, who hates illegal immigration almost as much as Trump. Very well respected in the Senate. 

PROS- He's in agreement with almost all of Trump's policies and is a very good cheerleader for him. He also gives a lot of legitimacy to Trump's campaign. 

CONS- Not really seeing one, other then taking him as VP removes him as an ally in the Senate. I guess he isn't much of a bone to throw to the other factions of the GOP though.

My Take- My odds on favorite, I think this would be an excellent choice for Trump. Sessions is well respected and would give an air of credibility for Trump. 

Now for the ones that I though the New York Times left off the list:

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Former presidential candidate who is a tea party hero for holding off three recall elections and clashing with the Unions.

PROS- Wisconsin is, theoretically a swing state. Walker is also popular with the base. 

CONS- He and Trump didn't exactly get along very well. He is also EXTREMELY unpopular with Democrats and would pretty much guarantee that the so called "Reagan Democrats" wouldn't cross over to Trump. Also is a piss poor debater. 

My Take- Fairly unlikely, as Walker seemed cool to the idea when Trump brought it up. He hasn't ruled it out though either. I personally think he hurts Trump more then helps him. Even though he is my governor and I don't like him all that much, I want him to stay in that position to help keep gun rights safe in our state. 

Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Former presidential candidate. AKA "Little Marco". 

PROS- Like Kasich, he helps with the delegate math. He's also a decent reasonably popular with the establishment. Well spoken when he stays on message. From a major swing state

CONS- Ran a pretty terrible campaign and burned most of his bridges with Trump. Also very bad on immigration. The attack adds write themselves due to his late campaign meltdown and harsh criticism of Trump. 

My Take- Unlikely, but probably more likely then Kasich being tapped. I'd be amazed if it happened though, and I think Trump would have to pay more then he would like in terms of political capital to get him on board. I wouldn't be opposed if Trump could somehow make it work. 

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Fairly popular ex-presidential candidate and someone who gets along with Trump reasonably well. 

PROS- He's got Evangelical credentials which would help the religiously sluggish Trump. He's also a decent attack dog and would hit Hillary Clinton pretty hard. 

CONS- Not much appeal outside of Evangelicals.  

My Take-  A decent choice for Trump. He's one of the few people on the GOP side of the race that I actually liked. On the other hand he doesn't bring much to the table.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Also a former VP choice for John McCain. Has a lot of fans and is a fellow reality TV star. Endorsed Trump. 

PROS- High name recognition. They get along together pretty well. Has a decent sized number of devoted followers. She's also a woman. 

CONS- Nobody besides her followers like her. She also gets blamed, unfairly in my opinion, for John McCain losing against Barack Obama. Her family is also perceived  to be a train wreck. 

My Take- Very poor choice but one that has been shopped around. She would hurt Trump quite a bit though if he picked her. Tina Fey would get work again though. If she was picked it would be a media event the likes we haven't seen even in this crazy election cycle. 

Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb. Former Democratic candidate for President. War hero. He has made statements that he likes Trump more then Hillary Clinton.

PROS- He's a Democrat so he would appeal to the "Reagan Democrats". He's also a war hero in a race lacking in people with military experience. 

CONS- He's a Democrat so picking him would piss off many Republicans. Picking him would also validate to some extent the charges that Trump is a RINO. Some major policy differences as well. 

My Take- Absolute longshot due to him pissing off Republicans just for existing, but a man that I actually respect. If all Democrats were like Jim Webb, I would seriously consider switching parties. Probably the most interesting option due to the uniqueness of a split party

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Democratic Socialist and Democratic candidate for president. Yes, his name has been floated and no it isn't a joke.

PROS- He would bring a lot of young, energized voters along with him. He also has more in common with Trump then most people realize. They agree on trade, immigration and they both hate the political establishment.

CONS- Many people in the GOP wouldn't vote for Sanders on principle. Huge policy differences. Many Sanders supporters would consider this selling out and wouldn't vote for him if it happened. 

My Take- No idea why people are talking about this like it could happen, but since they are I have to say that it is extremely unlikely. It would cause utter chaos though and if nothing else it would be fun to watch. 

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Former presidential candidate. Hugely popular and a national icon due to the 9/11 attacks.

PROS- He's hugely popular and many consider him a hero. He also helps make New York State competitive, which would otherwise be almost impossible. 

CONS- Kind of a RINO and the establishment doesn't like him

My Take- Longshot but a decent pick. He helps him in New York, at the very least. 

So who is it going to be? My guess is that it will be Jeff Sessions. If not him then probably Christie (ugh), Carson or Gingrich. If Trump doesn't get close to 1237 on his own merits, I could see a deal with Rubio or Kasich. But given how wild and unpredictable Trump is I could see him going with a longshot candidate or one that hasn't even been considered in this post. Hopefully we will find out soon, but we will probably have to wait until after the June 7th primaries. 

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