Roger L. Simon

Who Should Be Trump's Veep?

Let’s play a game that no longer seems all that much of a game. If Donald Trump does win the Republican presidential nomination, who should he pick as his running mate?

(As events develop, I will do similar analyses with other candidates in the presidential position. For now, it’s safe to say Trump would not want to be anybody else’s VP choice, nor, most likely, would the others want to have him.)

I have made six possible selections for Trumps’ vice-presidential candidate — all either Latinos, blacks or women.  Yes, that’s the wretched identity politics, but those are the areas where The Donald needs help and, as they say, “if you can’t lick ’em, join ’em.”  We can make the assumption that Trump already has the white male vote — in Stevie Wonders’ words — “signed, sealed, delivered.”

My top four are active presidential candidates — the only ones from that still long list that merit serious consideration.  The idea of a Trump-Bush ticket makes your head spin and  I doubt Chris Christie can turn New Jersey red.  Huckabee would make a great host for a revived “Hee Haw” and Kasich might as well be a Democrat. The rest barely register in the polls.  What could they possibly do for Trump?  I have added two others from outside the race who in the end might.  Number 5 in particular I think could be interesting. I vacillated back and forth between my 1. and 2. picks.  I think you can call them equal.  (The two of them running together might be an unstoppable ticket, but that’s for another day.)

Worth noting too is what we all know — the vice presidency is a largely ceremonial job, not nearly as important as, say, coach of the New York Jets or the next interior decorator at the White House. The president runs the show.  Nevertheless, the vice-presidential candidate can have an impact on the election.  So, speaking of coaches and in the spirit of the well-known “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing,” here, in order, are my choices.

1. MARCO RUBIO

Pros: Excellent foreign policy credentials make up for Trump’s confusion about Middle East.  First-rate public speaker/debater. Youth appeals to millennials and good looks to women. And, he’s Latino. Does well head-to-head with Democrats in recent polls.

Cons: Amnesty, amnesty, amnesty.  Base doesn’t believe Rubio’s really against it now.  Also, both candidates attacked each other nastily.  Does this mean anything in the end?  Not among grown-ups.

2. BEN CARSON

Pros:  A healer in more ways than one.  Would make true “outsider” ticket.  Rarely criticizes anyone and doesn’t use ad hominems.  Respected by all. Doing hugely well in polls.  And, of course, the black thing.

Cons: Too many outsiders and Carson not really an executive.  Too nice — a veep candidate has to go for the throat.  Mediocre debater.  Foreign policy questions.  More Latinos in electorate than blacks.

3. CARLY FIORINA

Pros:  Excellent debate skills with take-no-prisoners style.  Solid grasp of issues.  Hillary basher who can make inroads with female majority.

Cons:  Poll numbers in decline.  Is she already (unfairly) branded as shrill?  Matters less that Trump stupidly insulted her looks and she shot back.

4. TED CRUZ

Pros:  Consistent conservative policy across the board.   Excellent debater (though hasn’t caught fire in candidate debates).  Courageous. Intelligent. Great fundraising. Has not criticized Trump.

Cons: Perceived rigidity alienates independents, appeals primarily to base that Trump already has. Less Latino cred than Rubio.

5. NIKKI HALEY

Pros: South Carolina’s first woman governor and youngest current governor in U.S. with Indian immigrant parents.  Won reelection big.  Handled fallout well from mass murder at Charleston church, removing Confederate flag from state house.

Cons: Failed to report eight donors from 2010 campaign, also South Carolina already locked red state.

6. MARSHA BLACKBURN

Pros: Hard-charging but glamorous Tennessee representative first woman in her state elected to House seat not previously held by husband. True conservative record, called a “taxpayer hero” by the Americans for Tax Reform.

Cons:  Failed to report 2008 campaign contributions and expenditures, including eighteen thousand to fundraising company run by son-in-law.

That’s my view as of today.  Your turn…