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“The Sunday Political Brunch” – July 10, 2016

Sunday, July 10, 2016

 

One week from today I will be at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, and then it’s on to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Speculation is high on whom each candidate might pick for a vice presidential running mate – and we’re hearing Donald Trump may announce his pick ahead of the convention. Let’s “brunch” on that this week:

“A Woman’s the Ticket” – You can be sure Donald Trump will look seriously at putting a woman on the GOP ticket. He needs the gender balance and appeal. Keep your eyes on Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) as a real contender. While she’s been in the U.S. Senate less than two years, Ernst served in Iowa state and local government for 11 years. More important, at age 46, she is a U.S. military veteran and - in fact - is the first female veteran to serve in the U.S. Senate from either party. Iowa is a “swing state” so she could help at home.

“Newt, to Boot!” – Certainly the best known GOP contender is former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA). Trump – a Washington outsider – needs a Washington insider to help him learn the ropes and guide legislation through Congress. On the plus side, Gingrich has intellect and experience; on the downside, Gingrich is as polarizing as his foils – the Clintons – because people either love him or hate him. There is no in-between. Georgia is normally solid for the GOP, but Hillary Clinton is running close to Trump there right now. It’s a toss-up.

“Indiana Wants Me; DC, Too?” – Right now, I’d put my money on Governor Mike Pence (R-IN) as the leading contender. Pence served 12 years in the U.S. House, ending up as Republican Conference Chairman, a big leadership role. He is just completing his first term as his state’s chief executive. Experience matters. Pence, who is 57, like Gingrich is a true conservative, and could help Trump navigate the tumultuous waters of Congress. Indiana went for Barack Obama in 2008, but flipped to Mitt Romney in 2012. It’s a swing state!

“Virginia is for… Winners!” – Keep your eye on Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA). He was Mayor of Richmond, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, and then Governor, before being elected to the U.S. Senate. Kaine (age 58) was considered for VP in 2008, when Barack Obama was the nominee. Obama carried Virginia in 2008 and 2012, the first Democrat to do so since President Johnson in 1964. It’s a “swing state” with 13 Electoral College votes. He’s my bet for Hillary Clinton’s VP pick.

“Double Trouble!” – Everyone is looking for votes in the nation’s largest minority group – the Hispanics. They are not beholden to either party, yet right now lean Democrat. But as the Bush family showed us, if the Republicans can get 45 percent of the Hispanic vote, they can win, especially in Florida and Texas. Hillary Clinton likes the Castro twins (age 41) from Texas. Julian is the former Mayor of San Antonio, who is now Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the Obama administration. His brother Joaquin has served two terms in the U.S. House. Both are viable, but in 2016 they may be too young and inexperienced for the national stage.

“Warren Warning” – There has been a lot of speculation that Hillary Clinton might lead the first all-female ticket, picking Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Many Bernie Sanders supporters would love this, and it would get some of their reluctant voters onto the Clinton bandwagon. It’s not implausible, as women outvote men in this country by a significant margin. But Warren is anti-Wall Street, and Clinton loves Wall Street donors, so it would be a shotgun marriage. It’s doubtful, but, remember, in 1992 everyone said Bill Clinton would not pick a fellow Southerner to be his running mate, and he picked Al Gore. With the Clintons, all bets are off!

“Poof!” – West Virginia may be the only state where both U.S. Senators were under serious consideration. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is the most conservative Democrat in the Senate. While he would give Clinton good ideological balance, he is so pro-coal, and she is so anti-coal, it would never work. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) has long experience in Congress and would give Trump some gender appeal, but he’s likely to win easily in West Virginia anyway, so there is no net-sum gain. Both WV senators are likely out of consideration.

“Trending” – Everyone in the Internet age loves to talk about what’s “trending,” which means what’s most popular online, as well as in the mainstream media. Politics is no different. Here has been what’s “trending” since 1976 on vice presidential picks: Walter Mondale, George H.W. Bush, Al Gore, Jr., Dick Cheney, and Joe Biden. All were candidates with deep Washington experience, paired with lesser known outsiders. Each was there to be the “adult in the room.” Trump is likely to follow that trend by picking Governor Pence, while Hillary Clinton is likely to try to secure the key swing-state of Virginia by picking Senator Kaine.

What are your thoughts? Who should be the VP picks? Just click the comment button at http://www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

 

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