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Ranking Donald Trump’s options for vice president

By Around the Web


Republican candidates often make ‘out-of-left-field’ picks.

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Wire.]

By Sean Trende
Real Clear Wire

Playing the Veepstakes guessing game is often a losing one for analysts. Vice-presidential selection is ultimately a highly personal choice, and it is simply too difficult to venture into the mind of one individual and mimic their thought process. Perhaps more importantly, Republican presidential nominees haven’t made the obvious choice for vice president since Ronald Reagan chose George Bush in 1980. Dan Quayle, Jack Kemp, Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, Paul Ryan, and even Mike Pence were all somewhat “out-of-left-field” selections for their respective presidential candidates.

It is tempting to say that the journey into the mind of a presidential candidate is particularly likely to become a failed venture when that candidate is Donald Trump. This doesn’t give Trump enough credit. Picking Mike Pence in 2016 was, in retrospect, an inspired choice and probably helped win him the presidency. In this regard, at least, his 2016 campaign was surprisingly normal.

Nonetheless, the goal isn’t to predict who Trump’s pick will be. Instead we’ll rank the prospective candidates by who would do the most good for the Republican ticket. There are a number of potential candidates not listed here. Ben Carson, Elise Stefanik, Tom Cotton, or Ron DeSantis come to mind (and Kristi Noem until about three weeks ago), and Trump really could pick someone completely out of the blue. But let’s look at the potential running mates who have gotten the most buzz of late:

10. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. First, Haley certainly isn’t showing much interest in the job. A vice-presidential candidate should, at a minimum, have endorsed the presidential candidate. There’s a universe where this is the Republican dream ticket, but relations between Haley and Trump have deteriorated so much that Trump risks looking weak or desperate were he to pick her. Probably a net negative at this point.

Nikki Haley (Video screenshot)

9. Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Sanders’ pros are threefold: She is a female governor, she served in the Trump administration, and she is supportive of Trump. Beyond that, she brings little to the table.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Video screenshot)

Sarah Huckabee Sanders

8. Sen. J.D. Vance, Ohio. Vance might have made sense for Trump’s 2016 campaign, when he was trying to build a coalition by tearing away blue-collar voters from Obama’s 2012 win. But if Trump is trying to shore up the blue-collar vote in 2024, he’s in trouble. He needs to make gains elsewhere. Also, Vance’s 2022 win in Ohio was fairly unimpressive, so even if he needs to win by those voters for some reason, it isn’t clear that Vance is the ticket…



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