This week’s question: What do Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton each need to accomplish with their respective VP picks and their upcoming party conventions?
Travis Hawkes - Managing Partner, Riverwood Strategies. (Written before Trump made his selection of Mike Pence as VP running mate.) Because Trump and Hillary both have historically high unfavorables, they need to make selections to try and mitigate those negatives. For Hillary it needs to be someone that is likable and viewed as trustworthy. For Trump it needs to be someone seen as measured and thoughtful in terms of solving problems. In both cases there is a large percentage of party faithful and/or grassroots voters unhappy with the outcome, so choices to bridge those gaps are important.
Trump would have to pick a well-respected conservative. I just can’t conceive a self-respecting / well-respected conservative accepting. It seems like political suicide to me. Maybe he’ll have to default to someone like Newt Gingrich or Chris Christie who don’t have a political career to look forward to otherwise. At least then he would have a very effective attack dog. As for the convention, I’m guessing he’ll have a tough time filling out the speaking slots with respectable people so I suppose accomplishing that would be a major accomplishment.
Hillary might as well double down and pick Elizabeth Warren and get a 2-fer special, sort of like we had with Bill and Hillary a couple of decades ago. Warren would solidify the Bernie Sanders vote and would be very effective ripping into Trump. She would expose him as the cartoon character that he is. Having Warren bring Sanders on board for the convention would make it look like a Kumbaya Convention as contrasted to the Three-Ring Circus we’re likely to see on the Republican side.
David Turnbull – President, Brighton Corporation. Woe is me – nobody I can vote for this election.
Dr. Justin Vaughn – Professor of Political Science, Boise State University. (Written before Trump’s VP pick was made.) Hillary needs to select someone who can do at least one of two things she needs if she's going to hold Trump off: convey an image of trustworthiness and satisfy the progressive wing of her party, which means more than simply getting Bernie Sanders supporters back in the fold.
Trump, on the other hand, needs to find someone who signals competence while maintaining the support of the disaffected white working class voters who have responded so powerfully to his populist message.