There is under a month to go until both parties have their political conventions, and one of the biggest decisions that candidates have to make is who will be their Vice President. I have already written about some of the likely candidates for Donald Trump to pick from, so it is now time to look at some of the options for Hillary Clinton to select from.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro: Castro is very clearly doing everything that he can to increase his appeal for the job, with news that he is “mov[ing] to shore up a potential weakness” by changing a HUD program for transparently political reasons (even advocates of a change to a lending program admitted that the change only materialized because they were using his Vice Presidential aspirations as leverage). Some members of the Clinton inner circle have been predicting Castro’s selection for months, and his selection was a near-certainty when Republicans seemed poised to nominate anyone other than…Trump. Castro has drawn criticism for being “the least-qualified nominee for the job in decades.” In an article for The Daily Beast, Matt Lewis wrote that:
First, let’s begin with the fact that Castro’s most important elected experience was as San Antonio’s mayor, which is a largely symbolic position. “San Antonio’s city government is a council-manager system,” explains the Atlantic’s City Lab : “Unlike the strong-mayor governments of Chicago or New York, San Antonio’s government is led by a city manager, which is appointed by the City Council. The city charter invests in the city manager the authority to execute the laws and administer the government of the city.”
Elected in 2009, Castro was basically a glorified ribbon-cutter. He had “no executive authority,” as the Washington Examiner’s Byron York noted last year when Castro was tapped for the HUD job. As mayor, he made around $4,000 a year, while the city manager made $355,000 to actually run the city. To make ends meet, Castro gave paid speeches and wrote a memoir, which together got him roughly $200,000 in 2013. Before that, he made a small fortune as a lawyer in a career that attracted a fair amount of scrutiny.
By the time November 2016 rolls around, Castro will have run HUD—one of our less-efficient federal bureaucracies—for a couple years and change. The last guy to try to use that office as a launching pad, for what it’s worth, was Andrew Cuomo, who ran for New York governor in 2002 after leaving the agency and got clobbered in the Democratic primary. Castro did sound fairly certain that his selection was not “going to happen” earlier this year, but it remains to be seen if he is right.
Castro did sound fairly certain that his selection was not “going to happen” earlier this year, but it remains to be seen if he is right.
Virginia Senator Tim Kaine: at this point, Kaine’s selection is seen as so likely, that anyone else would truly be a surprise pick. Kaine speaks fluent Spanish from a mission trip, and has most Democrats convinced that he would do a good job as Vice President. The question for him is can he be Hillary’s “attack dog,” and there are some convincing reasons to think that he would be able to do the job.
This is a guy, they point out, who has already literally had Adolf Hitler used against him — in an unaired but released ad from his opponent in the 2005 Virginia governor’s race that featured a man saying Kaine’s complete opposition to capital punishment meant he wouldn’t even kill the Nazi leader — and turned it into a winning issue.
Another potentially awkward dynamic for Kaine is that he is more pro-life than most Democrats, and this was pointed out time and again when he was under consideration to be Obama’s Vice President. Most bets are still on Kaine being selected, and he has worked to change his record on this issue since being elected to the Senate.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren: if Bernie Sanders were still a factor in winning the primary, Hillary would feel more compelled to cater to his voters. Warren and Clinton just had a joint rally in Ohio, and she has regularly attacked Trump on the campaign trail (and he has returned the favor). Clinton has recently been singing her praises behind closed doors, but I don’t see her stock rising enough to get the spot. She also would have to deal with the fact that Republican Governor Charlie Baker would get to appoint her replacement. Additionally, she has been fairly pointed of her criticism of Clinton in the past, and was the only female Democratic Senator to not endorse her until fairly recently.
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker: I have thought that ever since Booker voted for Obama’s Iran Deal that he has had his ambitions set beyond the Senate, and just this week he did not deny that he was being vetted for the job, which is a shift from only a few weeks ago, where he denied being interested in the job. One of the cons to Booker’s selection is of course that Chris Christie gets to pick his successor.
These are the four most likely choices for Hillary, but some of the other options Hillary can pick from include: Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper if she wants a midwesterner who can win tough elections, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar if she wants to pick a woman who is not Warren, Labor Secretary Tom Perez (although his record provides plenty to criticize), or Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown if she wants to pick a Sanders clone without picking him (although he also is replaced by John Kasich). I have also heard people remark in varying levels of seriousness that she pick Joe Biden to continue on as Vice President.
With so much certainty that Clinton will pick Kaine, I can actually see Hillary deciding to choose someone else on the list to at least provide a small measure of surprise. However, she has always been inclined towards caution, and that may continue to be the case, resulting in the Clinton-Kaine ticket that everyone is predicting.
Am I right? We’ll know in a few weeks! Let me know if there’s anyone not on this list who should be (and no, I don’t think she will pick Sanders so that omission is intentional).
To see who I think will be Trump’s number two, read here.