Three bold VP picks for Dems in 2016
I am often confounded, as are many others, by how often we in the political sphere denigrate the office of the vice president or downplay the importance of the vice presidential nominee. Perhaps the evidence supports this position, as vice presidential candidates, with the notable exception of Sarah Palin, have appeared not to change the fundamental dynamics of a presidential race. Campaigns generally select the safer choice over one that could be far more interesting.
I do not necessary believe that these selections are the best for the Democratic Party, nor the most likely (I contend that Clinton-O’Malley is our most probable ticket). Furthermore, these candidates would not work especially well for certain nominees; however, we should consider some of these more interesting selections.
Cory Booker – The mayor of Newark, N.J., recently announced a possible Senate run in 2014, but regardless of the outcome of that election, Booker would be an excellent candidate. Booker’s brand is strongly founded on both a philosophical view on government and responsive constituent care. If his 1.3 million Twitter followers are any indication, he is developing a national presence. His unique understanding of government could appeal to both independents and moderate Republicans, and Booker could provide a different type of message to voters than the top of the ticket in order to reach these voters more successfully.
Joe Biden – Selecting Joe Biden as the VP nominee would hardly be traditional. As far as I know, the closest our country has seen to a continuing vice president was Ronald Reagan’s offer to former president Gerald Ford to have the latter be the vice presidential nominee in 1980. Yet, if the economy is strong in 2016 and the Obama administration is popular, Vice President Biden would be a way to show the continuity within the Democratic Party. Biden has also been an effective campaigner and continues to be a strong vice president. Perhaps voters would like to see him continue in that role.
Russ Feingold – The former Wisconsin senator could be the right pick if his vice presidential campaign followed this simple message: “Elect me to be your vice president and I will fix our broken campaign finance system.” Electing a ticket with Feingold would mean a mandate for campaign finance reform with the primary advocate for such reform in one of the most powerful offices in our government. With this primary focus, the role of the vice presidential candidate could be transformed from balancing the ticket to one supporting specific issue effectiveness, which could therefore appeal to voters across the political spectrum who desire reform in this area.
Honorable Mentions: Elizabeth Warren and Sheldon Whitehouse – The progressive senators from Massachusetts and Rhode Island, respectively, are beloved by the liberal base of the Democratic Party. Such a selection would ignite that progressive base much as like Sarah Palin did for conservatives in 2008, but the question becomes, is it worthwhile to do so? Only in the case of a moderate candidate such as former Republican and former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist would the campaign likely feel the need to shore up progressive support. Regardless, they are both excellent candidates in their own right, and a prominent position such as a cabinet post might be fitting in any Democratic administration.
photo of Russ Feingold by Gage Skidmore: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/8099117557/