Who Will Hillary Pick for VP?
With her victories in New Jersey and California earlier this month, Hillary Clinton became the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee. That means it’s time for her to finally start thinking about who she’ll pick to be her vice presidential running mate! (Juuuuuust kidding, she’s been thinking about that since April of 1998.)
So, who’s it gonna be? Here’s your guide to the top 8 choices:
1) Elizabeth Warren, Senator from Massachusetts
Yaaas: Hillary would be doubling down on that valuable woman card her opponent likes to bring up, and moves to shore up her support among Bernie Sanders’ supporters by nominating a liberal in the same tradition as Bernie. Warren is smart, credible and well-respected nationally. Plus, she’s proven to be an effective and aggressive critic of Trump.
Nah brah: They don’t really get along, and Warren could outshine Hillary. Warren’s replacement in the Senate would be picked by a GOP governor, potentially giving the upper chamber to the Republicans. Warren herself reportedly believes Americans don’t want two women on a ticket. Plus, she has little foreign policy experience.
The Verdict: Two women?!?! But what if their menstrual cycles sync up!!! (If you try to explain what postmenopause is to me I will SCREAM). That said, Warren is much more well-liked and trusted than Clinton, and brings a great deal of credibility to issues of inequality and corruption. Perhaps most importantly, she seems to relish the role of attack dog, which may free Hillary up to go positive and try to reduce her own unfavorable ratings.
2) Tim Kaine, Senator from Virginia
Yaaas: He’s a well-liked senator and former governor of a swing state. He’s seen as somewhat moderate, which could appeal to those who feel left out of this election cycle. He speaks fluent Spanish and has a backstory as a Christian missionary that may draw in some disillusioned conservatives. He’s on the foreign relations committee. Mainly, he’s safe. Experienced. Competent.
Nah brah: He’s a boring white guy. Speaking Spanish is not the same as living the Hispanic experience. Liberals and people of color aren’t going to be excited by this pick. He’d show that Hillary just doesn’t get how fed up the people are.
The Verdict: Kaine’s probably the leader in the clubhouse. And he’s not a bad choice, particularly if Hillary anticipates that Trump will (continue to) self-implode. There’s something to be said for picking someone who could be President on day one if needed, and Kaine fits the bill. But picking Kaine will put more pressure on Hillary to reassure the left-wing of the base herself.
3) Julian Castro, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Yaaas: He’s young, telegenic, Hispanic, and accomplished. Castro checks pretty much every box. He endorsed Hillary early and campaigned for her aggressively, plus they seem to get along well. Everything Hillary is, Castro isn’t…
Nah brah: …including experienced. Castro’s time as mayor of San Antonio was really a glorified city councillor role, and he’s been Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for fewer than 2 years. Picking a fairly clearly unprepared Latino politician would seem like craven politics, and it’s hard to argue how Castro could be president if something were to happen.
The Verdict: Don’t do this, Hillary. Trump himself is enough to rally Hispanic voters to your side, and while Castro may be the future of the Democratic Party down the road, there’s no need to endanger his and your political futures by putting him out there when he’s not ready. Hillary’s central argument is competence and experience, and picking Castro could undercut both.
4) Tom Perez, Secretary of Labor
Yaaas: But if Hillary is looking for a Hispanic member of Obama’s cabinet, Perez is a better place to start. He’s experienced in government and his liberal credentials are practically impeccable. He was an effective surrogate for Hillary and would excite certain elements of the liberal base who have long been fans of his.
Nah brah: Who? The Labor Secretary isn’t very well-known outside of the wonkiest liberal circles. He was last elected to office in a local race in Maryland in 2002. He would be the second Obama cabinet member on the ticket (as would Castro), which would be a problem if Obama’s approval numbers drop as he enters the partisan fray or the economy slows down.
The Verdict: An intriguing, if not terribly likely, pick. Perez could conceivably be the only person who can accomplish two of Hillary’s biggest political goals: excite Hispanic voters and bring liberal voters into the fold. But without a large national profile, it’s hard to see Perez getting the nod.
5) Sherrod Brown, Senator from Ohio
Yaaas: He’s a liberal and populist lion who would bring nearly every advantage that Warren would. He’s from Ohio (though there’s little evidence VP picks actually deliver their home states). If Hillary doesn’t want a running mate who might outshine her like Warren, Brown may be the best anti-Wall Street pick.
Nah brah: He’s seen by some as Warren/Bernie-lite. As with Warren, a GOP governor would name Brown’s replacement, and given Ohio’s swing state status there’s no guarantee a Democrat would win a special election. Plus, he’s a white guy.
The Verdict: Brown’s a good backup if Hillary just can’t bring herself to pick Warren. He’s proven he can win independents even as a liberal senator and he has some credibility both with Bernie’s supporters and with Rust Belt voters. But the possibility of losing a very winnable Senate because of an unstrategic veep selection will hang over his head.
6) Cory Booker, Senator from New Jersey
Yaaas: He’s young, he’s smart, he’s African-American and he’s relatively popular. He’s a passionate campaigner who proved to be an effective surrogate for Hillary, and he could help her reach younger voters. His personal story is also compelling, and he’s seen by many as someone who could be president someday.
Nah brah: He’s somewhat high on flash while low on substance. He’s known for his unbreakable positivity and hasn’t had to endure the kind of grueling campaign this would be. He has little foreign policy experience and may not be ready day one.
The Verdict: Expect Booker to be on the shortlist, but if Hillary’s going for a young, charismatic person of color, Castro might be the better bet. But if Booker wants it, he could be in line for a prime Cabinet position.
7) Deval Patrick, former Governor of Massachusetts
Yaaas: He’s qualified, he’s African-American, he’s a great speaker and campaigner, and he’s a good fundraiser. He’s known as a highly competent governor and an asset on the campaign trail.
Nah brah: He’s old news and part of the establishment. He’s been out of office for years and has low name recognition. He does very little to shore up any of Hillary’s weaknesses. Plus, after he left office he went to work for Bain Capital.
The Verdict: If Clinton wants to go safe but doesn’t want to pick Kaine, Patrick’s her man. He’s no doubt able to do the job and could help contrast with the erratic Trump.
8) Al Franken, Senator from Minnesota
Yaaas: He’s a popular liberal with high name recognition, a good resume, strong campaigning skills and a relationship with Hillary. He’s both effective with his attacks and known as a work horse in the Senate. He’s competent and, of course, funny.
Nah brah: Do Democrats really want to pit a reality star against a sketch comedy star? He’s not quite liberal enough to excite the left-wing of the base, but not moderate enough to energize centrists. His edgy jokes from SNL could become a campaign issue too.
The Verdict: He’d be an interesting choice, and would probably reflect Hillary wanting to pick someone she thinks she could work with. Much like her, Franken went to the Senate as a star and emerged a wonk who earned respect from his colleagues. He’s a longshot, but not out of the running.
Others to consider: Gov. John Hickenlooper, Sen. Chris Murphy, Sheryl Sandberg, Sen. Mark Warner, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Michael Bloomberg, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Rep. Tim Ryan, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, VP Joe Biden (?!)