Analyzing the short list of Donald Trump's potential vice presidential selections.

Who Will Trump Pick for VP?

June 30, 2016 / by / 12 Comments

Abraham Lincoln’s party has chosen Donald J. Trump as its standard bearer. That part is done. What comes next is the first presidential-level decision Trump has ever had to make (deciding not to bang his daughter even if he really wants to does not count) — picking a VP.

Trump’s not a traditional candidate, and his veepstakes have already been chaotic. He’s said he wants someone with Congressional experience, but also said he wants Oprah (oops). He tabbed Ben Carson to run the search, then fired him when the shortlist included Sarah Palin. In other words, who even knows with this guy.

Anyway, here’s a stab at who A Donald is considering:

1) Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House from Georgia

Yaaas: Gingrich brings the Congressional experience Trump mentioned, and has enthusiastically backed Trump (on most things) in recent weeks. He has access to some of the big GOP donors, in case Trump actually isn’t worth $10 billion and can’t self-finance. He’s a former candidate who was once third in line to the presidency and would be able to assume the office if something were to happen to Trump.

Nah brah: They may end up with more marriages between them than states won in November. Gingrich is hated by Republicans, Democrats and Independents, and famously impeached Hillary’s husband for having an affair while he was cheating on his cancer-stricken wife.

The Verdict: Gingrich is apparently the frontrunner and honestly they probably deserve each other. A couple of old, fat, rich, white dudes who think they have very good brains and are known for their tabloid covers. Gingrich does nothing to help Trump electorally (if he’s trying to defend Georgia, he’s already lost), but would probably be viewed as a pick that passes the commander-in-chief test.

2) Rick Scott, Governor of Florida

Yaaas: He’s a twice-elected governor of the biggest swing state. He’s worth hundreds of millions from his career in health care, allowing Trump to argue he’s tapping into the best minds in business. He’s been supportive of Trump, is a hardline conservative, and has a relationship with the RNC.

Nah brah: Aside from the fact that he looks like Voldemort, Scott is controversial in his own right. He’s implemented Tea Party ideas in Florida, including refusing to expand Medicaid, and oversaw what was at the time the largest Medicare fraud in American history. Unsurprisingly, that’s made him very unpopular in Florida. Also, he has ruled out being Donald Trump’s VP.

The Verdict: If I’m Trump, this is my guy. He’s got the combination of governing and business experience, and he may help deliver Florida. Sure he’s generally hated, but so is Trump. Scott has said no in the press, but isn’t Trump a master negotiator? Surely he could convince Scott to climb onboard.

3) Jeff Sessions, Senator from Alabama? Mississippi? One of those. (ed. note: Alabama)

Yaaas: Sessions is another early Trump supporter, and we know Trump likes loyalty. He’s an immigration hardliner, which jives with Trump’s core message. He’s not hated by national Republicans.

Nah Brah: Where to begin? He doubles down on just about all of Trump’s issues with only a dose of southern “charm” to compensate. It’s hard to see how picking a pro-life, anti-immigrant, anti-BLM Senator from Alabama will help Trump’s standing with women, Latinos or African-Americans.

The Verdict: If this is the pick, it will be because Trump couldn’t get anyone better to say yes.

4) Bob Corker, Senator from Tennessee

Yaaas: This is the guy many national Republicans want. He’s well-respected in the party, generally competent and could add a dose of sanity to the ticket. He has defended Trump publicly on most occasions and has a reputation for grasping policy. As chair of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, he’d be seen as passing the commander-in-chief test.

Nah Brah: Corker’s not well-known nationally and is part of the establishment. On the few occasions he’s disagreed with Trump, he’s been vocal about it. And as with others on the list, the ticket would be two old white guys from noncompetitive states.

The Verdict: Corker would be a solid choice, enabling Trump to show undecided voters that he can work with competent, relatively rational people. The choice wouldn’t throw much red meat to his base, but he does that enough on his own. The bigger question is whether Corker can stomach being held to account for everything Trump says.

5) Joni Ernst, Senator from Iowa

Yaaas: She’s a young, telegenic, not-entirely-despised female politician from a swing state. She’s an Iraq veteran, and Trump claims to love the vets. As a Senator, she technically has congressional experience. She’s seen as somewhat of an outsider, but national donors may still find her acceptable.

Nah Brah: She’s certainly not ready to be president, though that likely doesn’t matter to Trump. She barely won Iowa in a GOP wave year, and her aggressive style can come off as alienating. She campaigned for Marco Rubio, though she technically didn’t endorse him (which is absolutely not a thing).

The Verdict: She probably wouldn’t be a complete disaster. Ernst theoretically could help with white Midwestern voters and maybe women. Plus it’s unlikely that picking an unqualified veep would scare off anyone who was ready to vote for Trump anyway.

6) Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey

Yaaas: He’s been loyal to Trump from the beginning. First he torpedoed a surging Rubio in some sort of debate murder-suicide, then he endorsed Trump while other national figures were still fighting him. He’s got the tough-guy persona that Trump tries to exude, and he’d help reassure donors that they would be getting a mainstream administration.

Nah Brah: It’s just sad. Seeing this once-great governor and frontrunner standing sadly behind his conqueror like Reek is nothing short of depressing, and that was before recent reports that he’s been demoted to Trump’s personal servant. And, he’s wildly unpopular in his own state and has Bridgegazhi hanging over his head.

The Verdict: Is this how you envisioned your life going, Chris Christie? Are you happy? Like, truly happy? He’s probably angled for the job too hard to actually get it, but if the FBI finds evidence that Hillary killed Hoffa, Christie may be in line for Attorney General in the Trump Administration.

7) Mary Fallin, Governor of Oklahoma

Yaaas: She’s been a congresswoman, so she brings the experience Trump is looking for. She’s been elected governor twice and still maintains some outsider credentials. Her Tea Party policies largely match Trumps and she’d be able to blunt criticisms of Trump’s misogyny. Her role as chair of the National Governor’s Association could mean access to big donors too.

Nah Brah: Maybe she helps lock up the Bible Belt states that don’t have big cities, but that’s about it. The (tbh sexist) comparisons to Sarah Palin will be unavoidable. She can be a bit of a firebrand but may still have difficulty agreeing with Trump on everything.

The Verdict: She’s a strong choice in that she counters Hillary’s message of female empowerment, brings Congressional know-how and executive experience, and would probably be considered capable of being president if needed. However, she does little to help expand Trump’s base of support beyond the far-right.

Others to consider: Others to consider: South Dakota Sen. John Thune, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval.