Veep Stakes are Here! (Hillary Clinton Addition)

By Britt Masback

WANT Original Content

2016 ­­ a tumultuous year that has seen the outbreak of the Zika virus, Isis instigated attacks in Brussels and other locations, and North Korean military escalation. In the United States, however, attention has focused on the 2016 Presidential election including the anomalous campaign of Donald Trump and the impending contest with Hillary Clinton. With the Republican and Democratic party conventions only a month away, the election is set between real estate mogul, Donald Trump, and former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. In what’s likely to be a closely divided election in a little over four months, everything that happens from now until November 8 will impact the outcome. One of these key factors will be the naming of a vice presidential nominee by each candidate. This important decision could sway independents and others who are unsure which candidate they prefer. Trump and Clinton must gauge the options and choose a running mate who can both help them win and who is ready to assume the presidency on a moment’s notice. On the Republican side, there is little knowledge of who Trump will choose as his running mate. On the Democratic side, there is a solid list of vice presidential candidates Clinton may be considering including Tim Kaine, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Sherrod Brown and Julian Castro. In this article, I will assess the pros and cons of each option.

The first possible running mate for Clinton is considered the safest. Tim Kaine is the 58­year­old white senator from Virginia. After graduating from the University of Missouri and Harvard Law School and practicing law for a number of years, Kaine has served at every political level in Virginia. He has been the Mayor of Richmond and Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor, Governor, and U.S. Senator. His only break from holding elected office in recent years was when he was the Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) from 2009 to 2011. Senator Kaine has many attractive features as a potential vice presidential candidate. First, as mentioned above, he is considered the safe, sensible candidate. As DNC chair, for example, Kaine kept an astonishingly low profile, in stark contrast to the current chair, Debbie Wasserman­Schultz. As a moderate, uncontroversial white male, he has the chance to appeal to Republicans who are disgusted by Trump and help capture center­right voters. It’s also an advantage for Kaine that he is the Senator from Virginia. This means two things. First, if Kane becomes the vice president, the governor of his state, Terry McAuliffe, who is a Democrat, gets to name his replacement and will make sure the Democrats don’t lose a Senate seat. Second, come general election time, Kaine will be a big help in Virginia, a battleground state. The last thing Kaine brings to the table for Clinton is his fluency in Spanish. Kaine spent time in Honduras on a mission trip and became fluent in S panish, which allowed him to give the first ever Senate floor speech in a language other than English. A Clinton/Kaine ticket should be attractive to Hispanics. If elected, Kaine would offer the Clinton administration extensive experience in law, foreign policy, and national security. He currently serves on both the Senate

Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees. Kaine has some shortcomings. First, because of his moderate views on issues like gun control, he might alienate progressive voters, especially some former Bernie Sanders supporters. The biggest problem might be his views on abortion ­­ he is considered to be pro­life, though he does not support overturning R oe v. Wade. All in all, TIm Kaine would be a safe candidate who could attract some Republican voters to the Democratic ticket.

The second possible vice presidential candidate for Clinton to consider is Elizabeth Warren. Warren is the 66­year­old white female senator from Massachusetts. She is one of the favorites to be Clinton’s running mate for a number of reasons. First, Warren is a notable progressive. This means she has the possibility to help Clinton win some of Bernie Sanders supporters who aren’t necessarily happy with all of Clinton’s views. Second, considered one of the most popular new Democratic senators, she would garner a tremendous amount of extra TV coverage, taking away from Trump’s dominance of the news cycle. With this TV coverage, she would be able to use her powerful speaking skills to attack Donald Trump, something she has already done well, getting under Trump’s “thick” skin on multiple occasions. The last thing that would help Clinton get to the White House would be the fact that Warren has an excellent reputation as someone who has fought against corporate interests. This would be especially helpful to Clinton as Trump has labeled her “Crooked Hillary.” If Warren is elected vice president, she would be very prepared. First, Warren’s experience as a law professor gives her insights into the workings of the American administrative state, especially relating to the economic conditions of middle class families. Second, as a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Warren is an expert when it comes to regulation of banks. While Warren would be a great pick to run as Clinton’s VP, there are a few downsides to her selection. First, she would have to give up her senate seat, a negative when the Democrats are fighting to take back the Senate. Next, some people say that it would be better for Clinton to choose a man since Clinton already has most of the female vote and she might have a better chance to chip into her deficit of male supporters if she chooses a male running mate. Lastly, while her progressive label is a good thing to Bernie supporters, there are problems with it. First, she could turn away moderates and potential Republican voters. More importantly however, Clinton and Warren do not agree completely on several issues. Warren has been a huge critic of Wall Street, a potential problem for their unity ticket considering that Clinton made $700,000 giving speeches to major banks last year. In review, Warren would be an exciting pick as Clinton’s VP candidate, but such a pick might alienate some potential Hillary voters.

The third of Hillary’s potential running mates is Cory Booker. Cory Booker is the 47­year­old male, African­American Senator from New Jersey. Booker, a Stanford and Yale Law graduate, originally worked as a lawyer at a free law clinic for low income

families. However, soon after, he ran for City Councilman in Newark, New Jersey and won in a major upset, beating a four­time incumbent. During his tenure as council member, he gained national recognition for some of his actions. For example, he went on a ten­day hunger strike to protest the lack of quality, affordable housing. At the end of his four years as a council member, he was already on a list of young Democrats to watch. Since then, he has been the Mayor of Newark and been elected as a Senator from New Jersey. He is considered to be an energetic senator who works hard to get his initiatives passed, and if he were Clinton’s vice president he would bring several positive things to her campaign. First, at 47­years­old, Booker is very vibrant and charismatic. Consequently, this could help Clinton win over some of the young voters that are alluding her. In addition to being young, he is also African­American, meaning he could attract any African­Americans who are not already voting for Hillary Clinton. Next, he is one of the most popular senators, known for his heroics, including the time he saved a woman from a burning house, or the time he shoveled snow for people during a blizzard, or the time he lived off food stamps for a week to demonstrate the inadequacy of the current nutritional benefits. These action should help Hillary Clinton appeal to undecided voters. Lastly, he is very media savvy and his brilliant use of Twitter, among other social media outlets, would be a big boost to Clinton’s campaign. While he would help Clinton capture young voters, his partnership with Clinton would have a few problems. First, as would be the case with Elizabeth Warren, Booker being elected vice president would result in the Democrats losing a senate seat because Republican governor Chris Christie would choose his replacement. Second, he does not add any geographic diversity to the Democratic ticket. Lastly, and probably the strongest liability for Booker is his support for charter schools, which Clinton has opposed. Cory Booker could help energize young voters and convince them to vote for the Clinton/Booker ticket, but he may not be chosen if Clinton wants to help the Democrats take back the Senate.

A fourth possible vice presidential running mate for Hillary Clinton is Sherrod Brown. Brown is the 63­year­old white senator from Ohio. He has been a lifelong politician. The same year he graduated from Yale University, Brown became the youngest member of the Ohio House of Representatives at the age of 22. For the last 42 years, he has been serving in some type of elected office. Working his way up from the Ohio House, he has served in the U.S. House of Representatives, has been the Secretary of State for Ohio, and as senator from Ohio. Brown would help Clinton’s ticket in several ways. First, as a very popular senator from Ohio, he would be able to help secure the battleground state of Ohio, something that could be the difference in a close election ­­ no Republican has won the presidency without carrying Ohio since Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860, so Brown’s role could be critical. Secondly, Brown could attract white, working class men who are supporting Trump and Bernie Sanders’

supporters, many of whom share Brown’s opposition to trade liberalization. As vice president, Brown could be a real advocate for the poor as he has been active in strengthening tax credits and food stamp programs. There are two potential shortcomings to a Brown candidacy. First, as with Warren and Booker, if Brown is elected the Democrats would lose a Senate seat as the Ohio governor, John Kasich, is a Republican. Second and most important, Clinton and Brown have disagreed on some key issues, including trade pacts. Sherrod Brown would be a strong vice presidential candidate for Hillary Clinton, though his populist views might be at odds with some of Clinton’s viewpoints.

A fifth possible candidate to become Hillary Clinton’s vice president running mate is Julian Castro. Castro is the 41­year­old Latino male Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). After graduating from Stanford and Harvard Law School, Castro worked for a law firm, before he made a successful run for San Antonio City Council. He later served as the Mayor of San Antonio before being named by President Obama as Secretary of HUD. Castro would help Clinton in a number of ways. First, since his keynote speech during the 2012 Democratic Convention, he has been considered one of the Democrat’s rising stars. Second, as a Latino, he would be able to help Clinton capture the Latino vote, a crucial demographic for Clinton. Third, Castro adds additional diversity to the ticket: she would be the second oldest president, he is only 41; she is from the North, he is from Texas. Fourth, choosing him wouldn’t impact the Senate balance since he’s not a senator. There is really only one negative about adding Castro to the ticket, though it is something that could be a major factor in Hillary Clinton’s decision. Even though he has been Mayor of San Antonio and Secretary of HUD, some observers feel he is not yet qualified to be a heartbeat away from becoming president. Julian Castro would be a young, charismatic speaker on a ticket with Hillary Clinton, but she will have to consider his lack of experience before choosing him.

The 2016 election has been full of surprises and news­stealing moments, but with a little more than four months until the election on November 8, the American voting public will choose between Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, and Jill Stein of the Green Party. All four candidates will be doing everything to bolster their chances, and one of these things will be choosing their vice presidential running mate. Hillary Clinton has a number of good candidates who could help fill gaps in her experience and persona, but who will she pick to help her lead the country? Will it be Tim Kaine, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Sherrod Brown or Julian Castro? Or, will it be a wild card, such as Labor Secretary, Tom Perez, or Xavier Becerra, a member of Congress from California? As the summer rolls on and the Democratic convention in Philadelphia draws nearer, the nation will hold its breath to see who will be chosen to run for vice president and how that individual and Hillary Clinton work together to take on Donald Trump. It will be interesting every day.

Featured Image Source: Aslan Media

About Grace Masback

Grace Masback, 17, aspires to give voice to the voiceless and holds the modest ambition of becoming the voice of Gen Z. Frustrated by the dearth of impactful platforms for teen journalists, she founded WANT, a news, sports, and entertainment website that aggregates the best in high school journalism from school newspapers and teen bloggers around the world (www.wantnewsforteens.com).

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