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If Donald Trump’s search for a running mate was a reality TV show, it would be called, as Jimmy Fallon so eloquently put it, Who will be the Heir to the Hair?
Trump recently narrowed his veep search list down to “five or six” candidates, although he has said that he won’t make a final decision until the Republican National Convention in July. There has been much speculation about exactly who the “lucky” contenders are. He’s made billions, but can he find the right candidate to be his vice president?
Let’s meet our contenders:
So far we’ve heard VP rumors of former candidates Marco Rubio, John Kasich and Ted Cruz. We’ll call them “Team Wall.” Next up we have “Team Tremendous,” which consists of Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich – both former presidential candidates themselves. Then we have “Team Yuge” made up of Sarah Palin and Ben Carson. And lastly, “Team Hair” will be made up of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.
Now let’s take a look at Trump’s desired qualities in a vice president; the self-identified business legend doesn’t need another businessman on the Republican ticket; he told the Associated Press that he’s “moving aggressively to identify a running mate with deep political experience.” He wants someone who can “help him pass legislation as president.” Trump’s choice for VP could turn out to be crucial for voters who don’t trust his lack of political experience. Furthermore, choosing a running mate who is part of the establishment could send voters the message that, in fact, he is willing to work with the establishment that he’s tirelessly berated. Presidential candidates have historically used their running mates to address their shortcomings, or to appeal to various demographics where they might fall short. Our contenders clearly have a big job in front of them.
Now let’s evaluate our teams:
Unfortunately we’re going to have to eliminate Team Hair right off the bat, as Trump has stated that Nikki Haley was never even under consideration in the first place, despite rumors indicating the opposite. And, well, Ms. Brewer eliminated herself when she told Trump: “I don’t necessarily think that you need to pick a woman. This woman thing has gotten way out of control.”
Moving along to Team Yuge, which should perhaps be renamed “Team Distraction;” Ben Carson stated that he doesn’t want to be vice president because he “doesn’t want to be a distraction.” Carson’s teammate Sarah Palin was quoted in saying, “I want to help and not hurt and I am such a realist that I realize there are a whole lot of people out there who would say, ‘Anybody but Palin.’ I wouldn’t want to be a burden on the ticket. And I recognize that in many, many eyes I would be that burden.” She certainly gets some credit for being realistic, but I’m sorry Team Yuge, you didn’t make the cut either.
Next let’s take a look at Team Wall, composed of Mr. Trump’s former rival candidates. Marco Rubio, who Trump dreamed could help him attract Hispanic voters, stated that he would not accept an offer to be the running mate and called Mr. Trump a “con artist whose business empire was built on inherited money and foreign labor.” Unfortunately, vocalizing a lack of desire to be Heir to the Hair and insulting Mr. Trump is grounds for automatic disqualification. Ted Cruz has declined to even endorse Trump as the Republican nominee – another automatic disqualification. And last but not least for Team Wall is John Kasich, who stated in February that he would “be the worst vice president anybody could ever imagine.” To add the cherry on top, when asked about a potential VP bid, Kasich spokesman, Chris Schrimpf, said, “Never. No chance.” As you guessed, Team Wall will not make it to the next round either.
The prospects for vice president aren’t looking good so far, but Team Tremendous may bring some hope. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is already on a roll – he has been the most enthusiastic high-profile endorser of the Trump campaign since he suspended his own campaign earlier in the year. Trump even appointed Christie to lead his transition team, stating that “Governor Christie is an extremely knowledgeable and loyal person with the tools and resources to put together an unparalleled Transition Team.” Although Trump has asserted that his appointment of Christie to lead the transition team certainly does not preclude him from being selected as VP, there has been speculation, still, about whether he could realistically do both grueling jobs. Max Stier, the chairman of the Partnership for Public Service doesn’t think so:
“If Christie is really going to run the transition process, he can’t effectively be active in the campaign or be himself a candidate because it’s a full-time job.”
Regardless, we can’t quite rule out Chris Christie yet.
Our last contender, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, ran for president in 2012 and certainly meets one of Trump’s main requirements for the job; he could help him “steer legislation through Congress.” He’s also dealt with the Clintons before, leading the call in Bill Clinton’s impeachment. Like Christie, Gingrich has been praising Trump on social media and condemning other politicians for not doing the same for some time now. He’s even been serving as an informal adviser to the Trump campaign with his policy expertise. Trump himself has stated that “there are several approaches that can be used to selecting a vice president: pick someone who compensates for a candidate’s weaknesses or echos a strength. Gingrich might do both.”
On the flip side, Trump needs an establishment VP to show the voters he can indeed work with the Republican party in a civil manner. Like Trump, Gingrich has also been seen as somewhat of an anti-establishment politician himself, with his wacky political ideas and history of bashing the establishment.
Regrettably for Mr. Trump, a large portion of his desired candidates for vice president have failed to return his enthusiasm for the Trump campaign. And so, as it stands, the fierce competition has come down to Newt Gingrich and Chris Christie. To see the members of Team Tremendous battle it out against each other for the chance to be the next vice president, stay tuned for the next episode of Who will be the Heir to the Hair?
Photo courtesy of The Rafu Shimpo