Well, why not? One’s a pot-stirrer with occasional ties to professional wrestling, and the other is … the former governor of Minnesota. Those who don’t recall Jesse Ventura’s foray into statewide politics may not realize it, but this could be a match made in heaven, at least for Ventura. After endorsing Donald Trump while speaking with former Trump adviser Roger Stone yesterday on Ventura’s Off the Grid, Jesse got down to the real business:
“I decided to go rogue. I still support Donald Trump, very strongly, even though we have some disagreements on issues. On the No. 1 issue: cleaning up the special interest corruption of our government, I agree with him,” Stone said about his split. “People are ready for blunt talk. They don’t want these politicians that are scripted or that are handled, or practiced, or coached. This is why you were successful, in Minnesota,” Stone said.
Ventura asked him who he thought should be Trump’s vice president.
Dr. Ben Carson is the only non-career politician and a straight talker, Stone said, calling a Trump-Carson ticket “very strong.”
But Ventura didn’t want to be left out of the mix.
“That throws me out of the equation because I’m a former governor. Do you think Donald would ever think of asking me?” Ventura asked.
Ventura was only a politician in the most narrow sense of the word. Like Trump in this cycle, Jesse ran for governor more as a lark than anything else, leveraging the major-party status of Ross Perot’s Reform Party to boost his bid. And like Trump again, Ventura gained lots of attention for campaign antics and outrageous statements. Most people here dismissed him as a joke, but woke up the day after the election to find out that we had elected Ventura over Norm Coleman and Skip Humphrey.
Unfortunately, the antics didn’t stop that morning, either. He went on a book tour the first year and used state security personnel rather than hiring his own bodyguards. The same year, he refereed a WWF wrestling match. In 2001 Ventura became an NBC color announcer for the short-lived XFL, which was backed by Vince McMahon. With Ventura making a joke of Minnesota government, Republicans and Democrats (DFL in MN) managed to cut Ventura out of the biennial budget process. He left politics at the end of his only term, while the state eventually went on to elect Al Franken … twice.
So … will Trump consider Jesse as a running mate? In one wrestling encounter, Trump pledged to back Ventura if he got back into politics, but Ventura ended up passing on the 2008 presidential election. It seems doubtful that Trump would ever consider such a combination, mostly because it would tend to distract from Trump himself. If Trump wants this effort to be taken seriously, especially if he does end up running as an independent, he’d need a serious, no-nonsense, and most of all quiet running mate.
In fact, Trump might not appreciate this trip down Memory Lane. If anything, it undermines his main argument that a non-politician would improve matters.