Assuming that all of the media’s carpet-measuring for Joe Biden is warranted, of course. That might not be the case at all, but it could be even less warranted if Team Biden keeps talking about bringing Republicans into Biden’s Cabinet. Politico reports that progressives are choking on reports that Biden has been vetting several prominent Republicans for key positions in his administration, a signal that might woo centrists but could lose Biden some base turnout:

Joe Biden’s transition team is vetting a handful of Republicans for potential Cabinet positions — despite doubts it will win him new support from the right and the risk it will enrage the left.

Reaching across the aisle to pick senior members of his administration could shore up Biden’s credentials as a unity candidate, a message he’s made a cornerstone of his campaign. Past presidents including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have all done the same. But that tradition died with President Donald Trump, and liberal Democrats are already warning that a Republican pick, even a moderate one, could sow distrust within the party before Biden even takes office.

“My primary concern is that he involves people in the Cabinet who push back against corporate power and support a massive economic stimulus and the broad provision of health care,” said David Segal, the executive director of Demand Progress, a liberal advocacy group. “Unfortunately, there are no prominent Republicans I know of who are on board with that agenda.”

The tradition might have died in 2017, but that’s not all the fault of Donald J. Trump. He ran as a populist against the establishment, and tried to avoid even traditional GOP picks when he could. Remember Rex Tillerson and Andy Puzder, among others, as well as Ben Carson? Let’s look at this from the other perspective too. Which Democrat would have agreed to serve in a Trump Cabinet? At the time, Democrats were busy attacking Trump’s win as illegitimate and demanding an impeachment and/or a removal via the 25th Amendment. On the latter point especially, having such hostile members on one’s Cabinet is a recipe for failure, if not outright disaster.

Maybe Biden should consider those 25th Amendment implications, too. Just sayin’, President Harris!

The list thus far is about what you’d guess:

Among the names being floated for possible Biden Cabinet posts are Meg Whitman, the CEO of Quibi and former CEO of eBay, and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, both of whom spoke at August’s Democratic National Convention. Massachusetts GOP Gov. Charlie Baker and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) have also been mentioned, as has former Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Penn.), who resigned from Congress in 2018 and became a lobbyist.

When asked for comment, a spokesperson for the Biden transition said only that the team is not making any personnel decisions before the Nov. 3 election, but stressed that “diversity of ideology and background is a core value of the transition.”

This makes some sense in a governing perspective. Promoting this plan now makes zero sense in a campaigning perspective … unless Team Biden worries that disaffected Republicans and independents might be coming home. The latest Gallup party-ID numbers suggest exactly that, at least in terms of self-identification. Polling has started to tighten too, which might either be a real trend among voters or an artifact of pollsters attempting to tighten their models for their final bets on the election.

By pushing this now, however, Biden risks losing the enthusiasm of Democrats’ progressive wing. They will absolutely howl if any or all of these Republicans end up on a Biden Cabinet, especially given their policy preferences. They’re mainly establishmentarian center-right on the economy, with a dash of liberal or libertarian leanings on social issues, who are all way out of step with the current Democratic Party. Everyone who contended even moderately seriously for the presidential nomination went to the left of all these candidates, including Joe Biden himself.

The only thing they all have in common is a shared desire to oust Donald Trump. That’s all the usefulness they have for each other, too. Promoting this arranged marriage when the bride and groom can’t even stand to be in the same room with each other might be a post-election necessity, but it’s a pre-election buzzkill for the Left, which already viewed Biden with suspicion. Team Biden must be worried about their appeal to the center in the last couple of weeks to be floating these trial balloons. And maybe they should be.