Bernie on Hillary veepstakes: It ain't me, babe

Call this the final flickers of the Feel The Bern fire. After Bernie Sanders got eliminated from the Democratic presidential nomination, his legions of followers wanted him to carry the torch all the way to the convention anyway, and to join the ticket as a way to maximize his influence. Sanders tells ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America that no one has even brought it up:

Sanders initially dodged during an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America” when asked if he’d be open to running as Clinton’s vice president to bring his supporters to the former secretary of State.

“I think what Secretary Clinton needs to do is get around the country and make the case which candidate is stronger for the middle class and working Americans,” he said.

When pressed, Sanders said the vice presidential issue “has not been raised yet.”

“I doubt that that will happen,” he said.

Sanders has good reason to doubt it. If he had seriously threatened to walk out and join the Green Party, perhaps Hillary would have had no choice but to offer the VP slot in order to keep his followers in the tent. When Sanders made clear that wasn’t going to happen, that freed up the nominee to think seriously about more effective choices for an understudy than a 74-year-old lifetime backbencher who’s never run anything in his life.

The decision for Hillary is much less fraught with peril than Donald Trump’s. Her party is already unifying on a normal arc. She can focus entirely on traditional considerations — geography, organization, ideological and demographic balance to broaden appeal, and so on. Thanks to a lack of success at the local and state levels, Hillary doesn’t have a very large pool of qualifying candidates, but she does have some choices. Tim Kaine is probably the best of them all — moderate from a swing state where a Democrat can appoint a temporary Senate replacement, former DNC chair with connections, and well-known on television.

There are others, but expect Hillary to play it safe with a solid if necessarily dull pick who will boost her attempts to make her candidacy look more serious than Trump’s. And that’s why she was never going to pick the 74-year-old back-benching socialist crank unless it was absolutely necessary.