Regardless of how well Donald Trump did on Super Tuesday (and for that matter, how he fares in a handful of states today) the GOP primary isn’t really “over” just yet. But on the other side of the aisle, the Democrats seem much closer to having made their choice. For better or worse, and barring an indictment, they seem to be ready to go with Hillary Clinton. This brings up the inevitable question of who she will tag as her veep selection. At the Washington Post, Dana Milbank makes the case that there should only be one name on the list: Elizabeth Warren.
Democrats would be foolish to think this guarantees victory for Clinton in November, because, for all his faults, Trump has an advantage: He connects with Americans feeling economic anxiety. With his talk of China “killing us” on trade and Mexico “destroying us” on manufacturing jobs, he has the potential to best Clinton in an area that traditionally benefits Democrats: a perception that he cares about the problems of ordinary Americans.
This “empathy gap” propelled President Obama past Mitt Romney in 2012 and nearly allowed socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to topple Clinton in the primaries. If Clinton can’t fix the problem, it could doom her in November.
But there is, in this case, a silver bullet for Clinton: She can make Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) her running mate.
Though formal deliberations have yet to begin, the notion of a Clinton-Warren dream team has already been contemplated at Clinton’s campaign headquarters in Brooklyn. And there is likely to be more such talk, for several reasons.
Some of Milbank’s arguments make sense, at least in a dry, analytical way. Much of the base seems to feel snubbed by Warren’s refusal to jump into the race, with quite a few expressing the feeling that the Massachusetts senator was the candidate they really wanted in the first place. She lines up a lot better with the campaign themes expressed by Bernie Sanders, so there might be a bit of a unification factor in play.
Not all of the reasons offered are nearly as solid, though. Milbank argues that a two woman ticket would electrify Democrats and widen the gender gap in favor of their party. That seems like nonsense to me. Just having a woman at the top of the ticket does the job and a second female doesn’t buy you much more. Also, the VP slot is correctly seen as something of a consolation prize. It could just as easily be seen as a slight by Warren’s supporters.
But what all of these arguments overlook is the radicalized, Social Justice Warrior element in the Democrats’ base this year. Are you really going to turn young and minority voters out in record numbers (which Clinton will need if she has any hope of winning) by topping the ticket with a 68 year old white woman and adding in another elderly white woman beside her? She never looks it to me, but Warren is actually 66 herself. The Democrats work on a closely measured, pigeonhole system of demographics and they need to put the right faces on the campaign posters. This also rules out the other unification choice of tapping Bernie Sanders, who is even older and arguably whiter.
If Clinton can’t come up with a black veep she needs to at least nominate a Hispanic running mate. That’s why so many people have been anticipating that she will pick one of the Castro brothers. Clinton doesn’t need a running mate who will attract the Occupy Wall Street crowd this year… she needs to win over Black Lives Matter. She hasn’t done it herself and Warren certainly won’t fill the bill either.