Many names have been bandied about regarding Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential pick. Some say Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, because he’s the dove to Mrs. Clinton’s hawk and can deliver a purple state, others favor Julian Castro, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development, whose youthful ambition and Latino decent compliment the former Secretary of State.
I, personally, have always liked Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders. Because, let’s be honest: The Democratic Party is also amid its own identity crisis.
Mrs. Clinton represents the establishment wing — she’s paid her political dues, being the wife of former President Bill Clinton, and has served as a former New York senator and secretary of state. Many in her party think it’s her time, especially after having lost to then-newcomer Barack Obama in 2008.
As political insider, Mrs. Clinton knows whose backs to pat, whose debts to pay, and has waited her turn. Thus, the party looks poised to reward her.
She just doesn’t inspire anyone — unlike Mr. Sanders.
Mr. Sanders is the passionate political outsider who before this election cycle didn’t even identify as a Democrat. He’s captured the imagination of the youth, who overwhelmingly turn out in his favor. He rails against corruption in politics and relies on small-dollar donations to fund his campaign, consistently beating Mrs. Clinton as the candidate Democrats trust. He’s also won his party’s blue-collar white vote by targeting unfair trade deals — a key demographic for GOP presumed nominee Donald Trump.
Mr. Sanders is the perfect antidote to what Mrs. Clinton lacks — he inspires, motivates, is trustworthy, and has a base of Democratic support that’s so far eluded her. No, he can’t deliver a swing state, but, according to many Sanders supporters who I’ve interviewed, only him on the ticket with Mrs. Clinton can guarantee their vote. Otherwise they’re staying home come November or, even worse for Mrs. Clinton, voting for Mr. Trump.
Even though Mr. Sanders has been all but mathematically eliminated from winning the Democratic presidential nomination, he’s decided to stay in the race, angling for a Hail Mary and hoping to influence the Democratic Party’s platform.
And Tuesday, he indicated he’d be willing to take Mrs. Clinton’s VP slot, if offered.
“Right now, we are focused on the next five weeks of winning the Democratic nomination,” Mr. Sanders told CNN Tuesday. “If that does not happen, we are going to fight as hard as we can on the floor of the Democratic convention to make sure that we have a progressive platform that the American people will support. Then, after that, certainly Secretary Clinton and I can sit down and talk and see where we go from there.”
It’s doubtful Mrs. Clinton would offer the VP slot to Mr. Sanders given the lack of rapport between the two on the campaign trail. Also, by remaining in the race, Mr. Sanders’ team is antagonizing Mrs. Clinton, who needs to continue to spend money and time focusing on the primary. Mr. Sanders also seems a bit stubborn personally — he wouldn’t be the sort of VP who would cower to the president — or lavish praise on her — something Mrs. Clinton is not used to.
Still, with Mr. Sanders on the ticket, a defeat of Mr. Trump would feel almost like a forgone conclusion.