UPDATE: Sunday, May 15, 2016, 7:30 P.M. PT
Trump has finally responded to the leaked list and, not surprisingly, takes some umbrage with it.
The @washingtonpost report on potential VP candidates is wrong. Marco Rubio and most others mentioned are NOT under consideration.
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 16, 2016
It would make sense that Cruz and Rubio aren’t under consideration for the reason listed below. Still, it remains to be seen how Carson got it wrong. Maybe there’s a more updated list out there Carson isn’t privy to (he isn’t on the committee anymore, after all) or maybe he just got it wrong.
Or maybe Trump’s just fibbing since the list leaked. Either way, there are plenty more candidates that aren’t listed below but Carson’s list includes many of the most-circulated names.
Don’t think that just because we know who the general election candidates will likely be there’s not intrigue in the 2016 presidential race.
Thanks to Ben Carson, we now know some of the people presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump is vetting for his running mate. Carson, who for a timewas on Trump’s team to vet potential VP candidates, let slip who was on the list in the most Ben Carson way possible.
From the Washington Post:
He had just explained to the reporter riding along that he wanted no role in a Trump administration when news arrived ofa new pollnaming him as the best liked of a list of potential running mates.
Who else was on the list? he asked quietly, maintaining his usual inscrutable calm. The most favorably regarded contenders after himself, he was told, were John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin and Chris Christie.
Those are all people on our list, he said.
Anyway, none of those are necessarily surprises (if you don’t think there’s such a thing as permanently burning a political bridge), though there may be some Carson didn’t let slip about. But it’s a good place to start with speculation, so here’s a ranking of those five candidates, ranked from least likely to most likely.
5. Ted Cruz
Sure, Cruz kept it close enough for a little bit to make things interesting and Cruz matches Trump on the Despised-By-The-GOP-Establishment Scale. But let’s recount a few moments from the Trump versus Cruz Battle.
Trump called Cruz’s wife ugly.
Lyin’ Ted Cruz just used a picture of Melania from a G.Q. shoot in his ad. Be careful, Lyin’ Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife!
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2016
Trump suggested Cruz’s father helped assassinate JFK.
And Trump has a very unflattering nickname for Cruz that will be hard to walk back if Cruz were to be his running mate.
Never say never in politics, but the idea that, after all of this, Cruz would ever agree to be party to Trump’s run at the White House is delusional.
4. Marco Rubio
So Trump never called Rubio’s wife ugly or made crazy, baseless conspiracy theory accusations about Rubio’s father. But the two did have some pretty big battles during the bruising GOP primary which would leave many surprised by a Trump/Rubio team-up.
Granted, this isn’t quite as tough as Trump was on Cruz, but the ongoing battle between the two left things pretty bitter between Trump and Rubio.
Rubio has already said he wouldn’t consider the VP spot and Trump said, fine, you weren’t being considered anyway.
Carson’s slip confirms what we already suspected: There’s no such thing as “never” in a campaign but, still, given the exchanges between the two during the primary, a Rubio-as-VP pick is unlikely.
3. Sarah Palin
Oh, sure, we’ve heard this one before. And as much as Trump is trying to make up with the GOP establishment, said establishment would hate this pick and that would tickle Trump to no end.
Also, consider: Trump is having a very hard time convincing people that he is not a chauvinist, as many stories have claimed, most recently in the New York Times.
What more Trump way is there to refute those stories than by picking a woman as a running mate?
Palin has had eight years since her last attempt at the White House to set herself up as a folk hero of the Tea Party wing of the party, making appearances at CPAC and surfacing on right-wing television and radio every now and then just to take some potshots at President Obama.
On the stump for Trump, she’s easily slipped back into her role of hot fire ranting. Yet her ramblings will still seem downright Lincolnian by comparison if she runs alongside Trump.
But there are drawbacks. Palin didn’t do that great in her run as a VP pick, going rogue and helping to derail John McCain’s 2008 presidential bid. This doesn’t make her very popular with the aforementioned GOP establishment, which still has to repair its rift with Trump.
The betting house Bovada has Palin as a long-shot to be the VP pick. But, after all, Trump was a long shot himself just a year ago and look at him now.
There’s still a long way to go to get the Cleveland and even though conventional thinking indicates a less-controversial selection than Palin, who’s to say Trump won’t gamble on making Alaska’s Darling his running mate?
(Though, if it’s an experienced woman he wants as a running mate, South Carolina governor Nikki Haley makes more sense but logic doesn’t have much of a place in a presidential election.)
Trump’s already burned bridges and no matter what the meetings this week may have wrought, he doesn’t seem above burning more bridges and telling the GOP establishment to go to hell, picking Palin as his running mate, and pushing his party even farther to the right.
They do make a perfect match.
2. Chris “Reek” Christie
A perfect VP is neither seen nor heard unless the president wants him or her to be, does nothing but support the president in his or her endeavors and does not cause any waves at all for the Commander-in-Chief.
Joe Biden has been so beloved because he’s done the opposite the last eight years. But if Trump gets in, having a vice president who obeys his every whim will be very important to The Donald.
He’s already broken Christie’s spirit so there’s little conflict to come once the duo get to the White House.
1. John Kasich
Given his “aw, shucks, I’m a nice guy,” primary campaign, Kasich could be the perfect fit for Trump to appeal to moderate Republicans and to balance out the nominee’s fiery, controversial rhetoric.
Sure, Kasich joined forces with Ted Cruz in an attempt to bleed away delegates from Trump, but Kasich was never really a threat to Trump; when the Ohio governor finally dropped out, he still trailed Rubio in the delegate count despite Rubio having suspended his campaign well over a month before.
A Trump/Kasich ticket was floated as far back as January by The National Review, though, in fairness, so were a lot of combinations before the first primary had even happened. Still, the idea has much more merit today than it might have had back then.
Kasich’s “nice guy” act meant he didn’t do much in terms of attacking any of his opponents, including Trump. Maybe he realized being nice would make him a palatable running mate. Or maybe he thought he didn’t need to make references about penis size just to resonate with voters.
Either way, he comes out of the primary with most of his image untarnished in the GOP’s eyes and, as governor of the key state of Ohio, Trump could warm to Kasich as a running mate even more.
Kasich’s name has also been floated as a possible outside challenge to Trump, led by GOP figures like Mitt Romney but, given the hurdles that remain for such an attempt, it’s highly doubtful that such a play would be made.
But a play that does make sense is bringing Kasich and his high popularity value on board a Trump campaign that’s made enemies left and right throughout the primary. The Ohio governor said in Aprilthat he wouldn’t do it, but that was when he was still in the race.
It would also make the ticket an easier one for the GOP establishment to swallow as they try their best to come to terms with what’s happening inside their own party right now. And given that their party is currently splintering, duct-taping it together with Kasich may be the only way to salvage anything for 2016.
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