The Phlip Side: Democratic Veepstakes

The selection of a running mate is one of the most important decisions that any major party nominee for president has in their run for The White House.  Sec. Clinton has many options to choose from, but the Veepstakes should be a two horse race with a clear frontrunner.  The first option, which isn’t likely to materialize, is current Vice-President (VP) Joe Biden.  VP Biden has proven that he can do the magnificently, and any rational Democrat would love to have VP Biden continue his life in public service.  Being the VP to two historic presidents, in addition to serving 36 years in the US Senate, would elevate his place in the history books.  Alas, I don’t see this first home run choice coming to fruition.

The other no-brainer selection that Sec. Clinton should, and may very well, make is Sen. Elizabeth Warren.  The other names being talked about all have attractive qualities, but Warren is the real deal and the complete package.  Sec. Castro is young and Latino, but he hasn’t proven that he is ready for prime-time and his inexperience would hinder any attacks against Donald Trump on that topic.  Sen. Sherrod Brown is my favorite member of the US Senate, and after I volunteered for his first US Senate race I dreamed of a Feingold-Brown ticket in 2008 (I even came up with the slogan: Midwest Values for America), but I get the impression that Brown would be much happier and much more effective in the US Senate than as VP.

The last, and probably stiffest, competition for Warren in the Veepstakes is Sen. Tim Kaine.  I don’t have any strong feelings about Sen. Kaine, and really don’t know much about him other than that his resume, and that is the problem.  Kaine doesn’t bring anything to the table.  If Clinton can’t win Virginia without Kaine, then she has real problems that will likely lead to a landslide defeat.  Also, there isn’t any proof that Kaine would even help in Virginia.  Mitt Romney lost Wisconsin with Paul Ryan on the ticket, and no one thinks that Ryan had any real impact in his home state four years ago.  Kaine does not inspire passion, or any other action or emotion as far as I can tell.  Sen. Kaine is probably a very nice guy who might do a fine job as VP, but he would be the equivalent of Al Gore picking Joe Lieberman back in 2000.

Sen. Warren is a charismatic, smart, tough, credible, and talented choice who is as honest as the day is long.  I have been pleasantly surprised with how effective she has been at attacking Donald Trump and getting under his skin, which is one of the main jobs any campaign would like the VP to fill so the candidate can stay above the fray.  Sen. Warren would all but guarantee that the Bernie Sanders holdouts would enthusiastically support a Clinton-Warren ticket, and enthusiasm does matter.  The more enthusiastic someone is, the more likely they are to give money, make phone calls, or knock on doors.  Enthusiasm is not the end all and be all, but it is the icing on the cake.

There is no box that Sen. Warren doesn’t check, and anyone who would vote against a ticket because it has two women on it aren’t voting for Hillary Clinton no matter who she chooses to run with as people vote for the top of the ticket.  Massachusetts would hold a special election very soon after Warren would leave, so her US Senate seat wouldn’t be in GOP hands for very long.  The fact that Sen. Warren has been so hard on Wall Street would be a huge asset. It would increase Clinton’s credibility on the subject, and any money she would lose from Wall Street would be more than made up for by dollars that Warren’s presence on the ticket would generate from small donations by her supporters.

The one quality that Clinton is looking for that Warren may lack is chemistry, but that shouldn’t matter.  Having chemistry with your VP is better than not having it, but history proves that it isn’t required.  JFK and LBJ couldn’t stand each other, but their combined eight years as president created the Great Society.  Lincoln purposely created a team of rivals in his cabinet, and they reunited our republic.  The best solutions come when people from different perspectives come together in honest and courteous discourse to tackle a problem.  Warren would bring a yin to Clinton’s yang on some issues, and she wouldn’t be afraid to share her perspective.  The fact that Sen. Warren is fearless in telling truth to power, and standing up to a president when you don’t agree with them isn’t common in an administration, is the cherry on top that should make Sen. Warren the next Vice-President of the United States!

(Author’s Note: Please feel free to send any comments, suggestions, column ideas, or hate mail to ThePhlipSideFL@gmail.com.)

Sean Phillippi is a Democratic strategist and consultant based in Broward County.  He has worked for campaigns on the federal, state, and local levels, including the Florida Democratic Party and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.  Sean is the Managing Member of TLE Analytics LLC, the political data and consulting firm he founded in 2012.

7 comments

  1. Bruce Seaman · · Reply

    You left out Cory Booker, SP. While Booker and Warren both come from Dem states, both states also have a habit of electing Republicans when they feel like it, noting that both states have GOP Govs right now. A follow-up question would be, how do states like MA and NJ do in special statewide elections? Knowing that party infrastructure is generally weak and delivering votes in a special election is crucial, what are these states’ records? Thanks for your reflections.

  2. JOE KREPS · · Reply

    I guess DWS is out of the running. LMAO

  3. A good assessment… Except I am not sure Warren will help Clinton with Progressives. Warren has lost respect with a lot of people who really care about getting money out of politics.

  4. Ron Baldwin · · Reply

    She is more valuable in the Senate.

    What was it that John Nance Garner said about being the Vice President?

  5. Maybe it would help us Democrats avoid seeing differing views in our own party as being another party. The pics are, of course, only of Sen. Warren supporting Sec. Clinton. I would think the whole vibration would change if Elizabeth were a second fiddle. Clinton-Gore was a good ticket as was Obama-Biden. Have you had any thoughts about Barbara Boxer? I like her and she has been very supportive of Sec.Clinton. It’s a two woman ticket as well. I know she is not running for a second term but doesn’t that make it a perfect fit?

    1. Mark Lynn · · Reply

      Boxer is too old, plus comes from a very safe Dem state. More importantly, Hillary’s brother is divorced from Boxer’s daughter. Too many family complications.

  6. Mark Lynn · · Reply

    If I could pick the Dem VP candidate it would be Ken Salazar of Colorado. Hispanic from a swing state. Seasoned pol as ex-U.S. Senator & Cabinet member. He would be a solid choice!

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