Washington, United States | AFP |
Hillary Clinton will be anointed her party’s presidential nominee at the Democratic National Convention next week. But she still has a major announcement to make before the event: her choice of running mate.
Clinton is expected to reveal her vice presidential pick by Saturday, when she campaigns in Florida.
Newly-nominated Republican Donald Trump, who will square off with Clinton in November’s general election, picked Mike Pence as his running mate, going with experience, steadiness, and rock-solid conservative credentials to balance out Trump’s reputation as an antagonistic political outsider.
With Clinton rich in experience — she was President Barack Obama’s first secretary of state, a two-term senator from New York, and a first lady — could the 68-year-old opt for star power over substance?
“I am afflicted with the responsibility gene,” Clinton told CBS this week, and the person she picks must be experienced enough to be able to “literally get up one day and be the president of the United States.”
Here are the running-mates-in-waiting believed to be on her shortlist:
Tim Kaine, 58
The US senator from Virginia is mentioned first in virtually every veepstakes discussion because he ticks so many boxes: strong foreign policy experience (he is on the armed services and foreign relations committees); loyal lawmaker from a battleground state; Spanish-speaker.
But perhaps above all, he is a safe pick, a southern white man who can put independent male voters at ease.
Kaine is aware that he lacks high wattage, like that exuded by Republican VP pick Sarah Palin in 2008. “I am boring,” he recently admitted.
Another downside is that choosing Kaine might jeopardize his Senate seat.
Tom Vilsack, 65
Vilsack, secretary of agriculture since 2009, has known the Clintons for decades, and the candidate is said to have deep trust in him.
A native of Pittsburgh, he could help carry the crucial swing state of Pennsylvania. And as a former two-term governor of Iowa, Vilsack will be in prime position to woo rural American voters.
He has shown he could be a willing attack dog on the ticket, too.
“Donald Trump is sort of to politics what Bernie Madoff was to investment,” he told NBC News recently, speaking of the disgraced financier.
“He is selling something that people don’t fully understand and appreciate what it actually means.”
Tom Perez, 54
One of the true liberals on the shortlist, Labor Secretary Perez could rally core Democrats and heal the rift with leftwing supporters of Clinton’s former nomination rival Bernie Sanders.
As a Latino in the cabinet, he could cement the increasingly important Hispanic vote. And his legal experience — he has served as a civil rights lawyer and federal prosecutor — would bring strong domestic and judicial expertise to the ticket.
The wonky progressive is little known outside of the Washington Beltway, but he has stumped with Clinton in several states during the campaign.
James Stavridis, 61
National security has surged as a critical issue in the 2016 presidential campaign, as Clinton and Trump clash over how to address the terrorism threat.
Enter Stavridis, a retired four-star US Navy admiral who served as NATO’s allied commander, and worked closely with Clinton when she was top diplomat.
He could provide a strong argument against Trump’s claim that Democrats are “weak” when it comes to fighting terrorism.
Elizabeth Warren, 67The feisty Massachusetts senator is a liberal superstar who can help transfer the allegiance of Bernie Sanders fans to his party rival Clinton.
Warren has developed a reputation for ripping into Trump at every opportunity.
But it remains an open question whether two women on the ticket would turn off some male voters.