Trump’s VP hunt

Trump was smart in the past about selecting his VP. Mike Pence was a great choice as Trump managed to consolidate his votes from the conservative and ultra-conservative blocs. Nowadays, he does not need that kind of VP as the conservatives certainly will vote Trump over the increasingly far-left and anti-Christian Joe Biden. Trump’s focus is to find a VP who can gain votes from independents and, if possible, from women and from minorities. There are a couple of loyalists and true MAGA women, Kristi Noem from South Dakota, and Elise Stefanik from New York, both in the house of representatives. The problem is that they are from states that don’t matter as swing states, and they have no impact on independents as they are hardcore Trump followers.

The fact that they are women and young could appeal, but likely not enough to be the right VP candidates for Trump. To solve the minority issue, some have argued that Tim Scott, the only black republican in the senate, would be a great addition. Trump does not need Scott to win South Carolina and frankly, he does not need a black VP as he will only attract a few more black votes. Blacks consistently vote democratic, regardless of who the candidate is, and there is no doubt that will happen again despite Biden’s unpopularity. Trump should be careful with Scott’s hardline stance on abortion as Scott has suggested he is in favor of a national abortion ban. This is not a good idea and should the abortion issue become one of the key election issues, the democrats will likely win. If you want to scare away moderate republicans, independents, and women, bring in Scott and his abortion rhetoric. Trump will not make that mistake.

Some argue that Vivek Ramaswamy would be the best of both worlds for Trump. Demographically, he is the opposite of an older white man as he is a young Indian American from Ohio. The biotech entrepreneur has little political experience and would not bring many new voters to the Trump camp. He is not the minority candidate Trump needs, and he would have marginal appeal to independents and even less to women. Other argue that Marco Rubio would be a great VP, but he is from Florida and would add little value and most of all he is dreadfully boring. No thank you.

Since leaving the democratic party in 2022, former U.S. representative Tulsi Gabbard has increasingly sided with the republicans. She would give the GOP ticket a sheen of bipartisanship and serve as a credible critic of her old party. Gabbard was the first Samoan-American to become a voting member of Congress. She did endorse Bernie Sanders in 2016 and backed Biden in 2020, so that would be an odd start from a Trump VP perspective. At this point, she has not endorsed Trump and was open to being Kennedy’s VP. Gabbard is a young, telegenic woman of color, and clearly an independent thinker. She could not be considered MAGA at all though.

Trump needs to win Ohio in 2024 and what could be a better VP candidate than J.D. Vance, the state’s freshman senator, who literally wrote a book on the MAGA base. Would he leave the senate though, Ohio might flip to a democrat and that could be a problem. Better for him to remain in the senate as he is not up for election until 2028.

If Trump wants to go the MAGA route, there is also Kari Lake, the former TV-news anchor turned Arizona gubernatorial candidate. She also won a straw poll for republican VP pick at CPAC. The sense is that would be a better senator for the republican to build long-term credibility and experience.

There are two potentially great VP choices for Trump and both are 42-year-old women. One is Katie Britt, the freshman senator from Alabama, is a mother of school-aged children and married to a former football player for the New England Patriots. She raised her national profile when she came out in favor of legal protections for IVF. She was selected to deliver the GOP response to Biden’s 2024 State of the Union address. She might not help Trump gain minority voters, but she likely would help him to get more women and to get more independents. Britt is also very likeable.

The top spot for Trump’s VP candidates goes to Tulsi Gabbard. She has turned away from an increasingly corrupt democratic party and would give GOP a boost from moderates, independents, and women and likely also from minorities. Some MAGA people would not be happy, but they will vote for Trump regardless. Gabbard would shake up the presidential election and make a Trump victory even more likely.

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