As Hillary’s securing of the Democratic nomination seems more and more likely, whom will she pick as her running mate? Jacob Mitchells investigates.
On the night of Thursday the 28th of July 2016, the final night of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, it is almost certain that former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will be declared the Democratic Party’s nominee for the Presidency of the United States. Secretary Clinton has been widely considered the frontrunner for the nomination since her defeat in the 2008 primary campaign by outgoing President Barrack Obama.
Compared to her previous unsuccessful campaign, Secretary Clinton has faced candidates less competitive than those she stood against eight years ago. From the beginning of her second time on the trail, the Secretary has easily swept aside four of her five competitors. Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb, Governor of Rhode Island Lincoln Chafee, and Harvard academic Lawrence Lessig abandoned their campaigns following continuously low polling. The next candidate to fall before the Clinton juggernaut was the War of 1812 reenacting, with folk punk band-fronting Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley dropping out after receiving a mere 0.6 percent of votes in the Iowa Caucus.
Since Iowa, Secretary Clinton has been locked in an intense campaign with Senator Sanders. Key to this tension is Sanders’ bold refusal to accept money from power super PACs (Political Action Committees), which has seen his campaign draw the majority of its funding from small donations. Sanders’ staunch commitment not to be perceived as bowing to special interests, coupled with his declarations of a new hardline campaign against economic misconduct on Wall Street and ambitious plans to abolish tuition fees at public universities has seen him garner enormous support from youth voters (18-to 24-year-olds). However the millennial and collegiate vote are unlikely to provide the hundreds of delegates necessary for Sanders to usurp Clinton.
With Hillary Clinton clearly set to take the nomination come July, the question now turns to her running mate. Who are the most likely candidates to appear alongside Clinton on the 2016 Democratic ticket?
THE MAIN CONTENDERS
Julián Castro, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (Texas)
On the first night of the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, the wider American public was introduced to keynote speaker and charismatic mayor of San Antonio, Texas, Julián Castro. Castro’s selection for the prestigious position immediately drew comparison to now-President Barrack Obama’s selection for the role at the 2004 convention. Raised from the age of eight by his single mother and migrant grandmother Julián Castro and twin brother Joaquin (Representative for Texas’ 20th Electoral District), he attended Stanford University and earned a Juris Doctor from Harvard. Elected as mayor of San Antonio at the age of thirty-five in 2009 he was, at the time, the youngest ever mayor of America’s seventh largest city. In 2014, following Senate approval, Castro entered the Obama Cabinet as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Since his appointment Secretary Castro has been widely spoken of as one of the frontrunners for the coveted position of Clinton’s running mate. Although hailing from the delegate-rich Texas it is unlikely Castro’s presence on the ticket will swing the strongly Republican state to the Democrats. However his working-class Mexican-American heritage could draw significant support in states such as delegate-rich California and key swing states Nevada and Colorado. A solid campaigner with a strong stage presence, Julián Castro is one of the strongest options of Hillary Clinton’s running mate.
Tim Kaine, Senator (Virginia)
A constant figure in Virginia politics since 2003, Senator Kaine began his political career as mayor of Richmond before being elected Governor from the position of Lieutenant Governor in 2006. As the 2008 Democratic primary season drew to a close and Barrack Obama cemented his hold on the nomination, the then-Governor was ranked highly on lists for the second slot on the ticket, which eventually went to then-Senator Joe Biden of Delaware. In 2012 Tim Kaine won a highly-contested race for a Virginia Senate seat, propelling him onto a national stage. During his time in the Senate, Kaine has been a champion of bipartisanship; even co-sponsoring a bill with the seminal contemporary establishment Republican senator, John McCain. What Tim Kaine can offer Hillary Clinton is a charismatic, likeable campaigner who speaks fluent Spanish (which he learned as a missionary in Central America), which could assist in swaying swing states such as New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, and Florida, all of which have significant Spanish-speaking communities. As a relative moderate from a blue-collar background Senator Kaine has a real capacity to appeal to voters in the Rust Belt and swing states areas the Democrats will need to win in order to prevent a Republican from taking the White House.
Sherrod Brown, Senator (Ohio)
The Buckeye State, Ohio, has long been something of a bellwether in Presidential elections. Strongly blue-collar, Ohio elected gravelly-voiced, progressive Sherrod Brown to the Senate in 2006. Since arriving in Washington Senator Brown has established himself as one of the most vocal progressives in American politics. A strong supporter of marriage equality, Brown was a key critic of Ohio’s conservative stance on the issue prior to the landmark ruling of Obergefell v. Hodges established the legality of same-sex marriage under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Senator Brown has garnered significant popularity within his home state and throughout the Rust Belt for his strong support of public sector unions. With Brown on the ticket it is more than likely that his home state’s eighteen electoral votes would go to the Democrats, shoring up the vital support in the traditionally conservative Midwest. The ability of Sherrod Brown to unite both the liberal and working class wings of the Democratic Party makes him a competitive choice for Hillary Clinton’s running mate and his skill as a debater makes him more than a match for any Republican nominee.
Cory Booker, Senator (New Jersey)
Elected to a vacated New Jersey Senate seat in 2013, Cory Booker was already considered one of the state’s most prominent Democrats. Prior to his election to the Senate, Booker had served as mayor of Newark, New Jersey since 2006. Whilst serving as mayor Booker made national headlines when he saved one of his constituents from a burning building. Since arriving in the Senate Cory Booker has sought to bridge the partisan divide; a goal achieved through the co-sponsoring of bills with fellow Democrat (and strong Vice Presidential candidate if it weren’t for the Twelfth Amendment) Kirsten Gillibrand and libertarian Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky. Like Hillary Clinton, Senator Booker is a pragmatic liberal, continuously supporting progressive social causes but remaining pro-business. A skilled orator and debater Cory Booker would prove himself more than equal to Republican Vice Presidential nominees. Popular and high-profile, Cory Booker has what it takes to further energise the party’s base in support of Clinton.
Elizabeth Warren, Senator (Massachusetts)
Elizabeth Warren may go down in history alongside such giants as late New York Governor Mario Cuomo, former Colorado Senator Gary Hart, and late Senator Robert F. Kennedy as one of the great presidential nominees that never were. Warren was elected in 2013 to fill the Massachusetts Senate seat vacated by John Kerry upon his appointment to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. As a candidate for the Senate in 2012 Elizabeth Warren stood out as one of the most outstanding speakers at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. In that speech and since, Elizabeth Warren has pursued Wall Street malpractice with passion and vigour. With strong progressive credentials the former Harvard academic has emerged as one of the most widely known and admired senators in the United States. Many within the Democratic Party’s liberal base had hoped Senator Warren would run against Clinton in the primaries, but their dreams were dashed with Warren’s repeated declarations that she would not seek the Presidency. Despite her clear disinterest in the executive and almost unmatchable value as a legislator Elizabeth Warren has garnered significant buzz as a progressive liberal foil to the more pro-business Hillary Clinton in the 2016 race. As running mate, Senator Warren would ensure high turnout from the liberal base and be highly effective in rallying even the most devout Sanders supporters behind the Clinton ticket.
Words by Jacob Mitchells