Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton has joked that she fleetingly considered her husband, former President Bill Clinton, as her running mate, and declared, “I don’t think history is done” with Vice President Joseph Biden after Biden recently ruled out another bid for the presidency.
If and when she chooses a Democratic vice presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton will have her work cut out for her. Dogged by continued controversy over her use of personal emails during her four years as President Obama’s secretary of state, voter distrust of her honesty and integrity, and doubts about how well she connects with average Americans, selecting the right running mate will be one of Clinton’s most important decisions.
Of course, there are many factors for Clinton and her advisers to take into account in selecting her Number 2. Finding someone who provides some regional balance to the ticket could be vital to Clinton in amassing a majority in the Electoral College. Providing ethnic diversity to her ticket might also prove highly useful to Clinton in solidifying support among Hispanics and other minorities.
Clinton is attempting to shatter another political glass ceiling by becoming the first female president in U.S. history. Picking another woman to run on her ticket – even a big name like Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a rock star among liberals — might prove to be political overreach.
And finding someone who projects youth and vigor would unquestionably be a plus for a woman who – if elected – would be 69 years old by the time she takes the oath of office. Former President Ronald Reagan was the same age when he was sworn in for this first term in 1981.
Clinton has repeatedly stressed that the last thing she intends to do is offer up her candidacy as “the third term” of her husband or President Obama. “The records of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, of cleaning up the messes they inherited, is something that speaks to Democratic values,” Clinton said in New Hampshire earlier this year. “I’m going to work as hard as I can to persuade people to vote for me because I think I have the right ideas and an understanding about how to get things done.”
While that concern might end up torpedoing the vice presidential prospects of any Democrat deemed too close to her husband or the Obama administration (think Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro or Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack), their strengths and voter appeal might nonetheless override any concerns about their proximity to Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.