The networks had barely finished handing Indiana – and thus the Republican nomination – to Donald Trump on Tuesday night before speculation began over which has-been politician, reality star, or Twitter meme would consent to run as the vice-presidential candidate on the ticket with this walking, talking, racist bottle of Sunny Delight.
What would it take to play second banana to The Donald for the next six months? If Trump was a conventional politician, I’d say someone who neutralizes potential criticisms by being strong in areas where Trump is perceived as weak. For example, since Trump has no relationship with anyone in Congress, it might behoove him to pick an experienced legislator, someone who currently serves or has served on Capitol Hill and is held in good standing by members of both parties, to help him pass his legislative agenda.
Trump is not a conventional politician, which means anyone from his buddy Vladimir Putin to the mouldering corpse of Cleon Skousen could be in play. At the same time, he’s not dumb. Dulled from years of living in a bubble surrounded by sycophants and yes men, sure. Nuttier than a Waldorf salad, definitely. But not dumb. He’ll want someone who will be content working behind the scenes and won’t question him closely, or at all. He’ll want someone who seems smart, but not as smart as Trump himself.
My guess is he’ll tap one of the opponents he vanquished in the primary, preferably the one he likes the least, so that person can spend the next six months with daily reminders that they are not quite as good as the guy who beat them. He could also reach for an established Republican to soothe the party’s anxieties about him. So here, in no particular order, is a semi-serious list of possibilities, with pros and cons for each.
Option #1: Ben Carson:
The good doctor has already announced he will head the committee that is vetting potential vice president picks for Trump. Which puts him in prime position to recommend himself. Hey, it worked for Dick Cheney!
Pros: Like Trump, believes in silly historical and scientific theories and won’t be stopped from sharing his ideas by something as trivial as evidence disproving them. Won’t mind spending four years doing traditional vice presidential duties like being ribbed in cabinet meetings and attending funerals of foreign dignitaries, mostly because the long overseas flights give him plenty of time for naps.
Cons: No legislative experience or relationships with members of Congress. Will cause an international incident when he falls asleep on camera at Queen Elizabeth’s funeral.
Option #2: Speaking of Dick Cheney… Dick Cheney
Sure, why not. He’s probably anxious to grab the title of “Lucifer in the flesh” back from Ted Cruz.
- Skilled bureaucrat and Washington insider.
- Experienced vice president.
- Would be happy staying in the background while Trump is out front giving speeches.
- I’d say his health, but he’s an ageless creature right out of a Lovecraft story. He’s never dying.
Option #3: Carly Fiorina
The only other candidate responsible for destroying more private-sector jobs than Trump. They’d be two peas in a lying, racist pod.
- Already has experience running as a vice presidential candidate.
- Not as skilled a liar as Donald Trump, so there is no danger of her outshining him in any way, except maybe singing creepy nursery rhymes.
- Being a woman, her presence can negate Hillary Clinton “playing the woman card” and help with his favorable among the female sex, which are so deep underwater you’d need Argo to find them. Or at least that’s what Trump and his advisers will believe, which is why I’m putting it in the “Pro” column.
- It will be hilarious when they find out they are wrong.
- Is Carly Fiorina
Option #4: Chris Christie
As an addendum to what I said above about Trump tapping a former rival, it has to be someone with enough self-loathing and who is desperate enough for power that he will put up with the ritual humiliations Trump will visit upon him. This knocks out Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush. Chris Christie, though, fits the bill.
- Such a bullying asshole that he is probably the only person short of a Central Asian dictator who could actually soften Trump’s image with voters.
- Could swing New Jersey and its 14 electoral votes to Trump simply because the state’s citizens will be so grateful for the chance to get rid of him.
- The “Mama bird feeding baby bird” comedy routine he does with Trump will entertain audiences at rallies.
- Can’t help Trump expand his appeal beyond the “loud asshole white guy” demographic, which he already pretty much cornered.
- A Jersey guy joining a New Yorker to run against another New Yorker will lead to months of insipid “The Bridge-and-Tunnel Election” headlines and people from the tri-state area reminding the rest of us ad nauseum that it is the center of the universe. YOU HAVE BROADWAY AND GOOD BAGELS, WE GET IT ALREADY.
Option #5: Newt Gingrich
An obvious possibility after the obsequious sucking up he’s been doing on television recently.
- Experienced Washington hand. And it might soothe some old GOP operators to think one of their kind will be right down the hall from a Trump-occupied Oval Office.
- Led the House of Representatives during Bill Clinton’s impeachment, so if Trump intends to make our 42nd president’s history a campaign issue, Gingrich lends the attacks a little legitimacy.
- If Trump goes trolling for big-time donor money for the general, Gingrich can call his old buddy (and Trump’s rival Las Vegas casino owner) Sheldon Adelson.
- Poking Gingrich in his belly to make him giggle will provide hours of entertainment for the White House staff.
- Not a lot of people want to spend this campaign reliving 1998, and with the Republicans’ congressional majorities at risk this election, reminding voters of how crazy they were the last time a Clinton was in the White House could backfire.
- Gingrich is such a power-hungry schemer that Trump would need to spend all his time watching his back.
- Trump would have to retrofit one of his planes in order to fit Gingrich’s giant head into it.
Option #6: A sweet potato with eyes drawn on it and wearing steel wool like a wig
- Can stand in at state dinners and other events when Trump decides he’d rather spend the evening admiring himself in a mirror.
- Is not Donald Trump.