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Trump Opens Up About New VP Option

Who is Trump leaning towards for his vice presidential pick?

by | Jun 15, 2024 | Articles, Opinion, Politics

With the Republican National Convention coming up this July, former President Donald Trump is one step closer to making his choice for vice-president. Team Trump has thus far hinted at J.D. Vance, Tim Scott, Tom Cotton, and Elise Stefanik as top contenders, but now a new man has also entered the arena. Trump announced a “great meeting” with Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin on Thursday, June 13, and confirmed that Youngkin was someone he would “consider” for the coveted running mate position.

Why Youngkin Could Be the Next Trump VP

There are three primary reasons for Trump to consider Youngkin. First, he’s a skilled and capable politician, unseating former Democratic governor and Clinton insider Terry McAuliffe in the 2021 general election in a victory that rallied hopes for the right across the country. Youngkin has shown he can win when the chips are down and Republicans are under attack at the national level.

Second, Trump got trounced by Biden in Virginia in 2020, losing by ten points. Biden and Trump are currently tied in aggregate polling there at 48% apiece, so it could easily swing either way. Partnering up with Youngkin could give Trump a much-needed boost in Virginia and access to its 13 valuable Electoral College votes. This is an important consideration for Team Trump to increase his odds of winning this year’s election, particularly as Biden experiences a poll plunge in some blue states.

Third, Youngkin would be resistant to potential Democratic efforts to paint Trump’s VP as out of touch or fringe. This appeal connects with Trump’s frequent references to “the look” and his fondness for officials who appear to be out of “central casting.”

As The Wall Street Journal opined in a recent editorial:

“A strong and logical choice would be Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who has shown he can win and govern in a swing state. He’s smart, likable and a conservative who is impossible for the left to portray as crazy.”

As Trump and his campaign inch closer to choosing who will share the ticket, there are also strong selling points for the other contenders. Each comes with a unique set of potential benefits and liabilities for Trump. Although he has claimed to have a “pretty good idea” of who he’ll pick, the former president is well-known for surprises and shock announcements, and this decision could still go in any direction.

Rating Trump’s VP Options

Among those approached by the Trump campaign to discuss the VP spot are junior Senator J.D. Vance of Ohio, Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik of New York, and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum. Former cabinet member Ben Carson has also reportedly been approached on the matter. Longshots include everyone from Texas Governor Greg Abbott to Tucker Carlson and former Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

Based on the Trump campaign’s outreach, Senate candidate Kari Lake of Arizona and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem don’t seem to be in the running, nor are Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley or Vivek Ramaswamy. Florida Senator Marco Rubio denies being approached about Trump’s VP spot but said he would step up if asked.

In terms of rating the choices in front of Trump, the calculus points towards Vance or Cotton. Trump has little chance of flipping Stefanik’s stomping grounds of New York, and Scott went against Trump in 2020 by certifying election results in spite of Trump’s complaints. Rubio and DeSantis are both from Florida, Trump’s current home state, where he likely won’t need much of a boost and the 12th Amendment could block them from being on the same ticket. As for Doug Burgum, he simply lacks the national name recognition Trump needs in a running mate. At this point, the VP spot could go to just about anybody, but the smart money would be on somebody like Youngkin or Vance who represent a youthful, populist direction for the future of the GOP and the country.

As political analyst William A. Galston of the Brookings Institution recently noted:

“If Donald Trump chose to go down this road, he would select someone who represents the transformation of the Republican Party that he has sparked – Ohio Sen. J. D. Vance, for example. A pick along these lines would also minimize conflict within his administration and give someone who shares his vision a running start for the 2028 presidential nomination.”

Trump says he will announce his VP choice at the convention in Milwaukee between July 15 and 18. In 2016, he revealed his running mate, Mike Pence, three days before the GOP convention. Although Youngkin is still not considered a frontrunner for the job, his inclusion is sure to do the one thing Trump demands of his reality show-style campaign: Keep everyone on their toes.

Read More From Paul R. Brian

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