- Qualified to assume duties as President. Hopefully, this is a minimum requirement for all candidates. With Dan Quayle, I have my doubts.
- Help govern. Dick Cheney did nothing to help Bush win, but he has definitely been a major player in helping him to govern. This was likely a consideration when Clinton picked Gore as well.
- Reinforce your message. Al Gore probably best qualifies here: two Southern centrist (at the time) Democrats on the same ticket.
- Unite the Party. Both parties are made up of different factions. If one of the factions is upset at their candidate, the candidate can compensate by picking someone who represents that faction. This may have been part of Obama's calculation in picking someone who represents the blue-collar Democrats that supported Sen. Clinton in the primaries.
- Unite the Country. In 1864, after a long, bloody Civil War, Lincoln picked a Democrat to help unite the country. If McCain were to pick Joe Lieberman, his reasoning might be along those same lines.
- Help win a state. This worked in 1960 when Kennedy chose LBJ and won Texas.
- Help win a demographic. Pick a woman to capture female votes. Pick a Latino to capture Latino votes. Or, so the reasoning goes. Catholics have been an important swing vote, and Obama picked a Catholic. A coincidence?
- Compensate for a weakness. Obama's weakness is his lack of experience, especially on foreign policy. He picks a long serving Democrat with lots of foreign policy experience.
- To win the VP debate. Biden has a reputation as a great debater. This may have been part of the calculation as well.
Monday, August 25, 2008
9 Reasons for Selecting a VP
All the talk about Obama picking Joe Biden as his VP candidate started me thinking about the different reasons for choosing a VP. I went over this list with my American Political Parties class today and they helped me expand the list from 7 to 9 (the last two I hadn't thought of. Thanks class!)