Sign up for the Prompt 2024 newsletter for opinions on the biggest questions in politicsArrowRight

But barring some wild event that ejects President Biden or former president Donald Trump from their respective primary contests, the general election is here, and it’s worth considering who will be the new Mike Pence. So I asked my Post Opinions colleagues Kathleen Parker and Jim Geraghty: How could Trump’s VP pick help him in November?

💬 💬 💬

Alexi McCammond: Do you guys think Donald Trump could pick *anyone* that would help broaden his appeal beyond the MAGA base, similar to how Mike Pence helped him consolidate the Republican Party in 2016?

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Kathleen Parker: I think he’ll go with someone of color, and it might be Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), based on the senator’s sudden interest in marriage. Talk about a shotgun wedding! LOL. Nikki Haley would have been his best pick — color and female — but don’t think that’s gonna happen.

Jim Geraghty: Scott also would offer a temperamentally different president and/or guy a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Alexi: Also: Scott is not someone who would overshadow Trump, and remaining the main character is, of course, Trump’s chief concern.

Kathleen: Scott is a Black Pence, but his appeal among independents is limited. His frequent scriptural references, though they play well in the South, are somewhat off-putting in the secular world in which we live.

Alexi: He does love to lean in to a pastor vibe, and you’re right that that’s not what most people want (Trump included tbh). Separately, I’ll never get over J.D. Vance’s evolution from celebrated author of the book “Hillbilly Elegy” to MAGA fanboy.

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Kathleen: I’m with you there. One of those personas isn’t real.

Alexi: What type of person should Trump pick to balance the ticket and reassure voters who are skeptical about giving him a second term?

Jim: To broaden his appeal, Trump needs the most un-Trumpy option available, which is the kind of decision Trump is extremely unlikely to prefer. But Trump would need someone stable, reassuring, safe, predictable, interested in the details of policy and preferably a generation younger.

“Less erratic than Trump” is a really low bar to clear.

Kathleen: Trump needs (requires) only loyalty. He doesn’t give a rip about any of the usual VP norms.

Jim: Almost any Republican senator would do; I know my fellow Post columnist Hugh Hewitt is touting Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa. Don’t forget: Last year, Trump said he likes “the concept” of a female running mate.

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Alexi: TOM COTTON 👀 Send in the troops, boys! Wouldn’t a woman be his smartest choice? Especially in post-Roe v. Wade era and going up against a ticket with a female VP.

Kathleen: Ernst would be a reliable pick: a loyal, female Midwesterner. And, if you’ll recall her campaign pitch from a few years ago, she doesn’t mind neutering an opponent if necessary. She could get away with seeming to rein in Trump’s erratic behavior — and he could pretend to like women.

Jim: I feel like Ernst has a seriousness that the Elise Stefaniks, Katie Britts, Kari Lakes and Kristi Noems don’t have.

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Alexi: Before we say goodbye, I’d love to know the one VP pick (realistic or not) who would make you consider voting for Trump in November.

Kathleen: She/he/they doesn’t/don’t exist.

Jim: Never Trump means never. I will vote for the libertarian or whomever No Labels puts up. With that said, there are Trump VP possibilities that could have me hoping for a heart attack if he’s elected. Honestly, anybody who seems sane, non-geriatric and right of center is my apparently unreasonable expectation of our next president.

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🙅🏽‍♀️ 🙅🏽‍♀️ 🙅🏽‍♀️

The next word

For as much as Republicans love to decry so-called identity politics, the Post’s Monica Hesse wrote that Trump’s focus on a potential female VP proves otherwise. “It’s not hard to guess why Republicans would suggest this. Trump has always polled better among men than women. Since leaving office, he’s been found legally liable for sexually abusing and then defaming E. Jean Carroll, which cannot have helped his standing among female voters,” Hesse pointed out.

Just look at how Trump has operated in the past: In 2016, the Post’s Philip Rucker and Karen Tumulty reported on his “government casting call” and “the look” that he was seeking in the men and women who would fill out his administration.

“Trump believes that those who aspire to the most visible spots in his administration should not just be able to do the job, but also look the part. Given Trump’s own background as a master brander and showman who ran beauty pageants as a sideline, it was probably inevitable that he would be looking beyond their résumés for a certain aesthetic in his supporting players,” they wrote.

Advertisement

In 2018, journalists David Corn and Michael Isikoff wrote a book that included reporting about Trump’s time running the Miss Universe contest, where he was said to have a bias against those who weren’t White. “He often thought a woman was too ethnic or too dark-skinned,” a pageant staffer told them for the book, “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story Of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump.” Charming.

🖥️ 🖥️ 🖥️

r/Politics

Users on the subreddit r/TwoXChromosomes discussed immigration reform and the recent Laken Riley Act through the lens of being a woman in a country with many violent men. It’s an important perspective on how politicizing crimes committed by migrants often misses the real issue:

“He didn’t kill her because he was undocumented,” one user posted of Jose Ibarra, the migrant charged in the murder of Riley, a 22-year-old Georgia nursing student. “She is just a woman killed, [and] he is undocumented. Men kill women.”

This comment, from a woman who was attacked while on a run in 2007, is also worthy of your time.

🧠 🧠 🧠

Brain dump

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Yes, it’s only March and this newsletter is about the veepstakes, so maybe Margaret Hartmann from New York magazine is right that this is a sign that I have an “unhealthy addiction to political drama.”

But barring some wild event that ejects President Biden or former president Donald Trump from their respective primary contests, the general election is here, and it’s worth considering who will be the new Mike Pence. So I asked my Post Opinions colleagues Kathleen Parker and Jim Geraghty: How could Trump’s VP pick help him in November?

Alexi McCammond: Do you guys think Donald Trump could pick *anyone* that would help broaden his appeal beyond the MAGA base, similar to how Mike Pence helped him consolidate the Republican Party in 2016?

Kathleen Parker: I think he’ll go with someone of color, and it might be Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), based on the senator’s sudden interest in marriage. Talk about a shotgun wedding! LOL. Nikki Haley would have been his best pick — color and female — but don’t think that’s gonna happen.

Jim Geraghty: Scott also would offer a temperamentally different president and/or guy a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Alexi: Also: Scott is not someone who would overshadow Trump, and remaining the main character is, of course, Trump’s chief concern.

Kathleen: Scott is a Black Pence, but his appeal among independents is limited. His frequent scriptural references, though they play well in the South, are somewhat off-putting in the secular world in which we live.

Alexi: He does love to lean in to a pastor vibe, and you’re right that that’s not what most people want (Trump included tbh). Separately, I’ll never get over J.D. Vance’s evolution from celebrated author of the book “Hillbilly Elegy” to MAGA fanboy.

Kathleen: I’m with you there. One of those personas isn’t real.

Alexi: What type of person should Trump pick to balance the ticket and reassure voters who are skeptical about giving him a second term?

Jim: To broaden his appeal, Trump needs the most un-Trumpy option available, which is the kind of decision Trump is extremely unlikely to prefer. But Trump would need someone stable, reassuring, safe, predictable, interested in the details of policy and preferably a generation younger.

“Less erratic than Trump” is a really low bar to clear.

Kathleen: Trump needs (requires) only loyalty. He doesn’t give a rip about any of the usual VP norms.

Jim: Almost any Republican senator would do; I know my fellow Post columnist Hugh Hewitt is touting Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa. Don’t forget: Last year, Trump said he likes “the concept” of a female running mate.

Alexi: TOM COTTON 👀 Send in the troops, boys! Wouldn’t a woman be his smartest choice? Especially in post-Roe v. Wade era and going up against a ticket with a female VP.

Kathleen: Ernst would be a reliable pick: a loyal, female Midwesterner. And, if you’ll recall her campaign pitch from a few years ago, she doesn’t mind neutering an opponent if necessary. She could get away with seeming to rein in Trump’s erratic behavior — and he could pretend to like women.

Jim: I feel like Ernst has a seriousness that the Elise Stefaniks, Katie Britts, Kari Lakes and Kristi Noems don’t have.

Alexi: Before we say goodbye, I’d love to know the one VP pick (realistic or not) who would make you consider voting for Trump in November.

Kathleen: She/he/they doesn’t/don’t exist.

Jim: Never Trump means never. I will vote for the libertarian or whomever No Labels puts up. With that said, there are Trump VP possibilities that could have me hoping for a heart attack if he’s elected. Honestly, anybody who seems sane, non-geriatric and right of center is my apparently unreasonable expectation of our next president.

For as much as Republicans love to decry so-called identity politics, the Post’s Monica Hesse wrote that Trump’s focus on a potential female VP proves otherwise. “It’s not hard to guess why Republicans would suggest this. Trump has always polled better among men than women. Since leaving office, he’s been found legally liable for sexually abusing and then defaming E. Jean Carroll, which cannot have helped his standing among female voters,” Hesse pointed out.

Just look at how Trump has operated in the past: In 2016, the Post’s Philip Rucker and Karen Tumulty reported on his “government casting call” and “the look” that he was seeking in the men and women who would fill out his administration.

“Trump believes that those who aspire to the most visible spots in his administration should not just be able to do the job, but also look the part. Given Trump’s own background as a master brander and showman who ran beauty pageants as a sideline, it was probably inevitable that he would be looking beyond their résumés for a certain aesthetic in his supporting players,” they wrote.

In 2018, journalists David Corn and Michael Isikoff wrote a book that included reporting about Trump’s time running the Miss Universe contest, where he was said to have a bias against those who weren’t White. “He often thought a woman was too ethnic or too dark-skinned,” a pageant staffer told them for the book, “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story Of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump.” Charming.

Users on the subreddit r/TwoXChromosomes discussed immigration reform and the recent Laken Riley Act through the lens of being a woman in a country with many violent men. It’s an important perspective on how politicizing crimes committed by migrants often misses the real issue:

“He didn’t kill her because he was undocumented,” one user posted of Jose Ibarra, the migrant charged in the murder of Riley, a 22-year-old Georgia nursing student. “She is just a woman killed, [and] he is undocumented. Men kill women.”

This comment, from a woman who was attacked while on a run in 2007, is also worthy of your time.

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Sign up for the Prompt 2024 newsletter for opinions on the biggest questions in politicsArrowRight

But barring some wild event that ejects President Biden or former president Donald Trump from their respective primary contests, the general election is here, and it’s worth considering who will be the new Mike Pence. So I asked my Post Opinions colleagues Kathleen Parker and Jim Geraghty: How could Trump’s VP pick help him in November?

💬 💬 💬

Alexi McCammond: Do you guys think Donald Trump could pick *anyone* that would help broaden his appeal beyond the MAGA base, similar to how Mike Pence helped him consolidate the Republican Party in 2016?

Advertisement

Kathleen Parker: I think he’ll go with someone of color, and it might be Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), based on the senator’s sudden interest in marriage. Talk about a shotgun wedding! LOL. Nikki Haley would have been his best pick — color and female — but don’t think that’s gonna happen.

Jim Geraghty: Scott also would offer a temperamentally different president and/or guy a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Alexi: Also: Scott is not someone who would overshadow Trump, and remaining the main character is, of course, Trump’s chief concern.

Kathleen: Scott is a Black Pence, but his appeal among independents is limited. His frequent scriptural references, though they play well in the South, are somewhat off-putting in the secular world in which we live.

Alexi: He does love to lean in to a pastor vibe, and you’re right that that’s not what most people want (Trump included tbh). Separately, I’ll never get over J.D. Vance’s evolution from celebrated author of the book “Hillbilly Elegy” to MAGA fanboy.

Advertisement

Kathleen: I’m with you there. One of those personas isn’t real.

Alexi: What type of person should Trump pick to balance the ticket and reassure voters who are skeptical about giving him a second term?

Jim: To broaden his appeal, Trump needs the most un-Trumpy option available, which is the kind of decision Trump is extremely unlikely to prefer. But Trump would need someone stable, reassuring, safe, predictable, interested in the details of policy and preferably a generation younger.

“Less erratic than Trump” is a really low bar to clear.

Kathleen: Trump needs (requires) only loyalty. He doesn’t give a rip about any of the usual VP norms.

Jim: Almost any Republican senator would do; I know my fellow Post columnist Hugh Hewitt is touting Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa. Don’t forget: Last year, Trump said he likes “the concept” of a female running mate.

Advertisement

Alexi: TOM COTTON 👀 Send in the troops, boys! Wouldn’t a woman be his smartest choice? Especially in post-Roe v. Wade era and going up against a ticket with a female VP.

Kathleen: Ernst would be a reliable pick: a loyal, female Midwesterner. And, if you’ll recall her campaign pitch from a few years ago, she doesn’t mind neutering an opponent if necessary. She could get away with seeming to rein in Trump’s........

© Washington Post


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