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BLIZZARD: What Trump Should Look for in a Running Mate

Republicans are focused on whom Donald Trump will select as his running mate. Trump has given some hints, stating loyalty and ideological agreement as critical determinants. And he has ruled out a few names, such as Vivek Ramaswamy.

As the Republican convention approaches, pundits will try to answer the question. Several names are mentioned as potential vice-presidential picks, but Trump should select someone young and without presidential aspirations.

Polling has indicated that most Americans do not want a Trump/Biden rematch, concerned about the ages of both candidates —  Biden 81, Trump 77. When many Americans are unhappy with the candidates, it suggests they want someone new and younger.

These concerns create an incentive for Trump to select a running mate who can appeal to a younger generation. The decline in youth planning to vote this cycle saw sharp declines among Republicans and independents. Selecting a younger running mate could potentially alleviate these voters’  concerns.

While there is a debate over the advantages a vice-presidential nominee brings to a ticket, there are examples of the vice-presidential candidate harming a campaign. For example, when John McCain selected firebrand Sarah Palin in 2008, he lost 2.1 million votes as a result, according to a Stanford study.

The key is to find a balance between image, experience and ideology. The 2016 election suggests that if the presidential nominee is seen as moderate, a more conservative running mate might be the answer. And vice versa if the nominee is more conservative.

There is another factor Trump should consider. He should select someone who will not run for president in 2028. The United States does not need a vice president waiting and planning for four years so they can have their shot at the White House. Trump’s potential vice president needs to fulfill the duties ascribed in the Constitution, advise the president, and represent the administration and the United States, without thinking of ways to position themselves for a potential White House run.

Has Trump mentioned any names that fit the criterion? Not really.

In February, Trump mentioned South Carolina senator Tim Scott and South Dakota governor Kristi Noem as potential running mates. Both are good answers to the age question, as Scott and Noem are in their 50s. Both also provide racial and gender diversity. However, Scott ran for the 2024 Republican nomination and has some presidential ambition. Noem, on the other hand, did not run for president, and she did say, “Why run if you can’t win.” This may indicate she has presidential ambition and, therefore, would not be the vice-presidential candidate.

Ben Carson is another name that has been mentioned. Carson was one of Trump’s Cabinet secretaries, and he would provide racial diversity for a party trying to appeal to a more diverse electorate. While Carson did run for president in 2016, he does not appear to have much presidential ambition anymore.

Carson is also soft-spoken, which would bring balance to Trump, who is more fiery. All of these factors would make him an ideal running mate. However, Carson is only a few years younger than Trump and probably would not tame the anxieties about Trump’s age.

For the sake of the Republican Party, Trump’s running mate should be there and leave when Trump’s time is up. The next vice president should be someone who doesn’t want the job and doesn’t want to run for president. We need new leaders, and the next president and vice president should clear the way for new, dynamic candidates to enter the arena.

This is what Republicans should look for in the vice-presidential nominee.

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