If I were a Democratic strategist, and I’m not, but if I were, I would submit a short list of Veep candidates for Senator Hillary Clinton, the presumptive nominee to consider.
My top choice would be Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. She knows how to get under Trump’s skin like no other. As one of Hillary’s most effective surrogates, Senator Warren has shown that she can stand up to the bully in the schoolyard with her sharp tongue and debating skills. And the historic significance of two women on the ticket cannot be overstated. What’s more, Elizabeth Warren is a progressive who Senator Bernie Sanders could support as a VP, and maybe has already suggested her name. Her views are aligned with his, especially with respect to Wall Street reform, income inequality, college debt, and the minimum wage. Bernie supporters would likely warm up to Clinton if he were to praise her for choosing Warren. Hillary needs Bernie’s supporters to win the general election. If Bernie supporters don’t vote for Secretary Clinton or don’t vote at all, it will be a close race. If some vote for Trump (as some have said they would do) he could win.
For Dems, the downside to E. Warren as VP would be the loss of a senate seat. The Republican Governor of Massachusetts would appoint a Republican to replace her. Also, Hillary doesn’t need Warren to deliver Massachusetts because the Bay State is solidly blue but it does have an interesting independent streak which might make the general election a little closer than it might have been against an establishment GOP candidate.
If not E. Warren than Julian Castro would be the next best choice. He is a young political star on the rise from Texas, former mayor of San Antonio and current Secretary of Housing. He would be the first Latino on a major ticket and might help to attract more Latino voters to support the ticket including some young activists who have been supporting Bernie Sanders. Texas is a solidly red state but Castro might help to tighten the race there.
One other to consider – Sen. Sherrod Brown. He’s a progressive type from the swing state of Ohio. Rumors have it that Sen. Sanders feels betrayed by Brown’s endorsement of Hillary, but it appears that Bernie was just blowing off steam. Bernie supporters might like his liberal positions and feel that he would push Clinton more to the left. She absolutely needs to win Ohio and Brown could make the difference. The downside is that he is another white male who does not reflect the diversity of the electorate.
Longshots: Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. The Governors of both states are Democrats which means they could appoint a Democrat to fill the vacant Senate seat. The idea of an all-woman ticket is appealing but the downside is that it may not be the best strategy for gaining male support, Trump’s best demographic On the other hand, it may be a clever strategy for gaining the support of GOP women who can’t stomach Trump.