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Trump's Short List for Veep Is Full of People He Would Never Pick

Donald Trump loves to keep people guessing. It keeps him in the news. By not revealing his choice for running mate, he generates hundreds of news stories about something other than the civil lawsuits he has lost and his pending criminal cases. Now he is at it again. On Tuesday on Fox News, Laura Ingraham named six people and asked if all were on his short list. He said all of them were there. The six are Vivek Ramaswamy, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL), Tulsi Gabbard, and Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD). Maybe they really are all on his short list—if it is long enough—but only one of them strikes us as plausible.

Normally, presidential candidates pick someone who will help them win the election. The veep could be someone who could bring in a specific state (e.g., Lyndon Johnson in 1960) or some demographic (e.g., Sarah Palin in 2008 and Mike Pence in 2016). Occasionally it is someone who could help govern if the candidate wins (e.g., Dick Cheney in 2000 and Joe Biden in 2008). But Donald Trump this year is not normal. Could he go for the person who flatters him the most?

Let's go over the list. Ramaswamy is an obnoxious jerk and has proven it over and over. He would cost Trump millions of votes in the suburbs and not win any new votes. If Trump picks someone who has never been in government before and puts him or her a heartbeat away from the presidency, that would give the Democrats an excellent talking point. At least Sarah Palin was governor of the biggest state in the country (by area) and had experience dealing with a legislature. Ramaswamy makes Palin look like a stateswoman. That's quite an achievement.

Trump hates Ron "DeSanctimonious" DeSantis (R-FL), who is almost as obnoxious as Ramaswamy. DeSantis has also proven that he is a lousy campaigner and couldn't even manage his own campaign. Trump can win Florida on his own and doesn't need any help.

Scott is a friendly guy and may actually have a real fiancée. But she is white. How do white Republican men feel about mixed-race couples? Maybe not so good. South Carolina is already in the bag for Trump. The only thing Scott brings to the table is his standing with evangelicals. But now, most of them have stopped worrying about sin and have come to love Trump despite all the casinos, marriages, the grabbing of p**sy, the sexual assaults, and more. If Trump wants an evangelical, there are better ones to be had.

Donalds is also Black and nobody has ever heard of him. What's the point? What's he even doing on the list? Couldn't Ingraham think of anyone else to get to half a dozen? We can.

Gabbard has something going for her the ones above don't: She is a good-looking woman. Trump likes that. She also is not a Republican. She was elected to Congress as a Democrat and later became an independent. She acts like a Republican, though, even though she isn't one. She was born in American Samoa and if Trump were to pick her, some outside group working for the Democrats could start a campaign claiming that she is not eligible to be president. That's not true, but in politics appearances matter. Also, she is barely known. The Democrats have a nonwhite woman on the ticket, so would adding one to the Republican ticket siphon off any votes? Not among Black women and not among Latinas. We can't see her pulling away many Democrats and citizens of American Samoa can't vote in presidential elections. Seems very unlikely to us.

Finally we come to a serious contender. Noem was the South Dakota Snow Queen in high school. Trump loves beauty pageants. He used to own one. She gets points for that. She also served two terms in the South Dakota House, four terms in the U.S. House, and is in her second term as governor. She is as qualified as other veep candidates over the years. She even has a tiny bit of foreign policy experience since she served on the House Armed Services Committee. Sarah Palin she is not. She desperately wants to get out of South Dakota (see below) and will do whatever Trump wants her to do and say, another winner in his book. The one imponderable here is her alleged extracurricular affair with Trump whisperer Corey Lewandowski. If Trump picks her, every political reporter in D.C. will immediately begin scouring the boonies looking for proof of it. If someone finds it, it could blow up in Trump's face. Having not one, but two philanderers on the ticket would break a new barrier, but might not fly with social conservatives.

One obvious person Ingraham missed is Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), who also desperately wants to be on the ticket and who, as a member of the congressional leadership, is reasonably plausible. But Trump loves to pull surprises and it could be someone not on many lists now, like Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC). (V)

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