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Trump Begins Vetting the Veepables

NBC News is reporting that Donald Trump has now sent vetting materials to several people he is considering as a running mate. Before even naming them, we want to note that Trump loves drama, so the "leak" may have been carefully planned. Also, by including people on the list that he is not considering at all, he could be intending to send a message to some voters or groups of voters.

According to the sources, the top prospects are Gov. Doug Burgum (R-ND) and three Republican senators: Marco Rubio (FL), Tim Scott (SC), and J.D. Vance (OH). Interestingly, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) is not on the list even though she is Trumpy as hell and could attract women, a far bigger demographic than any of the others could. Numerous sources have reported that the shot that killed her dog also killed Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD)'s chances. And again, Trump could easily surprise everyone and pick a dark horse nobody is talking about now. We are willing to go out on a limb here, however, and say we don't think it will be Mike Pence.

Burgum is a billionaire and could bring two things to the ticket: money and governing experience. Unfortunately, Trump doesn't care about the latter, just the former. OK, technically, Burgum seals the deal for North Dakota's 3 EVs, so that's three things. Burgum has only recently become Trumpy. In fact, he ran against Trump. We tend to think that although he is not controversial, he doesn't bring much to the ticket. At least he won't upstage Trump.

Rubio might attract young voters, especially some Latino ones. He could also help in Florida, but Trump probably does not need a lot of help there. On the downside, Rubio is not a great campaigner, is said to be lazy, and has a few mini-scandals in his past. Here is part of our write-up on March 4, 2016 about one of the Republican debates:

Rubio was particularly aggressive, especially for the first hour of the debate. He hit The Donald on immigration, foreign policy, tax policy, and his ever-shifting political positions. At various times, the Florida Senator brought up Trump University, Trump's foreign-made clothing line, the kind words he's had for Vladimir Putin, and his failed business ventures (i.e. Trump Vodka), while characterizing the billionaire as a con artist, trust fund baby, and liar who can't possibly beat Hillary Clinton and who "thinks the nuclear triad is a rock band from the 1980's." Trump defended himself on all points (not always successfully) while repeatedly referring to his opponent as "Little Marco," and suggesting that Rubio is a liar, a scammer, a lazy Senator who doesn't show up for work, and a man so incapable of being a leader that "the people in Florida wouldn't elect him dogcatcher" at this point.

We're not the only ones who wrote up that debate. If Trump picks Rubio, every media outlet that existed in 2016 will be digging through its archives. For example, the Tampa Bay Times existed back then. This is what we wrote about Rubio on March 15, 2016:

The Tampa Bay Times has a lengthy profile and takedown of Marco Rubio, just in time for the Florida primaries. In it, they throw everything but the kitchen sink at the Florida Senator.

One of the major themes of the profile is that Rubio is lazy, from his lackadaisical 2.1 high school GPA to his longstanding habit of not showing up for committee meetings, press conferences, and legislative sessions unless absolutely necessary. He's also portrayed as a backstabber whose opportunism rivals that of Ted Cruz. One early ally, Hialeah mayor Raúl Martinez, says that he "wouldn't support [Rubio] for dog catcher" now. Another, GOP official Tony DiMatteo, says he's supporting Donald Trump specifically to derail Rubio.

Undoubtedly, it's hard to be a career politician without making some enemies. But to make this many enemies, and have them be this vociferous, is not a good look, particularly on a day when you need every vote you can get.

On top of that, if POTUS and VPOTUS candidates are from the same state, the Florida electors can't vote for both of them, so somebody's gotta move. Would the Florida voters like Rubio hightailing it to Georgia? Would Trump dare move back to New York after his conviction? He could move to his club in Bedminster, NJ, though.

As to Scott, he smiles a lot, but he is Black and a lot of Republicans voted for Trump in 2016 to punish the Democrats for nominating a Black man as president. He's also not a terribly effective senator and like Rubio and unlike Burgum, he would not be ready to be president on Day 1 if Trump were to eat his last Big Mac while in office.

Vance used to dislike Trump, has called him an idiot, and didn't vote for him in 2016. He has since repented and is one of the Trumpiest members of Congress. His big selling point is that he could be an incredible attack dog, something none of the above three are at all capable of. He is also from a slightly swingy state and his presence on the ticket could hurt Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). That alone could be enough for Trump to pick him. To a more rational presidential candidate, especially one with a really big ego, Vance makes more sense than the bland Burgum and the feeble Rubio and Scott. But with Trump, you never know. He tends to believe the last person he talked to. We truly hope that Sarah Palin does not visit Mar-a-Lago in June or early July. (V)

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