Oprah’s Pence


This is very premature speculation on a possible Oprah presidential bid. If she were to run for President, and were to win the Democratic vice-presidential nomination, who would be her ideal running mate? Who could do for her what Pence did for Trump?

Pence didn’t look like an ideal national leader, but he did several big things for Trump. He helped make inroads with the establishment, had conventional qualifications (congressional leader turned Governor), pleased much of the traditional base/ social conservatives, and added geographic diversity (midwesterner for the East Coast guy).

There are a few Democrats who might do similar stuff for Oprah, but her situation’s a bit different. She’s so associated with Chicago and the heartland (and grew up in the deep south) that a geographic match isn’t a problem. Her political views seem to be relatively close to Hillary and Obama, so she wouldn’t need a running mate with conventional views; it might actually make sense to go for someone in the Sanders camp.

She probably needs a running mate who’s a white guy, since otherwise it would be a ticket with two women or two racial minorities, so that’s another consideration.

She can go in several directions.

Someone with solid qualifications and establishment ties would be Andrew Cuomo, a Governor, as well as a former top prosecutor and Cabinet official.

Mark Warner might fit this bill as a Senator and former Governor.

If she wants to get progressives on her side, Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon was the only Senator to endorse Bernie Sanders, and has made Wall Street reform a key issue.

Someone who straddles the progressive and establishment camps would be Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who also brings with him connections to Washington where he has served as a member of Congress since 1993.

Someone who could connect establishment Democrats while bringing a progressive record and a sense of a new generation would be Gavin Newsom, newly elected as Governor (presumably) but with a background since George W Bush’s first term of prominent leftism.

It’s worth noting that when Mike Pence accepted the vice-presidential nomination he was damaged goods. His election to Governor of Indiana was much narrower than expected, and he had a national firestorm with an inability to effectively articulate and defend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. His main competitors were Chris Christie, who had an approval rating in the teens as Governor of New Jersey, and former Speaker Newt Gingrich, who had his own issues. Many prominent Republicans, including John Kasich, Marco Rubio and Bob Corker had taken themselves out of consideration.

About Thomas Mets

I’m a comic book fan, wannabe writer, politics buff and New Yorker. I don’t actually follow baseball. In the Estonian language, “Mets” simply means forest, or lousy sports team. You can email me at mistermets@gmail.com
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