Wednesday, May 7

Let's Open the Mail Bag

I received an question a few weeks ago from Belle. She wrote:

I'm just curious...when will VP running mates be announced? Will McCain wait until the Democratic nominee is chosen? If so, is that a strategic thing? Could his choice of running mate change based on who wins the Democratic nomination? How does this work? Enlighten us!

Great question Belle! There is no formal timetable for when candidates announce their running mates for Vice President, however, they must be named by the national party conventions so they can be formally nominated.

Usually Vice President selections are named between Memorial Day and the middle of July with the Democratic nominee announced first because their convention is first. However, with the horse race we're seeing in the Democratic party, it will be interesting to see if either candidate will start floating the names of potential running mates as a way to gain momentum.

The naming of a running mate is a very important decision. Often, the presidential nominee will name a vice presidential candidate who will bring geographic or ideological balance to the ticket or appeal to a particular constituency. The vice presidential candidate might also be chosen on the basis of traits the presidential candidate is perceived to lack, or on the basis of name recognition. Popular runners-up in the presidential nomination process are commonly considered, to foster party unity.

The ultimate goal of vice presidential candidate selection is to help and not hurt the party's chances of getting elected. According to Wikipedia, "an overly dynamic selection can backfire by outshining the presidential candidate. A classic example of this came in 1988, when Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis chose experienced Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen as his running mate. The public perception of Dukakis was so bland that one West Virginia elector cast a presidential ballot for Bentsen rather than Dukakis.

The last presidential candidate to not name a vice presidential choice, leaving the matter up to the convention, was Democrat Adlai Stevenson in 1956. The convention chose Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver over Massachusetts Senator (and later president) John F. Kennedy.

In cases where the presidential nomination is still in doubt as the convention approaches, the campaigns for the two positions may become intertwined.

In 1976, Ronald Reagan, who was trailing President Gerald R. Ford in the presidential delegate count, announced prior to the Republican National Convention that, if nominated, he would select Senator Richard Schweiker as his running mate. This move backfired to a degree, as Schweiker's relatively liberal voting record alienated many of the more conservative delegates who were considering a challenge to party delegate selection rules to improve Reagan's chances. In the end, Ford narrowly won the presidential nomination and Reagan's selection of Schweiker became moot."


wheresthebox said...

Off-topic but you mentioned the mail bag and I thought I would ask my question - do you have a P4M sidebar button with a transparent background? I just added a colored background to my blog and it would be nice. Thanks!

Classic MaMa said...

I just have to say: you are super smart.


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