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Bill Owens: The Trump VP Sweepstakes

The sweep by Donald Trump of the last six primaries (and Cruz and Kasich's suspensions) portends a Trump nomination in Cleveland. The next big question is what Republican (and that in itself may be an assumption, based upon Ben Carson’s recent comments) will want to put his or her chips on the table to see if Donald picks them up? (A side note: Were the campaign suspensions evidence of lingering hope?)

There have been a series of articles speculating on who is on Trump’s list for VP. I’m comfortable hypothesizing who is not on the list: Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz (lying Ted), John Kasich, or Paul Ryan (I suspect if he didn’t want to be president, he’s even less likely to want a second turn in the barrel as a vice presidential candidate).

Then there are those who are not out of the running but are unlikely options. One that comes to mind is Chris Christie. That would not only be a truly pugnacious combination, but would also put two metropolitan New Yorkers together and, given Chris Christie’s unfavorable status in New Jersey, that’s likely not a good selection. Another possibility is Rudi Giuliani, but again, his time has passed and he is also a metropolitan New Yorker. Then there’s the manufacturer of the Make America Great Again hats—who is it that makes those? Maybe anonymity is better.

What about an entertainer? There are a number who have solid conservative credentials. Clint Eastwood has held elected office, but he may be a bit long in the tooth at this point. Jon Voight frequently plays villains, and that might fit. Mel Gibson might present the optimum image—a conservative with strong patriotic movie credentials. There is some history of actors having run for high office in the United States with significant success and, many would say, a high level of achievement.

Now let’s turn to some strategic potential choices with a focus on geography. We have Rick Scott, the Florida governor and fellow businessman; Senator Tim Scott—do you know what state he represents?; Jim Webb, a Democrat, Secretary of the Navy under Reagan and senator from Virginia, which would be an interesting choice as he also briefly ran for president, albeit as a Democrat; Marco Rubio, a Southerner and Hispanic; Governor Nikki Haley, a woman and Indian-American who says she’s not interested; fellow wall-builder Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin; Congresswoman Martha McSally, a former Air Force pilot who currently represents Arizona’s Second Congressional District; and my perennial favorite, Sarah Palin.

Now, some of these choices may be made more difficult as they may not want to be dealt in. Clearly, Mr. Trump’s speech on national defense seemed a tad confusing as he stated he supports a strong military, but doesn’t believe we should use it very often. I am not sure how Congresswoman McSally and Secretary Webb would view that as a strategy. And how will Sarah Palin or Congresswoman McSally respond to Mr. Trump’s position on women, particularly when he has said that Secretary Clinton would only get five percent of the vote if she wasn’t a woman. If that held true for these potential candidates, then that wouldn’t help much with Electoral College math.

Now onto athletes and coaches, many of whom have announced their support for Mr. Trump, including Tom Brady, Bobby Knight, Hulk Hogan, Dennis Rodman, Pete Rose and Mike Tyson. Unfortunately, I am not sure I see a serious potential candidate who would bring significant votes to Mr. Trump without significant controversy—suspensions, chair throwing, visits to North Korea, and ear biting.

Given Mr. Trump’s interest in gambling, maybe his best approach would be to put faces on a deck of cards and draw—that might be as coherent a plan as he can spin.

Mr. Owens is a former member of Congress representing the New York 21st and a partner in the firm of Stafford, Owens, Piller, Murnane, Kelleher & Trombley, PLLC, in Plattsburgh, New York.

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.

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