Clinton – Warner Ticket
Bob Novak reports that some Democrats are looking past the primaries and arguing that Hillary Clinton should bypass Barack Obama for Mark Warner as her running mate.
Anticipating that Sen. Hillary Clinton will clinch the Democratic presidential nomination, some supporters are beginning to argue against her choosing her principal rival — Sen. Barack Obama — for vice president. They maintain Obama provides no general election help for Clinton. As an African-American from Illinois, he represents an ethnic group and a state already solidly in the Democratic column.
This school of thought advocates a Southerner as Clinton’s running mate. The last time Democrats won a national election without a Southerner on the ticket was 1944. Prominent Democrats from the South are in short supply today. The leading prospect: former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner.
While I think Clinton the overwhelming favorite for the nomination, this is certainly premature, what with her thus far having zero delegates in her column.
If the primaries somehow shape up to look like the current national polls — there’s a first time for everything — it would be awfully difficult for her to snub the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.
It’s true that Jesse Jackson did quite well in 1984, coming in third and getting over twenty percent of the primary votes.
And the number two vote getter, Gary Hart, had long since withdrawn from the race after an embarrassing sex scandal. But Jackson was a strident candidate with virtually no appeal outside the black community. And he was passed over for a woman, Geraldine Ferraro, taking away much of the backlash that might have followed if Jackson had been snubbed for a white guy.
By contrast, Obama seems to be popular across a wide swath of the party. Passing him over if he’s the number two vote getter would quite likely alienate a sizable number of Democrats. If, as I suspect, this election once again comes down to turnout, that would be a huge gamble for Clinton to take.
Correction: A former colleague reminds me that the Gary Hart-Donna Rice scandal broke in 1988, during Hart’s second bid for the White House.