The Democratic and Republican leaders in the 2016 White House race
are unusually unpopular nationally, polls show, despite their
success with voters in their respective parties. Clinton has
struggled to generate excitement about her candidacy and assuage
voter concerns about her trustworthiness, while Trump fares badly
among women and minorities in polls.
Their weaknesses only increase the importance of their vice
presidential pick, who could potentially help them rally support in
key demographics ahead of the Nov. 8 vote - if each gets their
Hispanic advocacy groups are lobbying Clinton to choose a Hispanic
running mate. The person most often mentioned - Julian Castro, the
housing and urban development secretary who is one of the party's
rising stars - is opposed by liberal activists who accuse him of
favoring Wall Street firms in the sale of distressed mortgages.
Some of the groups have started an online petition against Castro's
candidacy, which has angered the Latino Victory Fund, a nonpartisan
advocacy group that has been pushing for a Latino vice-presidential
“These attacks against Secretary Castro are completely unfounded,
short sighted, and only serve to pit us against each other,” said
Cristobal Alex, the fund’s president. The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of
Commerce has called on Clinton to choose Castro.
Democratic strategist Joe Velasquez, a Clinton supporter, said a
Hispanic running mate could make a difference in swing states like
Florida, Colorado, Nevada and Virginia, which have large Hispanic
populations. Polls show Hispanic voters overwhelmingly dislike
Trump, in part because of his comments likening illegal immigrants
U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez has also been mentioned as a possible
But Clinton’s decision isn’t clear-cut.
Given Trump’s unpopularity with some moderate Republicans, she may
want a vice-president who can wrest away some of those voters.
Someone like Tim Kaine, a senator from Virginia who personally
opposes abortion, or New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, who has close
ties to the financial sector.
There was no immediate comment from Castro, Kaine, Perez or Booker.
Clinton though could give a higher priority to winning over liberal
democrats, who see her as too pro-Wall Street and have flocked to
her rival, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Sherrod Brown, a senator from Ohio who is a fierce opponent of
global trade deals, and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a
fierce critic of the banking industry, have both been named as
possible vice president picks.
Brown and Warren did not respond to requests for comment.
Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis is skeptical that Clinton needs
to spend much time appeasing the liberal wing of her party if she
wins the nomination.
“As much as people have made out this race between Clinton and
Sanders to be an ideological death match, Donald Trump will do more
to bring the Democratic Party together than anyone has ever done,”
Trump is viewed unfavorably by 80 percent of Democrats, according to
a recent Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll.
But other Democrats fear the increasingly bitter Clinton-Sanders
battle, has fractured the party. Jim Manley, a former top aide to
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, said Clinton's pick "has to be
viewed through a prism of, among other things, their ability to
bring on Sanders voters.”
Both the Clinton and Trump campaigns refused to comment on the
vice-presidential speculation, saying they remain focused on winning
their respective nominating contests.
[to top of second column]
Clinton holds a commanding lead among the party delegates who will
pick the party's nominee, but Sanders has pledged to keep fighting.
Trump may not have the Republican nomination locked down until the
summer, if he can beat off challenges by Texas Senator Ted Cruz and
Ohio Governor John Kasich, who is running a distant third in the
Typically, vice-presidential selections are vetted for weeks after a
candidate has emerged as the party’s nominee and are announced
shortly before the party conventions in the summer.
Trump’s polarizing candidacy could make his job of finding a running
mate more difficult. For much of the campaign season, many in the
Republican establishment, along with well-funded political
committees, have been looking for ways to keep Trump from winning
the Republican nomination.
Trump has stated his preference for an established office-holder
rather than a political neophyte like himself, specifically listing
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and
Walker, who has endorsed Cruz, laughed when he was asked about the
prospect, but has been noncommittal. Rubio has repeatedly rejected
the idea. Kasich last week said there was “zero chance” of his
playing second fiddle to Trump, despite mounting speculation that he
would be an ideal candidate because of his deep government
experience and Ohio’s crucial role as a general election swing
A source close to Kasich told Reuters the governor has no interest
in working with Trump as the two don't agree on much.
Cruz, too, said this week he would not be Trump’s running mate,
while telling reporters in Hollywood, Florida on Wednesday that "a
Trump-Kasich ticket loses to Hillary Clinton."
Tony Fratto, a Republican strategist, said Trump may be forced to
turn to “guys at the end of their careers, not people who believe
they have a future. Someone in their last act who has nothing to
lose by accepting an offer from Trump.”
That might include New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has been
one or the few establishment politicians to campaign for Trump, or
Florida Governor Rick Scott, who has endorsed Trump. Both are in
their final terms in office.
Christie was asked about the prospect in an interview with a New
Jersey radio station on Thursday.
"The way I think about these things, you never say 'never,'" he
Other names linked to Trump include former New York Mayor Rudolph
Giuliani, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, a Trump adviser, and Ben
Carson, the retired neurosurgeon and former presidential candidate.
There was no immediate comment from Sessions, Scott and Giuliani.
Armstrong Williams, a close adviser to Carson, said the former White
House hopeful doesn’t want the slot.
"At this point he has no interest in being in politics ... none,”
Williams said. “I think Trump is looking for someone with government
experience, someone who is more political."
(Reporting by James Oliphant, John Whitesides, Amanda Becker, Emily
Flitter, Ginger Gibson, Steve Holland, Luciana Lopez, and Alana
Wise. Editing by Ross Colvin)
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.