I have written diaries in the past on handicapping the presidential candidates for the next election. For obvious reasons, that seems pointless this time, so I have decided to look at the Democratic vice presidential possibilities for 2016.
As with any forecasting model, it is totally dependent on the assumptions that underlie it, so here are mine:
• Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic presidential nominee.
• She will select a running mate who is:
o No older than 60.
o From outside the Northeast, which I define as the area from Pennsylvania to Maine.
o A current or recent governor, senator, big-city mayor, or a congress member in a leadership position.
Given these criteria, it is astonishing how thin our bench is; the 2010 cataclysm was just devastating to us, and we have lost many talented people who might have otherwise made this list.
All ages that follow are as of Election Day, November 8, 2016.
Tim Kaine, 58, Senator, Virginia. (4:1 or 20%)
Kaine, a V.P. finalist for Barack Obama in 2008, has strengthened his case by his election to the Senate in 2012. He’s been both a governor and senator, and comes from an important swing state.
Martin O’Malley, 53, Governor, Maryland. (5:1 or 17%)
O’Malley, like Kaine a mayor-turned-governor, has one advantage over others on this list: He wants it. MOM is extremely ambitious and desperately wants to be V.P. He has compiled a very progressive record as governor, and will leave office at the end of 2014.
Bruce Braley, 59, Representative, Iowa. (8:1, or 11%)
Braley is the unopposed candidate for the Democratic nomination for Tom Harkin’s Senate seat in 2014, and the heavy favorite for the general election. Assuming he wins, as a progressive senator from a swing seat he would be an obvious choice.
Julian Castro, 42, Mayor, San Antonio. (10:1, or 9%)
Universally acknowledged as a rising star, the only question for Castro is, “Is he ready?”
Steve Bullock, 50, Governor, Montana. (10:1, or 9%)
Smart, handsome and good on TV, Bullock would be the first Westerner ever on a Democratic ticket.
Mark Pryor, 53, Senator, Arkansas. (20:1 or 5%)
The big hurdle for Pryor, who has known Hillary since he was a teenager, is getting reelected in 2014. That’s uphill.
Others (5:2 or 29%)
Other possibilities include:
Xavier Becerra, 58, Representative, California.
Michael Bennet, 51, Senator, Colorado.
Jack Markell, 55, Governor, Delaware.
Jeff Merkley, 60, Senator, Oregon.
Chris Van Hollen, 57, Representative, Maryland.
Anyone I missed?