The shortlist is out. Apparently, Hillary has narrowed her search down to Julian Castro, Tim Kaine, and Elizabeth Warren. Although I’m little disappointed that Al Franken is out of the running, either Kaine or Castro would be a solid pick. [Though I wonder why she went with Virginia senator Tim Kaine over the other Virginia senator Mark Warner?] But Elizabeth Warren? Not so much. Here are the top reasons (of many) she won’t be picked for Hillary’s VP.
1. Hillary will win Massachusetts in a landslide anyway…In Episode 25 of “A Year Long Conversation,” I championed a return to the days when VP picks were strategic and actually serviced the purpose of winning states (or voters) you ordinarily wouldn’t win. [Like Kennedy picking LBJ.] Sarah Palin, Paul Ryan, Joe Biden, Dick Cheney, Joe Lieberman, etc. were all bad picks for that reason alone. In fact, the last truly strategic VP pick was Bill Clinton picking Al Gore in a (successful) bid to win Tennessee. The reason is because the Clinton’s poll everything and Hillary will realize the obvious truth that Warren doesn’t mean much outside of states she’ll win anyway.
2. Warren’s not really a loyalist…Much has been made of the Clinton tendency to value loyalty over everything else. Well, if that’s really true then Warren is probably at the bottom of Hillary’s VP list out of every senator or Governor in the Democratic Party. Senator Warren waited until the race was literally over—the day after California, the last state primary—to endorse Clinton. That’s not exactly a profile in courage, and most of Warren’s speeches have focused on hatred of Trump more than love of Hillary. And rumor has it that the two are polite and cordial, but don’t have much of a real connection the way Hillary does with every other prominent female Democratic politician. Plus, how can Hillary be sure Warren will even back her agenda when it’s clear they disagree in several key categories like the Trans-Pacific Partnership?
3. They really are too similar…The “two women on a ticket thing” overshadows the fact that they would have incredibly similar profiles if you had to describe them to a total stranger: two blonde grandmothers in their late 60’s who used to be Republicans before becoming liberal icons, and are from the Midwest before becoming Northeastern senators. To many who don’t follow politics that closely, Warren is just a less-well-known version of Hillary. Hillary could pick literally any female senator or Governor and have less similarities with them. It’s hard to see Warren really expanding Hillary’s demographics. In that way, Julian Castro would be the best pick.
4. She doesn’t bring in red or purple state gains…Massachusetts is widely seen as one of the most liberal states in America, and they’re still stuck with a Republican Governor. [Another huge reason Warren actually won’t be picked is that Mass’ Republican Governor will temporarily appoint a Republican replacement.] What Democrats need to do in this election cycle is try as hard as they possibly can to win red state gains. In that way, Tim Kaine would be the best pick.
5. There’s just no real upside…Warren doesn’t win Hillary a single vote she won’t get anyway. The advisors say the real draw is Warren bringing in Bernie’s base, but I’m not confident his base is that big or that they’ll be voting regardless of who Hillary picks. The ones that will be converted probably already have been, and the sexist ones that don’t really want a woman President are unlikely to be persuaded by an all-female ticket.
Although it’s smart of Hillary to pretend to vet Warren—in a show of unifying progressives—I just can’t see a reason for her to pick her…