The Also-Rans…For this group, it doesn’t really matter who I think they’ll pick because they have no chance of being the nominee. That being said, I still put some time into thinking about it.
Tulsi Gabbard…Who She Would Pick: Probably Bernie Sanders or someone even older and far more irrelevant like Mike Gravel. Who She Should Pick: Vladimir Putin, just cut out the middle man.
Andrew Yang…Who He Would’ve Picked: It’s impossible to guess since Yang never appeared to be taking his run that seriously. I assume he’d want a politician that was female, well-known, and at least open to the idea of Universal Basic Income, and probably the only person I could think of like that would be Elizabeth Warren. Although if Yang has as poor a judgement as I think he does, he might go with Tulsi Gabbard herself. Who He Should’ve Picked: Literally anyone with tons of experience and could at least reassure people that he’s taking this somewhat seriously. The most boring managerial type you could think of like…I don’t know, Amy Klobuchar.
Tom Steyer…Who He Would Pick: It’s impossible to say since Steyer hasn’t talked much about anyone other than himself, but like Yang, I assume he’d want someone female, with the government experience he lacks, and possibly could help him pick up a swing state. Someone like Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer would at least guarantee a swing state. Who He Should Pick: Tom Steyer shouldn’t be the nominee, and the best outcome would be him quitting if chosen by accident.
Amy Klobuchar…Who She Would Pick: It’s hard to speculate on this since Klobuchar is more likely to be the VP pick herself than win the nomination. It’s a little bit like wondering who Mike Pence’s VP would be? [In his case, I’m assuming Jerry Falwell’s ghost would have first-rights.] I know she’d pick a man, and it sure seems like she enjoys Joe Biden. Who She Should Pick: Amy has doubled-down hard on the Midwestern appeal, and it’d be smart if she picked someone who could help her in the rest of the country like a Southern or Western Democrat such as Steve Bullock, who also sees the world mostly as Amy does.
Elizabeth Warren…Who She Would Pick: Warren would most likely be looking for a man who sees the world roughly the same way she does but is not Bernie Sanders. Julian Castro has endorsed her, and I could easily see her convincing herself he’ll help her win the Latino vote in states like Texas, Georgia, and Arizona. Who She Should Pick: Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown is perfect. He’s progressive but not crazy, and would help capture a state no Republican has ever won the White House without.
The main event…The following candidates actually will be the nominee, and therefore we’ll see if one of my picks is actually right…
Michael Bloomberg…Who He Would Pick: On the one hand, I could see Bloomberg convincing himself that he should do some unity ticket nonsense like Mitt Romney or Colin Powell as VP. [How’d that work out for Al Gore in 2000?] But on the other hand, Bloomberg uses reams of data to make nearly every decision, and he’ll probably realize that he badly needs Democrats to actually show up and vote. Someone female, younger (obviously), and preferably from a swing state. That really only leaves Gretchen Whitmer, who will help him mightily in Michigan and possibly Wisconsin. And since the DNC picked her to give the rebuttal to Trump’s State of the Union address, she would help soothe fears that Bloomberg isn’t a sincere Democrat. Who He Should Pick: Although Democrats are obsessed with Hillary’s losses in the Midwest, they’re ignoring the Western swing states like Arizona that may be easy pickings. Catherine Cortez Masto is the first Latina to serve in the senate, and could help secure Latino voting blocks necessary to win Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, and Florida.
Bernie Sanders…Who He Would Pick: Bernie Sanders is the only candidate in the Top 4 who is of questionable political instincts. Although he whole-heartedly needs to appear less crazy than many people think he is, he has said his primary criteria for a running mate is someone “who sees the world in the same way.” I could honestly see him picking nightmare-scenario candidate Tulsi Gabbard, and then dying six months into his first term. Who He Should Pick: Literally anyone who makes him look less like a dyed-in-the-wool ideologue. unlike the rest of these top-tier candidates, his fans don’t need convincing about his progressive bonafides, so he could easily pick someone safer who can help him pick up a swing state (like Gretchen Whitmer or Krysten Sinema) but this is Bernie Sanders we’re talking about.
Joe Biden…Who He Would Pick: Biden has been the most upfront about his desire to pick a female VP, and although he has listed Stacy Abrams as a candidate, common-sense would likely overrule this pick since being a state representative in Georgia isn’t the best possible resume for a VP who would be a heartbeat away from the Presidency (literally in Biden’s case). Biden would more likely pick stalking-horse Amy Klobuchar since she has been running to be his VP for a while now. Who He Should Pick: California Senator Kamala Harris may not make a lot of sense in the electoral college, but since Biden can more easily talk to older, white working class (and rural) voters than the rest of the top 4, he doesn’t really need a Midwestern politician to help pick up swing states. What he needs is sky-high minority turnout, and someone a little bit younger, but still experienced enough for the job.
Pete Buttigieg…Who He Would Pick: Pete is a smart, data-driven politician and he would probably be the most poll and data-driven nominee since Bill Clinton. He’ll crunch the numbers 100 ways from Sunday and come to a similar conclusion as Joe Biden did: that he already does well with white people in the Midwest, and what he really, really needs is someone who can help deliver minority turnout. I think he’ll pick either Catherine Cortez Masto or especially Kamala Harris. [Kamala is also who he should pick.]