Late last week, multiple news outlets reported that anti-Trump delegates are hatching a plan to choose Donald Trump’s vice presidential nominee for him at the Republican National Convention. A proposed change of rules, distributed by the group Free the Delegates, would alter a party bylaw to allow delegates to make the selection, rather than leaving it up to the nominee.
The primary goal of the Free the Delegates movement, of course, is to prevent Trump from becoming the Republican party’s nominee. If they can’t stop a Trump nomination, however, their second hope is to saddle him with a running mate that delegates deem acceptable — one strong enough to adequately counterbalance Trump’s weaknesses and ideological vacancies. The proposed rule would be an “arranged marriage option,” as one member of the group put it.
As my readers know, I strongly share the desire of the majority of Republican voters who would rather have a different nominee than Donald Trump. However, I think this measure is pretty silly. It’s one thing to unbind the delegates at the convention so that they can make their voices heard in the nomination process. It’s another to keep the eventual nominee (which Trump will very likely be) from naming his own running mate.
While the stated intent may be to round out the ticket, the move would be recognized purely as a punitive measure put forth out of spite. It would serve no practical purpose. Based on who his team is reportedly vetting, I think it’s safe to say that Trump already plans on choosing a VP nominee who is infinitely more qualified to lead the country than he is.
No, the bottom of the GOP ticket won’t be the problem, and the reality is that most VP picks are politically calculated anyway.
The problem, again, comes back to the significant lack of confidence Republicans have in the guy at the top of the ticket. After a year of campaigning, Trump has left many in the party with the honest belief that if he were to win the White House, he would require a parental figure tethered closely to his side to make sure he doesn’t do anything ridiculously reckless, impulsively authoritarian, or downright dumb.
It’s nothing new, of course, for a vice president to serve in an advisory role in the White House. I’ve always believed that to be a good use of the office. What I think the Free the Delegates people see a need for, however, is not an advisor but rather a chaperone. And while I disagree with their approach and involvement in this area, I’m not so sure they’re wrong in their assessment.
Once again, Election 2016 proves itself to be anything other than an ordinary election cycle.