Are we staring down the barrel of a Donald Trump candidacy? The businessman-cum-politician has gotten farther than perhaps anyone thought he could, now maintaining a firm grip on his Republican frontrunner status. As such, we might now begin to ask ourselves about a potential running mate for the Donald.
He hasn't made any open declarations (because the GOP hasn't nominated him yet), but he's thrown out some hints. On Wednesday, Trump offered this illuminating insight during a Q&A at Regent University:
"I do want somebody that's political, because I want to get lots of great legislation we all want passed," he said. "We're going to probably choose somebody that's somewhat political."
Indeed, to get the legislating done, one does need, or should have, an understanding of politics; whether Trump himself has that is debatable. What voters could likely take from his statement is this: His running mate will not be a reality TV star like himself.
Does that mean it won't be former Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin? She is both TV celeb and politician, and when she joined him onstage in January at a rally in Iowa, throwing her weighty endorsement behind him, she catalyzed the evangelical contingent and brought with her tea-party enthusiasts, a contingent Trump would certainly want in his court.
Yet Palin may appeal to Trump's roguish sensibilities, and the maverick factor isn't the only thing the two have in common. "Palin's populism is not all that dissimilar to what Trump is pitching in this election," as the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza wrote. "Picking Palin is, um, not without risk. But Trump loves risks."
And according to Cillizza, Palin isn't the only woman in contention as Trump's VP. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley "almost makes too much sense" as a choice for Trump, Cillizza wrote. She has the requisite political experience; she's relatively young (44); she presided over her state's removal of the Confederate flag from its capitol building, which may help mitigate the "Trump is a racist" accusation. On that score, the fact that she's the daughter of Indian immigrants doesn't hurt, either, Cillizza said.
Yet Haley has spoken out against Trump for his stance on immigration. Still, she has broader appeal within the party than Trump and perhaps for that reason is an oft-named vice presidential prospect for all the candidates, including Ted Cruz, to whom she switched her support following her preferred candidate's campaign suspension during the Florida primary.
Then there are the politicians against whom Trump is already running. Within that group, Ohio Gov. John Kasich seems to be a not unpopular option. The Hill has said Kasich is in fact running for vice president under the guise of a presidential bid; both the Fiscal Times and Mediaite have nodded to Kasich as a viable choice, with Mediaite noting Kasich would likely deliver Trump that state, without which no candidate since John F. Kennedy has won the White House.
According to Mediaite, Kasich has the experience working across the aisle and on the federal budget that Trump lacks; his stance on health care roughly aligns with the Donald's. He is perhaps the more reasonable yin to Trump's outspoken, brash yang. But then, that safe bet element may be what disqualifies him and Haley: As Cillizza said, Trump is a risk lover — he is unpredictable.
So why are we taking his avowed intention to tap a politician at face value? Maybe he'll go ahead and nominate Oprah, as he told ABC he'd "love" to do, shortly following his campaign announcement. Trump-Winfrey 2016 — think she'd go for it?
March 31, 2016, 1:44 p.m.: This article has been updated to reflect the most current information on the presidential election.