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Trump’s VP search is different this time

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By killing her dog, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem may also have ended her chances of becoming Donald Trump’s vice president. So who else is on the list? We’ll get into Trump’s options after four new stories from The Atlantic:


Trump’s big decision

As a journalist, it is my duty to remind you that the Trump team loves playing with the media almost as much as he loves competing for influence with the great man himself. Trump’s advisers might say, for example, that after careful consideration, so and so is off the vice president list, and Do you know who It’s back on. They could explain that, in reality, some of the usual considerations of geography and gender do not influence this VP decision.

But the truth is that none of these so-called insiders know much. No one has any idea what Trump is thinking except Trump himself. And the former president is notoriously unpredictable, with a well-established tendency to make decisions based on his most recent conversation. Predicting his choice of Veep, then, is a bit pointless. It’s also very early: Candidates typically don’t choose a running mate until around the party convention in late summer. And Trump will likely try to get as much media coverage as possible to keep people waiting.

Still, without predicting too much, we can anticipate what Trump is likely looking for in a vice president. He’ll want someone who looks good on TV, but not someone who can upstage him. Someone who doesn’t polarize the MAGA base but demonstrates reach. He will choose a candidate with experience, or at least some track record as winner. he probably is No looking for a politician to “balance” his candidacy like Mike Pence did in 2016, when Trump desperately needed to win over evangelicals.

Above all, of course, Trump will want someone unfailingly loyal to him. This time, it’s not about logic or persuasion: it’s about personality. Republican strategists Doug Heye and Mike Murphy, neither of whom are involved in the Trump campaign, explained to me some of Trump’s vice presidential options.

South Carolina Senator Tim Scott

Why does this name keep floating around? Well, the senator, who has been in office for more than a decade, has always been popular. He’s a former insurance salesman who knows how to chat and, Heye told me, he’s also a “prodigious fundraiser.” Scott never really got close to Trump while the latter was president, but he didn’t criticize him much either. “He did it smart,” Murphy told me, by not getting too close or too far away. The dynamic changed when Scott launched his own presidential campaign last year. “He was the puppy on his back, pleading,” even when he was running against Trump, Murphy said, and that loyalty “will appeal to Trump.”

Under this idea, Scott could also help Trump appeal to black voters, who have already begun to drift away from Democrats, albeit to a small extent. Trump and his campaign seem obsessed with this task as they try to avoid a repeat of 2020, and Scott could help them achieve it.

Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Trump’s former press secretary was even in the early versions of his list of vice president candidates for 2024. She is in her first term as state governor and has signed a lot of MAGA-style legislation into law. She’s smart and spent two years working for Trump, which means she’s familiar with running the DC media and Trump is probably pretty comfortable with her. Having a woman like Sanders on the ticket could help Trump attract female voters, another demographic he has struggled with. “She will never have any agenda or be the completely loyal type,” Murphy said. “And (she’s) less of a star, so there’s no need to worry about (Trump) being diminished at all.”

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum

Burgum has been governor for eight years and seems well liked. He is personally rich, like Trump, but not famous. He is ambitious, but not in a way that intimidates Trump. He also ran for president this cycle, remember? If he doesn’t do it, it will probably be to Trump’s advantage.

When you pick a vice president, you should “pick a slightly less impressive version of yourself,” Murphy told me, like when Bill Clinton picked Al Gore, another moderate Protestant white man. “When you’re John McCain, (if) you pick Sarah Palin, there’s just trouble,” he said. Could Burgum be that slightly less impressive version of Trump?

New York Representative Elise Stefanik

The 39-year-old House Republican has been openly auditioning for the vice president position for years. She is a talented fundraiser and undoubtedly the most powerful Republican in New York. She has establishment bona fides (Harvard, George W. Bush’s White House, Paul Ryan’s aide), but she has dedicated herself completely to defending Trump and the MAGA cause. She is a competent woman who could help Trump attract other educated women. The problem, of course, is that he may not find her particularly authentic. “She would poison her mother to get two points on Election Day,” Murphy said. “And I think he would smell that.”

Ohio Senator J.D. Vance

He peasant elegy The author and former venture capitalist appears to share Trump’s populist sensibilities. Vance was once a critic of Trump, but changed his mind when he ran for the Senate. He is ambitious in a way that Trump might interpret as disingenuous, probably because he is. “If I were Trump, I would be concerned about the fact that JD Vance was calling (Republican strategists) to ask them about running as an anti-Trump Republican when he first considered running at the state level in Ohio,” Murphy said. On the other hand, he said, “Vance is a smart enough chameleon to be able to skillfully suck up to Trump.”

Ben Carson, former secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development

Carson, a former neurosurgeon, ran for president against Trump in 2016. He worked in the administration for a time, running HUD. We haven’t heard much from him since, but he seems to frequent Trump circles and has been spotted at Mar-a-Lago on more than one occasion.

Carson could, in theory, help Trump appeal to black voters. But he doesn’t have the political credentials that Scott has. “I met a friend for drinks in February and he told me that he knows for a fact that he’s going to be Ben Carson,” Heye told me. “I thought, ‘Okay, well, one, it’s February.’ Two, why Ben Carson?’”

Florida Senator Marco Rubio

Rubio is young and telegenic, with two terms in the Senate (plus a failed presidential campaign) under his belt. The son of Cuban immigrants, he could theoretically help Trump attract Latino voters. The problem is that Rubio would have to resign from the Senate. He would also have to change residence, because the Constitution prohibits electors from voting for a president and vice president from the same state. That Trump would choose Rubio is “completely implausible, except that when it comes to Donald Trump, implausible things happen,” Heye said.

kari lake

The Arizona TV host turned Stop the Steal devotee would clearly love to be Trump’s vice president. (See it herehoovering up a red carpet for the former president.) But Lake has never won a race and Trump, as we all know, prefers a winner.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem

She’s still on the list, because in Trumpworld anything is possible. But shooting a dog in a gravel pit? It’s the worst thing you can do for your political career.

Related:


Today news

  1. The Department of Justice announced that Texas Representative Henry Cuellar and his wife, Imelda, have been indicted for bribery and money laundering. In a statement, Cuellar said he and his wife are innocent of the charges.
  2. Former White House official Hope Hicks, once one of Donald Trump’s closest advisers, testified at Trump’s hush money criminal trial.
  3. Canadian police have arrested three people in connection with the killing last year of a prominent Sikh separatist in British Columbia and continue to investigate allegations that the people were hired by the Indian government.

Dispatches

  • The summary of the books: Poetry is an act of hope, writes Maya Chung. It can help us get closer to capturing events that exist beyond our ability to describe them.
  • Atlantic Intelligence: New consumer devices are emerging and their entire selling point revolves around artificial intelligence, writes Damon Beres. The era of broken devices is upon us.

Browse all our newsletters here.


night reading

Illustration of horses wandering through a field near an empty podium
Illustration by Matteo Giuseppe Pani. Source: Getty.

Racehorses have no idea what’s going on

By Haley Weiss

This weekend, more than 150,000 spectators and bettors wrapped in pastel colors will descend on the Churchill Downs complex in Louisville to witness one of the largest competitive spectacles in the United States. The 150th running of the Kentucky Derby, headlined by animals whose names (Resilience, Stronghold, Catching Freedom) sound more like Taylor Swift bonus tracks than living creatures, is expected to generate more revenue for the city and the venue than ever before, with resale tickets reportedly at record levels. If you count television viewers, nearly 16 million people are expected to tune in to an event that awards major titles to athletes who may not know they have won and cannot be interviewed.

Read the full article.

More of The Atlantic


Cultural break

Director Jane Schoenbrun sitting at a table
Michael Buckner / Deadline via Contour RA by Getty

Look. I saw the television shine (now available in theaters), the disturbing new film directed by Jane Schoenbrun. They have some ideas on how to make a genuinely weird mainstream movie.

Read. “Noon,” a poem by Li-Young Lee:

“The tall curtains flutter / with presences coming and going, impossible / to confirm.”

Play our daily crossword puzzle.


P.S.

As a 30-year-old city dweller with a dog and no kids, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the role of friendship in my life. Making friends is harder when you’re an adult: suddenly your days are full of commitments and there aren’t new, interesting people standing in front of you at recess. Worse yet, at least in a place like DC, where I live, friends tend to come and go with the seasons: they get new jobs, they go to grad school, they have babies. I’m curious to hear from readers who have discovered it: What’s your best advice for making new friends as an adult? And what are your tips for staying in touch with seniors as they move through life?

-Elaine


Stephanie Bai contributed to this newsletter.

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