And the winner is…
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Now that Senator Cruz and Governor Kasich have dropped out of the GOP presidential race following the Indiana primary, Donald Trump can now make plans to move forward as the presumptive nominee. Actually, Trump had it in the bag all along as he had a lock on all of the remaining primaries, contrary to what the media told us.
There are three things for the Trump camp to address prior to the convention in July:
1. Secure the 1,237 delegates needed to win on the first ballot. Trump cannot leave anything to chance as he still has enemies within the party bent on stopping him. The reality though, Trump will end up with approximately 1,500 delegates.
2. Form a strategy to combat the Democratic nominee, either Mrs. Clinton or Sen. Sanders. Should the Socialist Senator from Vermont be the nominee, Trump will easily clinch election. The Clinton camp is another story though and will be treacherous.
3. Select a running mate.
Choosing a Vice Presidential candidate is a bit tricky as this will reflect the candidate’s ability to make decisions. Trump will consider three types of candidates: former rivals, consiglieres, and dark horses.
FORMER RIVALS – Of the 16 other candidates who ran for the Republican nomination, only five have been mentioned for possible running mate: Senator Ted Cruz, Governor John Kasich, Governor Chris Christie, and Senator Marco Rubio. Cruz will not get the nod, not just because of his volatile relationship with Trump, but because his sealed birth records hang over him like the sword of Damocles. Kasich is qualified, but his skills would be better put to use as Secretary of the Treasury. The same is true with Christie who would make an effective Attorney General. Ben Carson would also be a good candidate, but he will likely end up as Secretary of Health and Human Services. The best candidate in this grouping is Rubio who would appeal to Latino voters, conservatives, and youth.
As an aside, in 1860 Lincoln’s presidential rivals ultimately became his cabinet. Today, Trump is sitting on a wealth of similar talent who will form his cabinet.
CONSIGLIERES – Dick Cheney offered sage advice to President George W. Bush. As an outsider in Washington, Trump could also use such insight. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani would be good, but his talents will be used as Secretary of Homeland Security. The only person who fits the bill here is former Speaker Newt Gingrich who not only understands the Congress inside and out, but has a strong sense of history. As an adviser, there would be none better.
DARK HORSES – George H.W. Bush surprised everyone when he selected Sen. Dan Quayle of Indiana as his VP. Unfortunately, the press went for his jugular to discredit him. A competent dark horse candidate can represent the president without taking up too much of the spotlight. One such person would be Senator John Thune of South Dakota, a conservative with a strong background in business, including an MBA degree. Thune is polished and would be an asset to Mr. Trump.
THOSE THAT ARE OUT – Some political rivals will likely not be asked to participate because of their toxic relationship with Trump, such as Sen. Rand Paul, former Gov. Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, and Mitt Romney.
There is no hurry for Trump to name his running mate. He may very well wait until the Cleveland convention to make his announcement, but I think it will come just prior to the convention in order to attract more attention from the media.
So, who would I pick? As much as I like Newt, it will likely go to Rubio. More than anything, Trump needs votes, and Rubio’s youth and Latino background will be sorely needed. As for Gingrich, I cannot think of a better chief-of-staff.
Keep the Faith!