It was undeniable heading into the 2016 Democratic primary that there would be some talk about a potential Hillary Clinton/Bernie Sanders presidential ticket. Some people just like the thought and think that they would make a good administration, while others have suggested it as a way to quell some of the tension that’s grown over the last few months among Clinton and Sanders supporters.
On the surface it sounds like a good idea – but is it really?
Well, let’s take a look at 5 pros and cons to the possibility of a Clinton/Sanders ticket in 2016.
1. They’re both extremely popular within the party: Despite all the rhetoric swirling around on the Internet concerning each individual, they’re both highly respected among their peers, most liberals, and Democrats as a whole. The majority of Clinton and Sanders supporters like the other candidate and would support them in November. They’re also both very well-known names because of the primary so it’s not as if the American people would have to learn someone who might be fairly unknown. For instance, someone like HUD Secretary Julian Castro, who’s also been rumored to be on Clinton’s short list of possible VP picks.
2. They actually complement each other well: Sure, they have their differences – but who doesn’t? At least optically each candidate has strengths where the other has weaknesses. He’s much more charismatic and works crowds much better than she does, though he tends to let his emotion get the better of him from time to time. Meanwhile, she’s more of a “behind the scenes” person who’s more calculated, pragmatic and deliberate. But as both have said before, they agree on many more issues than they disagree on. I do believe the two could find some “common ground” on most policy differences.
3. It would give both the pragmatic left and the idealistic left representation in the White House: Right now one of the biggest battles going on among Clinton and Sanders supporters really breaks down to pragmatism vs. idealism. A Clinton/Sanders ticket would give both sides something to be hopeful about heading into this November. While Clinton would top the ticket, I think most would assume that Sanders would have definite influence within her administration.
4. It could help down-ballot Democrats a lot by increasing voter turnout: While the presidency gets the lion’s share of the attention, we can’t forget that the balance of power in Congress is on the line this year – especially in the Senate. Democrats stand a realistic chance to not only keep the White House, but also retake the majority in the Senate. I think a Clinton/Sanders ticket would lead to some rather large voter turnouts in most states which could benefit Democrats at all levels of government.
5. It would be nearly unbeatable: While not everyone would be onboard with this ticket, I think most would – and I think it would bring with it a level of excitement that Republicans would not be able to match. I’m not sure how realistic the idea really is, but I do think that if Democrats want a “sure thing” this November, a Clinton/Sanders ticket is the way to ensure that.
1. I’m not sure they could get along: While I do honestly believe the two have a lot of respect for one another, they both have very strong personalities. Their differences could potentially complement one another, but they could also lead to a lot of run-ins and conflict, as well. Whenever you bring two strong personalities together, you always run the risk of disagreements, tension and drama. How it’s handled would be the key to how successful they’d be working together.
2. Bernie Sanders’ popularity could possibly hurt Hillary Clinton: Clinton has a fairly substantial lead over Sanders and will ultimately win the Democratic nomination when it’s all said and done, but Sanders has amassed an extremely loyal, dedicated and vocal group of supporters. Even though Clinton would be at the top of the ticket, Sanders would probably draw bigger crowds and more enthusiastic supporters. That’s sort of what happens when you’re the “darling” of the youth vote and like catering to bigger events. So it could look bad during a general election for the candidate who won the nomination to seem less popular than her running mate.
3. Bernie Sanders still hasn’t really been vetted or attacked: Despite what many Sanders people believe, he’s gone fairly unscathed from the intense media scrutiny or attacks from Republicans. In fact, the GOP seems to be going out of its way to not attack him with the hope that he could have beaten Clinton because they view him as a much easier opponent. Not only that, but Clinton hasn’t really been able to go at him like she probably could have with someone less popular because that would have backfired greatly. So there’s still some uncertainty how the whole “self-described socialist” would play out once Republicans and their super PACs unleashed their attacks. I don’t believe it would be that big of a deal for a VP candidate, but there’s still a level of uncertainty there which needs to be taken into consideration.
4. It does nothing to help set up the party for the future: Often the reason why someone is chosen as a VP is to prepare them for a large future role within the party. But if you have a Clinton/Sanders ticket – that’s it. You’re not helping set anyone who’s younger up to be a force within the party or even a future presidential candidate. And, let’s face it, the Democratic party desperately needs some younger faces to take over the reigns and become more well-known leaders.
5. We’d be losing one of the best senators we have: While the VP gets a lot of attention during a campaign, the truth is, they don’t do a whole heck of a lot. As senator, Bernie Sanders can do much more than he could as vice president. So, with Sanders on Clinton’s ticket, we’d be losing one of our government’s best senators. In fact, I’ve argued that Sanders is actually much better suited for the Senate than he is the White House. He’s a fighter and a champion for a handful of positions about which he is extremely passionate. While he could do some good as VP – I think he could bring about much more change over the next few years as Senator Bernie Sanders as opposed to Vice President Bernie Sanders.
While there are clearly more issues I could have addressed, these are some of the main ones I think are worth discussing.
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