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A Republican Running Mate for Clinton

An editorial by Professor of Political Science Iva Deutchman was recently featured in the Daily Messenger. In the article titled “A Republican running mate could bode well for Hillary Clinton,” Deutchman discusses the possibility of Clinton choosing a Republican male running mate in order to garner Republican support, specifically from those who have said “they will not and cannot support Trump.”

An expert on contemporary conservative U.S. politics, Deutchman proposes Mark Kirk, a Republican senator from Illinois, as a potential running mate for Clinton, creating a bipartisan ticket for the 2016 presidential election. “With a military background and as a self-described fiscal conservative and social moderate, Kirk, or someone like him, may provide the balance Clinton needs to win by a landslide,” wrote Deutchman.

Deutchman earned her Ph.D. and master’s degree in political science from the University of Pennsylvania, and has more than 20 articles published in relevant journals, including the “International Feminist Journal of Politics,” “Media Culture & Society” and “Women and Politics.” She is frequently featured in national and local news media.

The full article follows:

Daily Messenger

A Republican running mate could bode well for Hillary Clinton

By Iva Deutchman

June 19, 2016

Canandaigua, N.Y.

Now that Secretary Hillary Clinton has essentially secured the Democratic nomination, she faces what could be the defining decision of her presidential bid – the selection of a running mate. With so many Republicans convinced that Donald Trump should not be their party’s nominee, and with some publically stating they will not vote for him, Clinton has before her a potentially wonderful opportunity, one that has rarely been available to any presidential candidate in this history of our nation.

Often, candidates choose running mates to make up for their own defects, or to broaden their appeal to other parts of the electorate. One older example is a young and East Coast John F. Kennedy choosing an older, Southern running mate like Lyndon B. Johnson. More recently, Obama (Illinois, African-American and relatively new to the Senate) chose Joe Biden (Delaware, white and a lifetime in politics). So here is my proposal to Clinton: forget Elizabeth Warren (another woman, and Clinton will do fine with female voters) or Corey Booker (Clinton has already proven she can secure African-American voters). Instead, choose a Republican male.

Give some of the Republicans who have said they will not and cannot support Trump someplace to go. No, this won’t make Clinton perfect (in their eyes), but she would get a lot of credit for reaching out to them and saying: “We hear you. We agree with you. Donald Trump is awful. And here’s our answer. Come with us and join us, at least in 2016.”

One idea for a potential vice presidential candidate is Mark Kirk, currently a senator from Illinois. Kirk recently came out publicly to say he will not, and cannot, support Trump. With a military background and as a self-described fiscal conservative and social moderate, Kirk, or someone like him, may provide the balance Clinton needs to win by a landslide. He may be more conservative than Clinton, but that is not unusual. Vice presidents and presidents don’t always agree on every issue and aren’t supposed to. That’s not the point. That he is socially moderate is a big plus for him on the Clinton ticket as he won’t raise troublesome issues about women’s rights or abortion.

There are probably other Republican men we could audition for the vice presidential role. But the point I want to stress is that having a viable Republican on the ballot is critical given Trump’s lack of popularity with the Republican base. A move like this by Clinton has another major benefit. We are living in a time where politics has become extremely polarized. And many people are understandably turned off to a political system where both sides are saying, “my way or the highway.” How wonderful would it be to see a bipartisan ticket in 2016? Where the candidates could even say, “no, we don’t agree on everything, but we can work things out. We can learn from one another. We can – compromise!” Imagine such a thing: compromise in 2016!

So, Clinton, show the public what you and I both know: It takes a woman to do something so smart and so unexpected.

Iva Deutchman is a professor of political science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.