Terror and desire in race to be running mate for Trump and Clinton

Republicans: Many decline to be considered for the job

(From left): Nikki Haley, John Kasich and Marco Rubio. PHOTOS: AFP, REUTERS

WASHINGTON • Mr Donald Trump's claims, controversies and constant criticism of leaders in the Republican party may be drastically reducing his range of options for a vice-presidential running mate.

Influential political magazine Politico says Mr Trump has bashed star Republican Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico and ignored the advice of senators like Mr Bob Corker of Tennessee, who might have brought valuable foreign policy and congressional experience to his ticket.

It adds that Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who dropped out of the Republican primary campaign in the face of Mr Trump's rise, has ruled himself out.

Another rival of Mr Trump's for the nomination, Governor John Kasich, who might have appealed to voters in his home state of Ohio as well as eased tensions with the party establishment, is not supporting the presumptive nominee.

Almost a third of likely Trump voters, surveyed in the latest Bloomberg Politics national poll, support former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, 72, a presidential candidate in 2012, as the best pick. 

Mr Rubio is selected by about a quarter of Trump supporters, according to the Bloomberg poll, followed by Mr Kasich.

Politico said Republican sources say the likeliest choice, apart from Mr Gingrich, is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, another rival of Mr Trump's for the nomination.

Both have the political experience Mr Trump lacks, said Politico, which adds that there is another, simpler reason why these two men have emerged as finalists: They actually want the job.

Politico says respected Republican figures who might improve Mr Trump's poor standing among women and minorities, such as South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, have ruled themselves out.

But Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has said she is willing to join the ticket and could help Mr Trump with women, three-quarters of whom disapprove of him, according to an ABC News poll.

Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina could bring diversity, as the sole African-American Republican senator, backing Mr Trump despite calling his criticism of a judge with Mexican roots "racially toxic".

Democrats: Candidates lining up to audition for the job

(From left): Thomas Perez, Elizabeth Warren and Julian Castro. PHOTOS: AFP, REUTERS

WASHINGTON • Ambitious Democrats have started to audition as their presumptive presidential nominee Hillary Clinton considers her choice of running mate.

There is much for Mrs. Clinton to consider, including competence, agreement on policy and geography. Yet her advisers and those who have gone through the process emphasise an equally important, if more elusive, quality: chemistry.

She needs a No. 2 who can ease into the insular Clinton orbit, and who could help present a joyful picture, after a dreary primary season.

"When the chemistry works, it communicates enthusiasm and a team and the likelihood of success and progress," said Mr Michael Feldman, an aide to former vice-president Al Gore. "But it can't be an arranged marriage with someone she meshes well with on paper."

The contenders most often mentioned include Mr Thomas Perez, President Barack Obama's Labour Secretary and a Hispanic civil rights lawyer. Advisers say Mrs Clinton has relished policy conversations with Mr Perez, a union favourite.

Others include Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado; Representative Xavier Becerra of California; and Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, both former governors of Virginia. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is a favourite of liberal Democrats, though an all-female ticket is unlikely.

And there are others who appear to have the "chemistry" factor.

In Texas recently, Mrs Clinton seemed to light up in the presence of Mr Julián Castro, the Secretary of Housing in the Obama administration. She grabbed his hand and thrust it skyward at a rally. Photos of Mrs Clinton, 68, and Mr Castro, 41, turned out so well that cable networks often show them.

And there are others who appear to have the "chemistry" factor.

In Ohio, Representative Tim Ryan and Mrs Clinton made a surprise visit to a pub, Mrs Clinton leaning comfortably on the bar next to Mr Ryan and smiling widely. Also in Ohio, Mrs Clinton warmly embraced Senator Sherrod Brown, whose policy expertise Mrs Clinton has said she admires.

"Her body is leaning into his, and she never leans into anybody. She adores that guy," body language expert Lillian Glass said.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2016, with the headline 'Many decline to be considered for the job'. Print Edition | Subscribe