Although some candidates haven’t yet given up hope on turning things around before the convention, the nominations for the Democratic and Republican parties are pretty much set by now. Delegate math indicates that Hillary Clinton will go head to head with Donald Trump in November, which means it's time for the candidates and the electorate to start thinking about vice presidential candidates. Donald Trump has several potential vice presidential candidates to choose from, and whoever joins the ticket could make or break the election in the fall.
Update #1: Following his massive loss at the Indiana primary, Ted Cruz has dropped out of the GOP race. Will he become Trump's selection for Vice President? Perhaps. We'll have to wait and see.
Update #2: John Kasich will also drop out of the presidential race later Wednesday, NBC reports. Trump told the New York Times that former candidate Ben Carson will head up the committee seeking to find his vice-presidential candidate.
Earlier: Vice presidents typically have a reputation for being figureheads — relatively useless sidekicks who don’t have much to do. This isn’t always true, as in the case of Joe Biden, who has been one of the most active and influential vice presidents in history. However, Trump does exactly seem like the type to share the spotlight, so it’s questionable as to whether he’ll want a more active vice president or he’ll want to return the role to its more ceremonial purpose.
The problem there is that Trump has some serious image issues, such as sexism and xenophobia, that need a strong fix to solve his problems with the electorate. If he’s serious about winning the White House, he’s got to cede some of that power and attention to his running mate in order to make himself more attractive as a candidate. Whether or not he can do that may determine the ultimate success of his campaign, which is why Trump’s choice of a running mate is so important.
1) Susana Martinez
The Latina New Mexico governor could be a huge benefit to Trump's campaign, helping him with some of the demographics in which he struggles the most (i.e. Latinxs and women). Martinez actually endorsed Marco Rubio back when he was still in the race, but she might come around to Trump's ticket if offered sufficient influence over policy.
2) Joe Scarborough
Before his career in television, the Morning Joe host served as a U.S. Representative from Florida, so he's not only got name recognition, but the experience to back it up. There are some sticky implications behind this potential choice, given that Scarborough has been a prominent member of the media for several years, but it's definitely not out of the question, at least for Scarborough.
3) Ben Carson
Although Carson's largely dropped out of the limelight after his failed bid at the nomination, he might consider coming back into the political area to support his friend and endorsee. Carson's popularity in the early days of primary season means he could be a solid choice to unite the party around the ticket.
4) Tom Ridge
The head of Homeland Security could be a crucial part of any candidate's plan to defeat ISIS and stabilize the Middle East. It's also a somewhat sneaky way to get a Washington insider on Trump's ticket without looking like he's selling out. Ridge endorsed John Kasich in February, so it would be an uphill climb for Trump to bring him onto the ticket, but it would be a great supplement to Trump's lack of foreign policy experience.
5) Joni Ernst
The first term senator from Iowa was elected in a populist wave similar to the one sweeping Trump towards the nomination, so she should be able to appeal to Trump's base very easily. Although Ernst has been critical of Trump's comments on women, he needs the Midwest and she could benefit from a seat at the right hand. Most of all, the symbiotic relationship could balance the ticket and incentivize some voters who are anti-Trump to cast their ballots anyway.
6) Newt Gingrich
Gingrich has been an outspoken Trump supporter for several months now, and he has the experience to make the ticket competitive and attractive to those who need a little more political qualification from their presidential team. Plus, Gingrich did relatively well in his own populist battle for the nomination in 2008, so he has the strategic expertise to bring fresh insight to the campaign.
7) Chris Christie
At this point, if Christie isn't Trump's VP pick, his political career might be over. His approval ratings have bottomed out since his Trump endorsement, and he likely has no chance of winning the governorship again, especially if he faced a challenge from Senator Cory Booker. If Trump actually gives Christie the opportunity to show his personality and develop an image as a vice president, it could be a very charismatic and convincing ticket.
As the country anxiously waits for the election, the vice presidential candidates could end up deciding this race.