More than a year after the first presidential candidates announced their intention to run, the grueling, extended primary season is finally drawing to a close. Donald Trump is the only remaining Republican presidential candidate in the race, and he is almost certainly guaranteed the GOP nomination due to his significant delegate lead. On the Democratic side, it's clear that despite Bernie Sanders' best efforts, Hillary Clinton seems to have the convention just about locked up with her own impressive delegate count. Because of her strong performance throughout the primary season, the next focus is on when Clinton will announce her vice president.
If past campaigns are any indication, it shouldn't be too long until Clinton picks a VP. Based on past precedent, the candidates should announce their running mates in the weeks leading up to their respective conventions. Mitt Romney named Paul Ryan as his running mate just over two weeks before the 2012 Republican National Convention. In 2008, President Obama selected Vice President Joe Biden as his running mate over the weekend just before the convention.
The conventions are still about two months away — a tantalizingly long time to wait for any political junkie — but the long-reaching, potentially game-changing importance of the decision means the candidates could take a while to make their decisions.
The anticipation of the announcement is really all in the selection because it's still a big mystery for both candidates. Early on, there were talks of Clinton picking Julián Castro for VP, in hopes that the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development could help her carry the Latino vote. However, considering Trump's unfavorable ratings among Hispanics, that might not be the area where her campaign needs the most support. Clinton's own unfavorable ratings have spiked since her email scandal, and she might want to choose a candidate who counteracts that apparent suspicion the American people still have about her.
There is one interesting option left for Clinton that might solve all her problems and one that she tried to get rid of for months — Sanders. Picking a vice president that you've just spent months tearing down in the primary isn't always the strongest choice, but this seems like a do-or-die moment for the Democratic Party. Sanders hasn't ruled out being Clinton's VP, he said in a May interview with CNN, but his first priority is fighting for a more progressive party platform at the convention. If Clinton and Sanders can come together to compromise on a progressive platform, they might be able to unite the party and lock down the election.
The campaign season has been a long, slow burn, but as soon as the conventions start, it should be a complete whirlwind right up until Election Day. Once those vice presidential picks are announced, the real campaigning starts, and there's no more holds barred. Stay tuned for the announcements, which will hopefully come sooner rather than later.