Hillary Clinton is now just over 100 delegates away from locking up the nomination, and the rumor mill is working overtime on her vice presidential pick. Dozens of names have been thrown out, many of which would make stellar VPs and strong choices for Clinton's ticket. However, one name that has been talked about a lot might actually be the worst vice presidential pick the Clinton campaign could make: her current rival Bernie Sanders.
On the surface, choosing Sanders seems like a great idea. It would unite the party, make Clinton look magnanimous, and provide a restorative end to a long, tough campaign. But there are a few issues that clearly show why Sanders isn't the best bet. First, choosing him would mean actually acknowledging that there is a rift within the Democratic Party between liberals and progressives. Clinton might have to more directly address some of the criticisms from Sanders supporters who think she doesn't lean far enough to the left, and Sanders fans may have trouble adjusting to the idea of him being second-in-command. Presenting a unified image will take work that wouldn't be necessary with a different running mate.
Second, Sanders doesn't balance the ticket as well as Clinton's other possibilities. Clinton's best option is to choose someone from a swing state in order to stack the deck in her favor, and Vermont hasn't voted Republican since 1988. This year's election map looks like a bad bruise, and Clinton needs all the help she can get to cover her bases. Sanders just doesn't deliver that.
Finally, choosing Sanders might appease progressives, but Clinton seems to already be adopting more progressive platforms on her own. She recently announced that she was changing her position on expanding Medicare, a huge step to the left and much closer to Sanders' "Medicare for all" plan. Last month, she amended her position on a $15 minimum wage, bringing her closer in line with Sanders' proposals. Clinton is clearly picking up on the fact that there is a massive progressive moment within the Democratic Party and is trying to cater to those voters — a goal she can achieve without having to choose Sanders as her vice president. Therefore, the position's open to someone who has some other asset to bring to the table.
All that being said, Sanders wouldn't be a bad choice; just definitely not the best one. The general election looks to be nail-bitingly close, and Clinton needs every advantage to make sure she locks up the presidency. Sanders would do well in myriad other positions, but it doesn't seem that he could best serve the country or the de facto leader of the party as vice president.