This Former Candidate Wants Bernie Sanders As Hillary Clinton's Vice President
Do you remember Lincoln Chafee? If you've been a close follower of the 2016 presidential primaries, your answer is probably "yes." If you've been a casual observer, though, your answer is probably "maybe," and if you haven't been plugged in at all, a resounding "nah." Well, in case you're in the latter group, Chafee is a former senator and governor of Rhode Island, and he ran for the Democratic nomination this year, never gaining an inch of ground. But now he's got some ideas for Hillary Clinton's ticket ― Lincoln Chafee wants Hillary to pick Bernie for VP, telling CNN it'd be a "fabulous message of unification."
Now, look, I know what you might be thinking: who exactly cares about Chafee's opinions on Clinton's presidential ticket? In case you missed it at the time, Chafee was perhaps the most hapless and hopeless-seeming of the five Democratic candidates ― moreso than Jim Webb, who was forceful on the topic of his speaking time, at least, and much moreso than Martin O'Malley, who comported himself with a sort of desperate, tired-eyed dignity the whole way through. Maybe the moment Chafee is most remembered for? When Clinton declined even to engage with him on the topic of her email scandal.
Basically, he doesn't seem like the kind of person she'd be consulting with for her VP hunt. But the idea he's putting forward has been tossed around before, and it makes an undeniable kind of sense — put Sanders on the ticket, consolidate his supporters with Clinton's, and cruise to victory in November, right?
It sounds like a fantastic idea on paper, or at least a credible one, but it's probably not going to happen. At least, not if history is any judge ― in the aftermath of contentious primary races, there's often a thirst for a "unity ticket," bringing the top two finishers together onto one ticket.
But in reality, it hardly ever happens that way. Back in 2008, some Democrats clamored for Clinton to get the VP slot alongside then-Senator Barack Obama, but it didn't ultimately take ― Obama made a less-heralded, lower-risk pick in Joe Biden. Similarly, Al Gore didn't pick Bill Bradley in 2000, nor did Bill Clinton pick Jerry Brown in 1992 (for the obvious reason that they clearly, publicly hated each other). The Republicans over that time didn't give the unity ticket a shot either ― Paul Ryan, Dick Cheney, Jack Kemp and Dan Quayle didn't even run for president in the years they were ultimately picked for VP.
If you're a Bernie-for-VP person and you're looking for a ray of hope, however, there is one solitary example of this in the last 30 years that you can cling on to ― in 2004, Democratic nominee John Kerry selected John Edwards, who'd finished second in the pledged delegate race, albeit a far more distant second than Sanders placed against Clinton.
Basically, if you're looking for a progressive Democrat in the Sanders mold who might reasonably be tapped as VP, you should probably be looking elsewhere ― Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren has gotten a lot of coverage for her searingly effective attacks on Republican nominee Donald Trump, for example, and her economic message is pretty simpatico with Sanders'. That's not to say Clinton couldn't leave the past in the past and partner up with Sanders, but there's little reason to think she's seriously considering it.