Donald Trump’s shortlist for VP looks like just another communications and demographic nightmare for the GOP. The main candidates that we know of so far appear to be Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich and now appears to include Indiana governor Mike Pence:
According to two Republicans familiar with the meeting, the conversation between Trump and Pence lasted for more than an hour, and the governor was joined by his wife, Karen, as he visited with the real-estate mogul.
One person described the session as “warm and friendly,” while the other called it a “getting to know you thing, a chance for both of them to connect.” They both noted that the presence of Karen Pence is probably a sign that the Pence family is comfortable with the prospect of the Republican governor joining the ticket, although they said they have not spoken with her.
Both people spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss their knowledge of the meeting, the location of which had been closely guarded for days.
Pence’s stock has been rising in Trump’s orbit, they said, describing him as respected by the candidate, despite Pence’s endorsement of Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) in the Republican primary.
Trump’s camp says that he will pick a running mate before the convention. That would be common sense. Less commonsensical is Trump’s shortlist of older white male Republican government types as VP. Even Trump must realize at this point that political appeals to older white men won’t be enough to win him the election. He has to expand his base to have a prayer of winning that doesn’t depend on Hillary Clinton self-imploding.
Trump could try to win votes by expanding demographically by picking a woman or minority. The challenge for him there is that he has alienated most of the reasonably potential choices, from Nikki Haley to Meg Whitman. He could try to expand the map geographically by choosing someone from the midwestern states like Ohio and Wisconsin.
Or he could use the vice-president slot to communicate that he’s not your typical Republican politician by selecting someone from the business community, perhaps a tech entrepreneur.
But it’s not at all clear what Trump stands to gain from picking someone like Christie, Gingrich or Pence. The voters to whom those figures appeal, Trump already has. And that won’t be enough for him in November.