Should former President Donald Trump prevail in his bid to become the first president since Grover Cleveland to win two non-consecutive terms as president, he will need someone who is competent and could step into the presidency if he is incapacitated.
Trump will be 78 years old if he wins a second term in office. By all evidence, Trump retains his mental faculties, but like President Joe Biden he is advanced in age. He would be 80 at the end of his second term.
That makes him picking a running mate who could step into the presidency even more important. He chose Mike Pence as his running mate because he needed someone who had mainstream credibility with Republican donors and politicians. Pence also was soft-spoken and would not overshadow him.
Trump likely will be looking for someone who shares his vision. The 2024 election is shaping up to be a rematch of 2020 and the fact Trump and Biden both are elderly
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin has had a largely successful term. He had been rumored to have considered running for president in 2024 but never polled above 1%. Youngkin won with female suburban voters who have trended Democrat and among whom Trump polls poorly.
His state has trended strongly Democratic in recent years. Trump lost Virginia to Hillary Clinton in 2016, and Joe Biden won there in 2020. Youngkin has consistently run over 50% in the polls.
He came into office on the heels of the parental revolt over pornographic literature in public school libraries and the failure of the incumbent Democratic administration to respect parental rights.
Youngkin won in 2021 with strong support from Trump and from Trump voters.
Picking Youngkin would give Trump a strong voice in a state with a powerful Democratic Party constituency who won with demographics that Trump struggled with.
He would also not overshadow Trump unlike someone like Gov. Ron DeSantis who is Trump’s main challenger for the Republican nomination. Trump needs someone who can be his biggest cheerleader and who has a proven track record for success. Youngkin is term-limited and would be a good choice for working with parts of the Republican Party where Trump struggles.
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has been accused by former National Security Adviser John Bolton of actually running for vice president instead of president. Haley declared her candidacy for president in February.
She has so far been left alone by Trump amid his constant sparring with DeSantis. She has avoided coming out strong against her former boss. Haley initially was a strong critic of Trump before joining his administration.
Haley has largely held her punches, perhaps hoping that Trump would pick her. Like Vice President Kamala Harris, she is both a woman and a minority, being of shared Indian ancestry.
She has saved her ire for President Joe Biden, particularly with the border issue.
“… Shame on you because you are putting every single American at risk. This is a national security threat… this is your job, your job is to protect the American people. You’re not doing it, you don’t deserve to be president,” Haley said in an interview with Fox News last month as having said during a press conference along the Mexican border, adding that what she’s witnessed has been a “dereliction of duty.”
Haley continued: “I don’t know why the Democrats are allowing him to run,” she continued. “We can’t allow this to continue to happen. Biden thinks if he doesn’t talk about it, it doesn’t exist. But for the people now in Hondo, Texas, for the people here now in Del Rio, it does exist every day. And now it is in every state in the country.”
Haley’s background as a former governor combined with her comparative youth could make her an attractive vice-presidential choice for Trump. She also is a team player, which Trump would be looking for.
Whoever Trump chooses would need to work well with him and be able to not overshadow him. Both Youngkin and Haley are strong contenders in that realm.