How to Think About a Running Mate

How to Think About a Running Mate
A Photo/Bob Daugherty, File

Vice-presidential nominees make a smaller electoral difference than most political professionals believe, but they matter more for governance than ever before—twin realities that presidential nominees should ponder as they choose their running mates.

As conventionally understood, vice-presidential nominees can serve a range of political purposes for the ticket. They can symbolize the presidential nominee’s desire to bring a divided party back together, as Ronald Reagan did in 1980 when he selected George H.W. Bush, who embodied the Republican Party’s defeated Eastern-establishment wing.

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