Tuesday 06 Dec 2016

Helping Pick a VP
David Simmonds

Donald Trump has been all over the news for weeks. Yet, one thing that hasn’t been the subject of speculation, yet, is his choice for vice-presidential running mate. So how about we help him out a bit.


Ways to pick a Vice-president for Donald J Trump.

Before we do, we have to accept that there are different techniques of running mate selection and depending on which one he employs, the choices could vary wildly.

Most common is the ‘balance the ticket’ technique. The candidate will have been carefully chosen to have strength where the presidential candidate is weak. George Bush Sr picked Dan Quayle, for example, in an apparent attempt to appeal to younger voters who had skipped spelling class on the day they learned the common vegetables.

Whom would Trump pick to balance the ticket? It depends where you see his weakness lies. There are so many weaknesses from which to choose. Is it with southerners or evangelicals?

I suggest it lies most of all with women. We need to find Trump a relatively sensitive woman who can stand up to him on her own feet when appropriate, in the gutter if necessary. So the obvious choice, is it not, is Muppet icon, Miss Piggy, a femme fatale, martial arts diva and pioneer in contemporary inter-species marriage.

Another technique is to appoint a person from a disappointed faction of the party in order to generate a sense of enthusiastic unity and leave behind a bitter fight for the nomination. Gerald Ford selection of Nelson Rockefeller as his running mate comes to mind as an example. In this case, Trump might do well to consider Marco Rubio, once the darling of the ‘Republican establishment,’ but currently in mutual hatred with Trump. Trump could agree to take on Rubio, but then once elected give him the traditional VP role, to attend far flung foreign funerals and listen to Trump taunting him with variations on the “I’m president and you’re not” line.

A third technique is the opposite of the previous one. I call it the ‘play to your strength’ move, like southerner Bill Clinton did when he selected neighbouring southerner Al Gore as his running mate. If being a bombastic billionaire, with a flair for hamming it up is Trump’s strength, the obvious VP choice is World Wrestling entrepreneur, “Mr” Vince McMahon. Trump and McMahon go back a ways together and last year Trump sold the Miss USA pageant to McMahon; they are soul mates of a sort. It’s a particularly appropriate choice because Trump believes that politics, like wrestling, is fixed.

A fourth technique is the one employed by that past master of the sly move, Richard Nixon. Let’s call it the ‘weak link’ approach. Nixon, caught in an unguarded moment, explained why he chose the unremarkable Spiro Agnew as his running mate. Nixon stated his enemies, of whom there were many, wouldn’t dare impeach him while Agnew was on deck to succeed him. Nixon was right: Agnew pleaded no contest to tax evasion charges and resigned a year before Nixon.


Who is a worse candidate than the Donald?

Just who would be a worse presidential candidate than Trump himself? Fortunately, we only have to look as far as retired neurosurgeon and one time poll topper Dr Ben Carson, who has pulled out of the Republican presidential race and backed Trump and who seems to have studied the issues in even less depth than Trump.

My prediction is that none of the foregoing scenarios will play out. I think Trump doesn’t really want to be president as much as he wants to win the election to that office. He’ll be frustrated within a month about the things he cannot change with a snap of the fingers and a barked “you’re fired.”

Still, Trump is smart enough to foresee that. Thus, here’s what I think will happen. Trump will resign shortly after taking the oath of office, having made himself a great deal for secret service protection for life and a presidential library in every Trump Tower. He’ll show some sense of respect for the office by choosing someone who is credible enough to succeed him; who can be Harry Truman, if you will, to his Franklin Roosevelt.

So just who would that be? I’d venture it will not be Mitt Romney or Chris Christie or any fellow Republican. Trump will try to stick it to the people who he perceives have been trying to deny him his shot at the presidency. He’ll go outside the party to find someone with gravitas and perhaps even experience at running for president.

Trump will pick someone who has publicly used the potato chip as a metaphor. H Ross Perot, who is not to be confused with the great Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, who is not a natural born American and therefore ineligible, comes to mind. Perot twice ran for president; he seems as a beacon of common sense compared to today’s crop of candidates.  


Here's hoping the Donald wins, otherwise I wasted a column.

Here’s hoping you win the nomination, Donald J Trump; otherwise, I’ve wasted an entire column. I hope this helps you make your vice-presidential choice.

Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment. What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue. David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Mike Barnacle, Jimmy Breslin, the late Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.

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