Should a VP be one person’s choice?

posted by
July 25, 2016
Foundation for Economic Education
by Lawrence W Reed  
Posted in Commentary

"Irvine Luther Lenroot, a Wisconsin 'progressive,' was Warren Harding's personal pick to be his vice presidential running mate on the GOP ticket in 1920. Harding favored Lenroot for ideological balance but the party's conventioneers had another (and much better) idea. At the last minute, a delegate from Oregon nominated Calvin Coolidge of Massachusetts. With Harding and the party bosses absent (they left town, figuring the convention would dutifully ratify their selection), the independent-minded delegates approved Coolidge on the first ballot instead. ... For Democrats meeting in Philadelphia this week: You've been told you should ratify one woman's choice for a running mate. But if you dumped him, it wouldn't be the first time something like that happened at a national convention." (07/24/16)  

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  • dL

    Well, it usually works out to be that way even if you institutionally put in place measures to not make it that way.

    • Yes, it does usually work out that way … but rather than putting in institutional measures to make it not that way, the major parties have put in place institutional measures to keep it that way.

      For example, at the Democratic National Convention (at least as of 2004, when Howard Dean’s supporters hoped to put his name up for VP versus that of Kerry’s choice, John Edwards), the delegate support bar for being allowed to be CONSIDERED is very high … high enough that the presidential candidate is almost certain to be able to prevent it by asking his supporters to poll for his choice.

      • dL


        I was actually referring to the LP in that respect. While I don’t dispute your assessment of the institutional shenanigans re: the two major parties, I don’t think it is really necessary. If the Presidential nominee expresses a clear preference for a vice prez candidate, that preference will usually be assented to by vote. In practice, mere formality would be the only difference between announcing the pick and announcing the preference for the pick.

        • dL

          To amend my remarks: the only time where it would perhaps not be a mere formality would be in the case of an upset(e.g., say Sanders had beaten Clinton). In that event, it could happen where the delegates select someone other than prez candidate’s preference as means to “balance” the ticket against the nominee’s preference.

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