Vice Presidential Picks Part of US Election Strategies

WASHINGTON — When U.S. voters choose a presidential candidate, they get a vice president as part of the package. There are several key factors that go into picking a vice presidential candidate.

“I have selected this man to be my running mate because I want to change Washington and get America back on track,” said 2012 Republican Presidential contender Mitt Romney, unveiling his choice for vice president, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan.  

Together, they form what’s called “the November election ticket.”

Selecting the right running mate

U.S. voters mark their November election ballots for two people running together on a political party's White House ticket: one for president, the other, for vice president. Tradition holds that the presidential candidate chooses his own running mate.

So, what's the value of the vice presidential candidate?

"It's to boost election chances, where even a small advantage you might get could translate into a lot of electoral votes," said George Mason University's Robert Dudley.

Along with having voter appeal, the vice president also needs to know well the levers of power in the federal government. That is because most presidential candidates in recent decades have not been Washington “insiders.”

Insider's know-how

In 1980, Republican outsider Ronald Reagan chose a very experienced Washingtonian, former ambassador and CIA Director George Herbert Walker Bush, as his vice president.

In 1992, Democratic Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton chose insider Senator Al Gore.

Eight years later, Republican Texas Governor George W. Bush picked former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney.

In 2008, a relatively new-to-Washington Senator Barack Obama selected a seasoned Washington veteran, Senator Joe Biden. Obama and Biden remain the Democratic Party's White House ticket in 2012.

Attracting new demographics

The vice presidential slot has also been used to bridge generations, or to transition between them. When the senior George Bush ran for the White House in 1988, he chose a much younger Senator Dan Quayle as his running mate to appeal to the so-called "baby boom" generation born after the end of World War II. Both Clinton and Gore, incidentally, were baby boomers.
 
The 1984 Democratic team of Senator Walter Mondale and Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro marked the first time a major party had ever nominated a woman.

In 2008, Republicans chose their first female V.P. candidate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

Once the election is over, the new vice president’s official duty is to ceremonially preside over the Senate and cast a tie-breaking vote when needed. The vice president also needs to be ready to assume the presidency should death or some other reason vacate the Oval Office.

Jeffrey Young

Jeffrey Young came to the “Corruption” beat after years of doing news analysis, primarily on global strategic issues such as nuclear proliferation.  During most of 2013, he was on special assignment in Baghdad and elsewhere with the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR).  Previous VOA activities include VOA-TV, where he created the “How America Works” and “How America Elects” series, and the “Focus” news analysis unit.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Neil from: San Jose, CA
August 13, 2012 5:35 PM
Actually, a Vice President is not responsible to "ceremonially preside" over the Senate, but he responsible to preside over the Senate according to the constitution. Most usually will delegate the responsibility. However, the chore of this belongs to the Vice President first.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs