Nobody runs for VP. They support the ticket in elections and run interference when in office. Donald Trump should change that paradigm. He would be the perfect counterpart for most of the GOP candidates.
The reason that Trump is making such a splash in the early election news cycle isn’t just because he’s controversial. He is doing two things that make him appealing across the board for journalists and taste makers: he’s saying things that many conservatives want a candidate to say and he’s making waves for liberals that distract from the shortcomings of their candidates, particularly Hillary Clinton. The latter was astutely noticed by MSNBC of all venues:
Donald Trump cannot be President. I know that many who support him now don’t want to hear that, but in the long term he will not be able to bring in enough states in order to win a general election. Despite how well he’s doing in current polls, he will not be able to win the nomination barring some major change in the calculus. While some are calling him a sideshow, I believe he’s more than that. He might not have enough going for him to win the nomination or the general election, but he has enough to help someone win.
In other words, he’s ideal for Vice President to a conservative candidate such as Ted Cruz or Scott Walker.
It has happened before when a run was made for a nomination with hopes of establishing support and credentials for a cabinet post or running mate status. This is different. Trump can do better than Sarah Palin did while running with John McCain in 2008. He can pull in votes that make sense in a contrast to a conservative candidate.
That’s what he should do. Here’s what he shouldn’t do. He should not even threaten to run as a third-party candidate. While some may view it as a way to run simultaneous Presidential campaigns while positioning to be someone’s running mate, there are too many risks for someone who will likely attack the GOP candidate in such a case.
This can drag out and probably will, but in the end he is pragmatic and will not push the boundaries all the way to a drawn out conclusion. Once he realizes that his chances are too slim to win the primary, he should immediately shift to supporting the candidate who is likely to win. Then, when the candidacy is announced, he should come out as the running mate.
It all sounds far-fetched because it is. That doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t work beautifully.