When John Nance Garner, an American vice president in the 1930’s, described that office as “not worth a bucket of warm spit,” he had little idea of just how important the job would be today. From a policy perspective, the vice presidency is undoubtedly significant. Writing for the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics blog, Joel K. Goldstein argued that “the modern vice presidency has grown into a robust political office. It has its unique frustrations, but…those who have served in the second office have had extraordinary opportunities to contribute to the making and implementation of public policy on a national and international level.”
In addition to the influence that vice presidents have on policy in America, the aspect more commonly associated with the office isn’t even the office itself; it is the role of candidates for the office. Many times, the choice of a vice presidential running mate has helped a nominee for the Oval Office secure electoral victory, as an article by NPR‘s Ken Rudin demonstrates. And the vice presidency, even the nomination for the office, often serves as a political stepping stone to the top job. Since 1976, four vice presidential candidates have gone on to become nominees for the presidency. So, from both a policy perspective and an electoral perspective, the office of vice president is quite significant.