Category Archives: History

Revamping the VP Nomination Process

Credit: AP
Credit: AP

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.

Continue reading Revamping the VP Nomination Process

Loser Presidents

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 In today’s political arena, being the losing nominee is a virtual political death sentence. John Kerry will not be the man for the Democrats in 2016, nor will John McCain be so for the Republicans. Few politicians have come close to winning the coveted prize, but have fallen away, only to return and take it at a later date. The American public, despite its almost rabid adoration for David and Goliath scenarios, simply hates losers. Nominees-or near nominees-who fail their parties are never even slightly considered for the Presidential ticket ever again. Too much dirt has been dug up, and the other side has already rehearsed its lines well. If the American voters reject a politician once, then why would they suddenly embrace the same candidate four, eight, twelve years later? Things used to be different. Few liberals or conservatives recognize that their deified standard bearers-Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan-weren’t as flawless when reaching for the highest office in the land. The past three Presidents have only run once-the time they were elected. But for some of America’s most revered leaders, the second time was the charm. Continue reading Loser Presidents