Democrats across America have to be ecstatic about the campaign for the nomination of their party. Record turnouts, well financed campaigns among the frontrunners, an impressive array of candidates, and the identification of issues that resonate with the electorate all contribute to make this a dream campaign. The current showdown between Clinton and Obama only add to the drama and the excitement of an already memorable race.
Many Democrats have openly expressed the wish these two candidates become the Democratic ticket in November. In my view, this is wishful thinking and would be a less-than-desirable outcome. Both candidates need running mates that correct weaknesses in their respective candidacies. Clinton needs a running mate who is likable, appeals to independents and brings a geographical balance. It is possible after this campaign that she may need to look for a candidate who also plays to certain demographics. And we must not forget being able to live in the shadow of Bill!
Obama needs a running mate who has experience and has played an executive role in government. Obama’s strengths with independents, various demographic groups and his performance in “Red states” requires a candidate less inspirational than he, but reassuring to an electorate that will be choosing a president in times of uncertainty and risk. We must not forget the Republican opponent: the experienced John McCain.
This campaign has been long and arduous and it will leave scars. The recent attacks by Clinton on Obama will be used by the Republicans in the fall election should Obama win the nomination. It is also clear from the debates that Obama has labeled Clinton as the candidate of the status quo and the past. It would be difficult for Obama to maintain the momentum of transformational change by asking Mrs. Clinton to be his running mate. Hillary Clinton cannot suddenly choose Obama as the man who will be standing a heartbeat from the presidency when she has labeled him as untested as George W. Bush was in 2000. So we may be observing a dream campaign but we are nowhere close to the dream ticket.