The presidential candidates in both parties are still in the throes of their nomination contests, but a new report authored by veterans of past campaigns and conventions offers a clear warning to them all: If you haven’t already done so, start your vice-presidential selection process now.
Already, some of the campaigns have made preliminary steps to begin that process, but none appears very far along. As a result, two suggestions in the report are notable, given time pressures that could affect this year’s selections. One is to avoid any last-minute vetting of prospective candidates. The other calls on candidates to carve out time well ahead of their decision to get to know their prospective running mates.
— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) April 22, 2016
The report, issued under the auspices of the Bipartisan Policy Center, concludes that the process of vetting and selecting a vice-presidential running mate takes a full eight weeks. With the two political conventions convening in mid-to-late July, rather than at the end of August or early September as in the past two presidential elections, that suggests that the candidates are already up against the clock.
The report highlights the significance of picking a running mate. As recent vice presidents have played more central roles in presidential administrations, the process of picking them has become somewhat more orderly — but not always. The process remains in the hands of individual candidates with their own idiosyncrasies and political needs.