Tomorrow, at long last, we find out who Donald Trump’s running mate will be. Speculation is abounding: will we get a red state, conservative governor in Mike Pence? A former Speaker of the House in Newt Gingrich? A more liberal Republican like Chris Christie? We could even get a pro-choice Democrat in General Michael Flynn! Who will emerge from Trump’s board room the victor and be named
executive director of Trump Vodka the Republican nominee for Vice President of the United States?
Well, what does it really matter?
Much like his other business ventures, Trump’s candidacy to this point has exclusively revolved around the gilded infamy that is the Trump brand. His most fervent supporters would have it no other way, as they have dutifully defended each of his platform’s tumultuous twists and turns, making it abundantly clear that their vote is for a man, not for any particular set of principles. Those who have reluctantly settled in behind Trump as a way of blocking Hillary Clinton from reaching the Oval Office will also not be perturbed by his selection, as their vote for prevention is very much locked in. And for the conservatives who have thus far refused membership in Trump: Republican Party, it’s unlikely that anyone apart from the ghost of Reagan himself could change their minds.
Candidates, of course, generally select their running mate based on perceived inadequacies in their own campaigns. John McCain put Sarah Palin on the ticket as a means of pulling his moderate candidacy more to the right. Barack Obama chose Joe Biden in order to address concerns on his youth and inexperience. By contrast, Mitt Romney went with Paul Ryan to add a certain young, intellectual bravado to his campaign.
But what could one person hope to add to a ticket built entirely around the celebrity and personality of one man?
This is the price of building a campaign around a person rather than principles and ideas. Trump has long past peak exposure and it’s fair to say that the vast majority of the American public has already made up their minds on whether or not they can bring themselves to cast a vote for Trump in November. Any amount of conservative, moderate, or liberal influence will do next to nothing to convince anyone of Trump’s viability as a potential Commander in Chief. No running mate can hope to make the idea of a Trump presidency more or less palatable.
Furthermore, let’s not forget that we are talking about a man who once proclaimed that he was his own closest advisor and that he had never done anything in his life that he felt the need to apologize for. Now does this strike you as someone whose perspective can be swayed by the beliefs and suggestions of any one person? Trump is not drafting an advisor but another surrogate, a glorified salesman tasked with pitching to the American people the gold-plated, opulent product that is Trumpism.
And while their ideas may fall on deaf ears, this person can at least expect to retain some usefulness. After all, someone’s gotta get Trump his McDonald’s.