In search of a running mate

Never in recent history has the search for a vice presidential candidate been complicated. Never has the wooing by  many a presidential hopeful  for  a   partner  been more public.

The courtship is done in striptease fashion.  The pursuit is so dogged that it can give AlDub a run for their  money.

But at least, TV land’s   newly-minted  love-team  is  inching towards  a  fairy-tale ending.  In contrast,  an MU—that’s mutual understanding for those who have been living under a rock—remains elusive for the reputed teamups for 2016.

Once elected, a vice president may be a spare tire. More so  if he belongs to the opposing camp; he will be discarded like a fifth wheel.

But for election purposes, a vice presidential bet in the ticket is  indispensable.  Presidential runs in this country  follow  the motorcycle  rule: It must be a  riding-in-tandem exercise.

Ride solo and you’re perceived as weak. Leave the VP slot blank and every barbershop analyst in this land will be shaking his head in disbelief:  “How can a  wannabe convince millions  to vote for him when he can’t even ask one person  to  run with him?”

Hence, the frenetic scramble to pick a running mate. With the filing deadline just days away, a candidate without a partner at this  11th hour is like a groom who has mass-mailed wedding invites yet still has no bride.

This has kept political matchmakers busy. They’re searching for the perfect  betrothed  for their candidate. 

In assembling a ticket, several formulas are followed: there is the North-South teamup for geographical balance, a male-female combine for gender equality, a bright partner  to shore up the competence factor of a candidate with an IQ deficiency.

And for a bland one registering low in the EQ meter, best is a  partner  who  can give color and sprite to an otherwise lackluster personality.

In addition, there are bodyguard duties to do. The No. 2  is the wingman, someone who fends off attacks on the No. 1, and if need be, a guard dog who can be unleashed as an attack dog anytime.   

Whatever the  motivation, the bottom line is that  the VP wannabes  must  add and not subtract votes.  They can’t be the albatrosses  on the presidential hopefuls’  neck.  They  must drive up the numbers, not drag them down. 

The field  of vice presidential  hopefuls for 2016 is laden with talent. In fact, many of them are more  prepared to handle the affairs of the state than the so-called presidentiables.

Though  they score high in statecraft, they register low in polls, thus consigning them to a supporting role.

But despite playing second fiddle, they’re certifiable game-changers in the forthcoming race.  They have so much to bring to the table—brand  value, experience,  electoral bailiwicks—in short, more octane  that can turbocharge  a campaign.

Voters should also change  the way they view the  second  person in the ticket. The same standard in sizing up a presidential aspirant must be used in evaluating them as well.

After all, if a vice president is  a president  waiting in the wings, why  should  the assessment tool be any different?

We live in an era  when  VPs are no longer seen  as spare tires or  fifth wheels. Even if  they come from the other party, which has happened  many times given our penchant to split tickets, they’re not immediately downgraded to a Palace ornament.

VPs  have been  given  Cabinet portfolio, multiple even.    

If he or she belongs to the same ticket as the incumbent, then he or she will not  be  treated as a “replacement captain” of the ship of the state but as a co-captain.

The presidency may not be a collective presidium  but a competent VP will be delegated important duties. It is for this possibility that the vice presidential candidates for 2016  must be weighed, if they’re ripe  for co-captaincy duties.

Gone are the days when  “the only   job of  the  vice president is  to get up every morning and say, ‘How is the president?’”

Also gone are the days when the VP’s role  is to be  the condoler-in-chief, as stand-in for the president  to important funerals here and abroad or do  the other departure honors which is to send off  guests of the state.

The next VP is far too valuable to be a contingency, a back-up, or be like  the red button inside “break glass in case of emergency”  boxes. He or she can do more than that.

A VP is not just a  president-in-waiting but must be a working vice president. If he or she will take up residence in the Coconut Palace then he or  she must reimburse the upkeep  for such palatial digs by  doing work that will involve the extensive use of his or her coconut.

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