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.