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Trump’s Best Running Mate

With Trump a shoo-in, veep race starts bubbling



he campaign for the Republican presidential nomination has turned boring and predictable so swiftly that speculation over whom Donald Trump might choose as his running mate has reached a midwinter fever pitch.

Trump has teased out a few names, hinting before the Iowa caucuses that he’s made up his mind, although he has dropped more hints about who won’t be his running mate — Nikki Haley for one — than who will.

Haley still has a fighting spirit and believes she can overtake Trump for the nomination. So, if the elusive and overhyped Haley surge we’ve heard about since the first August debate materializes, perhaps Trump can be her running mate.

Considering that Trump’s national lead over Haley has widened to almost 60% in the latest Real Clear Politics average poll, it’s more productive to figure out Trump’s best fit.

Is he looking for someone combative to promote round two of his Make America Great Again agenda? Or someone with potentially more appeal to the white female suburban voters and independents who deserted him in his 2020 re-election bid?

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Sen. J. D. Vance (R-OH) would fill the combative bill. Rep. Stefanik would be the most intriguing option. She made a big impact at a House committee hearing with her tenacious line of questioning that ultimately forced the presidents of UPenn and Harvard to resign over their inability to define anti-Semitism or admit that it’s a menace to their Jewish students.

Vance is a political “chozer b’teshuvah.” A former anti-Trumper, he now defends Trump vigorously from the January 6 insurrection charges and marches in lockstep with Trump on immigration and border control.

However, if Trump seeks a mellower running mate, who is palatable to independents without turning off his base, he has two ideal choices: a household name in Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, or a dark-horse candidate such as Senator Katie Britt of Alabama.

Scott, an African American, is a veteran of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Fellow Republicans respect him and independents find him inoffensive. Ironically, he doesn’t poll that well with blacks. Scott finished seventh among Republican presidential candidates among black voters in a September 2023 Fox News poll, but his presence on the ticket would enable Trump to deflect charges that he appeals to racists and white supremacists.

Britt, a first-term senator from a deep Southern state, is far from a household name, but vice presidential picks often come out of nowhere. She champions all of the time-honored, conservative Republican values and is staunchly pro-Israel. She bills herself as the only woman Republican senator with school-age children, which could resonate with suburban soccer moms.


January 2025 Doomsday Scenario

Trump has several good options — the aforementioned and others — but he has one major legal hurdle to overcome before the next primary contests are held.

Next Thursday, the US Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether states can ban him from their primary ballots under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, a post-Civil War relic that bars anyone from holding public office if they once took an oath to uphold the Constitution (as a president does) then subsequently engaged in an insurrection (which some claim Trump did on January 6, 2021).

The Colorado Supreme Court and the state of Maine have already made rulings to knock Trump off their primary ballots, but they are in limbo pending a Supreme Court ruling. Courts in Minnesota and Michigan declined to bounce Trump from their ballots. Courts or secretaries of state in a dozen other states have considered similar bans.

We should get an inkling of how the justices might rule by following their lines of questioning at the February 8 hearing, which will receive widespread media coverage. The Supreme Court faces pressure to rule as early as the week after, which would still give Colorado time to reinstate Trump, and certainly before the March 5 Super Tuesday primaries, in which approximately 30% of the Republican delegates will be chosen.

If the Supreme Court overrules Colorado, that will end all of the cases against Trump. If they uphold it, it could force Trump off the ballot nationwide and send the 2024 campaign into a tizzy. Justices could also issue a narrow ruling, reversing Colorado on technical grounds and returning the case to a state court, or rule that only Congress, and not the courts, has authority to enforce Section 3.

The Washington-based law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP wrote an amicus brief in support of the Colorado ban, urging the court to issue a clear yes-or-no ruling. They raised the frightening specter of Trump running and winning in the Electoral College, only to face the “certainty that some members of Congress will invoke Section 3 to prevent him from returning to the presidency.”

If that happens — if you think January 6, 2021, was an insurrection, just wait to see if Congress meets in January 2025 to certify the 2024 election results and tries to erase a Trump victory.


Playing the Blame Game

Don’t be surprised if one upcoming Motzaei Shabbos, some Democratic US senators appear at the newly reconstituted anti-Netanyahu rallies in Tel Aviv calling for Bibi’s political scalp.

After an effort to link special US military aid to Israel in its war against Hamas to Israel’s acceptance of a two-state solution, some Democratic senators raised the stakes.

Politico quoted Michigan’s Debbie Stabenow, the third-ranking Senate Democrat, as saying: “I’m looking forward to the time when he is no longer the leader.”

Senate Armed Forces Committee Chair Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, added: “He has so many personal issues involved, it complicates his leadership of the nation.” And Virginia’s Tim Kaine, who was Hillary Clinton’s 2016 running mate, accused Netanyahu of “ignoring the Palestine question…and killing the idea of a two-state solution.”

It’s all Bibi’s fault, right?

Who was to blame in 1947 when the Arab League rejected the original two-state solution, the UN partition plan for Palestine? Netanyahu wasn’t born until 1949.

In 1993–94, PA chairman Yasser Arafat launched a wave of terror that included bus bombings and roadside shootings, violating the terms of the Oslo Accords that would have led to a two-state solution. Yitzhak Rabin was prime minister. Bibi was in the opposition.

Hard to blame Bibi for that one.

When President Clinton arranged the 2000 Camp David summit between Israel and the PA, and Israel offered to cede sovereignty in parts of Jerusalem’s Old City to the PA, Arafat rejected the deal and launched the Second Intifada. Ehud Barak was Israel’s prime minister then.

Hard to blame Bibi for that one also.

Then in 2008, Israel offered Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas, 93% of Judea and Samaria with another 7% on Israel’s side of the Green Line to give the PA everything it asked for. Abbas rejected it. Ehud Olmert was Israel’s prime minister.

Hard to blame Bibi for that one too.

Netanyahu is far from perfect. Like any politician, he makes his share of mistakes and bad decisions, but it’s become politically expedient worldwide to blame him for everything except global warming.

The risks are high and growing. Lives are at stake in the current conflict, which could escalate and impact the global economy. These risks are only exacerbated by grandstanding politicians who ignore the inconvenient truth, refusing to lay the blame at the doorsteps of those who truly deserve it. —


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 997)

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