Trump’s Disastrous Veep Search Hints at a Deeper Problem

The first thing you will notice about that list is that they are all men. The second thing is that they are all very conservative men. They are all anti-abortion zealots—Trump’s weakest issue heading into the 2024 election, given his longtime struggles with women voters and his proud status as the person responsible for the end of Roe v. Wade. Last spring, Burgum signed into law one of the strictest abortion bans in the country.

It’s not entirely clear what any of them adds to the ticket. Rubio, who is Cuban American, and Scott, who is Black, would theoretically add to Trump’s apparent growing popularity with nonwhite voters—but that’s just a theory. Both have run (terrible) presidential campaigns before, and there was no sense that either broke through with minority voters (or any voters, for that matter). Scott’s sunny demeanor is appealing, at least until he speaks for more than a minute and you realize he’s a religious extremist. Rubio, once touted as the GOP’s Obama, is still suffering reputational damage from Trump’s excoriation of him nearly a decade ago. Vance is a political opportunist with little experience and no larger appeal beyond weird, lonely men who spend all of their time on the internet—a constituency Trump already has locked up. Bergum is probably the safest pick here, but only because no one has any idea who he is.

The conventional wisdom in recent months is that Trump has benefited by running a more disciplined, moderate campaign than he did in 2016 and 2020. But this idea beggars belief when you take a cursory look at the week’s news. Not only did his campaign post an ad featuring the words “unified Reich,” but Trump has also mused about banning birth control, broken a pledge to testify at his own trial, and spent most of his time in front of cameras ranting about the judge overseeing that trial. Trump’s middle-of-the night social media rants don’t get the coverage that they did in past election cycles, but that’s likely because the press has become more disciplined. Trump remains as unhinged as ever.

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Kim browne

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