The Key to the Right V.P. - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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As the Democratic and Republican national conventions draw close, all eyes will not only be on the parties’ nomination for president but who is going to be the vice presidential candidate or running mate. Political analysts note many factors influence a candidate’s ideal running mate, although the common thread among party delegates is to balance the ticket. So, a particular running mate may be chosen to appeal to a certain geographic region, ideology, or voting constituency–or even to help restore party harmony after a bitter campaign.

But any intelligent prediction about who the presidential candidates may choose as their vice president in the 2008 general election should begin with an assessment of strengths and weaknesses, say party insiders. The vice president is expected to bridge the gap between what the public wants and what that candidate possesses.
Here’s how potential vice presidential candidates stack up to the presidential hopefuls:

Obama has many advantages: He is a fresh face, young, energetic, eloquent, and very charismatic. He proposes change and is not associated with the Bush administration. His challenge, however, is being viewed as lacking foreign policy and military experience. Also, many polls show that if Obama were to run against McCain, several swing states could turn Republican.

“If Obama is looking for someone to help him with the experience issue, he might look at former Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn, an elder statesman like former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley, or former NATO Comdr. Wesley Clark,” says David Johnson, a Republican strategist and pollster who worked on Bob Dole’s 1988 campaign. “Clark or Jim Webb stands out if he is looking for someone to bolster the national defense issue.”

Obama is also having a hard time with working-class Reagan Democrats in states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, who are responding more to McCain at this point in the campaign. Add to the fact that Obama is polling very poorly among Jewish and Hispanic voters, who traditionally vote Democratic. Wesley Clark, along with governors Bill Richardson of New Mexico, Edward Rendell of Pennsylvania, and Ted Strickland of Ohio, would fit that role as running mates with a strong record of being pro-Israel. Additionally, these governors could potentially help him carry any one of those swing states where polling shows McCain slightly ahead of Obama, Johnson says.

Strickland, however, endorses Clinton and has made less than flattering comments about the Obama campaign. “Rendell and Strickland also have strong appeal to Reagan Democrats or blue-collar Democrats in the Northeast, identified as Catholic voters and members of labor unions who are very socially and culturally conservative on issues,” Johnson says. Reagan Democrats voted for the candidate in 1980 and 1984 and for George H.W. Bush in 1988 because they felt the Democratic Party was too far left on social issues.

As the former ambassador to the United Nations, Richardson has a great deal of foreign policy experience that could benefit Obama. Additionally, his being Mexican American could help Obama with the Hispanic voter block.

Other vice president potentials who might help

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.