Donald Trump, hugging, Kari Lake
Former President Donald Trump campaigning for Kari Lake in Mesa, AZ,, October 9, 2022. Photo credit: © Christopher Brown/ZUMA Press Wire

Who will become the most inconsequential vice presidential candidate ever?

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Even though Donald Trump’s supporters did not achieve one of their main objectives on January 6 when they failed to hang Mike Pence, now that the former Indiana governor has found a sliver of his conscience, the ex-president is in need of a new VP. 

The so-called veepstakes are a fairly meaningless event that the press salivates over every four years. This time around, the enticing question is: Who will be the running mate of the most divisive figure in the history of US politics, i.e., who will become the most inconsequential vice presidential candidate ever?

To be fair, while the vice presidency won’t matter in a traditional sense, things might theoretically get interesting if Trump ends up in the slammer. However, the Constitution does not prohibit him from being president if he is no longer in the West Wing but rather in the East Wing of Fulton County Penitentiary… probably because the Founding Fathers couldn’t have imagined anybody as crooked as Trump ever taking office.

While the selection of a running mate won’t make much of a difference for the outcome of this year’s election, whoever is chosen will be in a strong position to run for president him- or herself in 2028 (unless Trump wins and suspends the Constitution so that he’ll either remain president until he dies or just turns things over to Ivanka).

Usually, the selection of a potential VP involves considerations like “balancing the ticket,” i.e., pairing a candidate from the South with someone from the North, selecting someone from a must-win state, or catering to a specific demographic. 

Obviously, that’s not how Trump operates. He will choose his running mate based on the answers to three key questions: How much can they kiss his broad backside, will they be more useful in the next coup attempt than Pence was in the first one, and how do they feel about pardoning someone who is convicted of leading an insurrection or keeping classified documents in his crapper?

The list of contestants is long. 

They include governors, senators, CrossFit instructors, and just about anybody else who has said something good about Trump on Fox News. 

Granted, there may be some secondary factors that could come into consideration, such as how much money they can raise for the former president’s legal defense fund campaign, but it’s really the first three things that it all comes down to.

The possible contenders know this, of course, and they have been making their respective cases in TV interviews and on social media… with some being a bit more subtle than others (and we’ll get to Kari Lake in a minute).

Recently, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem took things to another level by proudly proclaiming in an upcoming book that she killed a dog. While this seems to have backfired in the court of public opinion, that doesn’t really matter because she is performing for an audience of one.

And Trump may actually like that she admitted to doing something that is, in the eyes of many Americans, indefensible and then never backed down or apologized. Because that’s how the former president does things, and it works out well enough for him.

He may also think: Well, if she has the courage to shoot a dog and openly talk about it, then she might be an excellent accomplice in my next attempt to steal an election. 

In addition, Noem is objectively attractive, which is always a bonus when it comes to Trump’s preference of Playboy models to cheat on his wife with, porn stars to cheat on his wife with, and even his own daughter.

Sadly for her, all that puppy-killing, sending the National Guard to the border in one of the dumbest and most ham-handed political stunts in an era of dumb political stunts, and having an affair with Trump’s former campaign manager likely won’t be enough to get her a spot on the ticket. Because when it comes to prostrating oneself before Trump, being totally on board with stealing elections, and being at least somewhat telegenic, nobody beats Lake, who is our early favorite to win the spot (and the crazy thing is that, as a woman from a swing state, she would actually check the boxes for a sensible VP pick… if only she were a bit saner).

In the past few years, she has styled herself to become a mini-Trump… right down to losing elections, filing lawsuits about them, and losing those as well. If there is anything she wouldn’t do for Trump, we don’t know what that could possibly be. One time, she vacuumed a red carpet placed in front of a podium from which Trump was supposed to speak.

If the former president is jailed for contempt of court, we like to imagine that Lake would first inquire if she could volunteer as tribute and take his spot. And, after being told this is not an option in the US legal system, she would at least clean the cell before his arrival. 

It is truly stunning how Lake, who is now her party’s candidate to replace Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) in the Senate, has followed the former president’s example in both large and small ways. She tries giving her opponents dumb nicknames and has even started to incorporate ALL CAPS in her tweets… just like the man she adores.

Of course, like all the others who try to emulate the former president, she cannot quite pull this off, and some of her attempts at being Trump-like (or Trump Lite) seem fairly pathetic and desperate. But of course, it’s not what we think but rather how Trump feels about it that counts… and he’ll probably love it. 

And that’s the only thing that matters to Lake (and to others in the running for selection as the former president’s running mate).

For that reason, to her, it might not even be about being the early frontrunner for 2028 but rather about getting the opportunity to be near Trump for four years. As far as Lake is concerned, he could stay in the Oval Office forever. 

And that is why we are declaring her an early favorite — whether she’s angling for the vice presidency or becoming Trump’s fourth wife.


  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a writer, editor, former congressional reporter, and director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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