Could Donald Trump Pick Rick Scott as His Running Mate?
Photo by Gage Skidmore's Flickr/CC 2.0
One of the favorite games political writers like to play to fill out column inches is "Whom would so-and-so pick as his/her running mate?" Political writers, however, haven't spent much time thinking about Donald Trump's pick, mostly because they're still concentrating more on whether Trump can win the Republican nomination.
Well, Washington Post political ace Chris Cillizza finally decided to enter the Donald Trump-running-mate-fan-fiction arena, and he thinks Florida Gov. Rick Scott might be a possibility.
"The Florida governor is, yes, a governor and, therefore, part of the political class that Trump loathes," Cillizza writes. "But Scott, like Trump, has his roots in the private sector – making millions as a health care executive before he ran for office in 2010. And Scott got into the governor's mansion by beating the Florida Republican establishment at its own game – sort of like Trump has done in this race."
He adds, "Under normal circumstances, the fact that Scott's company paid a $1.7 billion Medicare fraud penalty would be disqualifying. But this is Donald Trump we are talking about."
Trump's and Scott's rises actually have quite a bit in common. Scott entered the 2010 Florida gubernatorial race as a surprise, self-funded candidate after the Republican Party of Florida establishment had heaped its support on Attorney General Bill McCollum. He gained traction for his support of bringing Arizona-style immigration laws to Florida. (He was never actually successful in that endeavor, much like Trump's plan to make Mexico pay for a wall is also fantasy.) Voters also ignored or excused Scott's shady business past.
Both have also been extensively compared to Lord Voldemort.
Sure, Scott has better hair than Trump, and Trump is a much more captivating public speaker than the low-energy Scott, but they have a lot in common.
Conventional wisdom also holds that picking a running mate from a swing state is a smart move. Though, Scott's continued low popularity in his own state would make the decision a questionable move.
However, Scott also has more bonafide conservative credentials. Trump can be all over the place, and he certainly talks a lot about spending. Scott, meanwhile, holds himself firmly to views of reducing government spending, cutting benefits for the disadvantaged, and lowering or eliminating every tax he possibly can. Choosing Scott could ease some of the anxiety that ideological conservative types have about Trump.
But the vice presidency doesn't come with many actual duties. It does involve a lot of serving as a surrogate, campaigning, and attending functions that president can't. Scott notably doesn't have much zeal for talking to the media or making memorable speeches.
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Scott has praised Trump but so far hasn't made an endorsement. The governor is toying with the idea of making one before Florida's March 15 primary, though.
“I think what Trump has got going for him is the fact he had 14 years on The Apprentice, and people think he’s a successful business guy," Scott told the Daily Caller last month. "And they want a business guy; they want someone who will help them get jobs.”
In any event, it's all fantasy thinking at the moment.
But continuing that line of fantasy thinking could lead to an interesting scenario: Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera is running for Senate. If a Trump/Scott ticket somehow wins and Lopez-Cantera is elected senator, Attorney General Pam Bondi would then be next in the line of succession to serve out Scott's final two years as governor.