AOC 2024: who would she choose for vice-president? We have 5 ideas

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s name continues to appear on shortlists of potential 2024 presidential candidates. its youth, the general public considers the AOC as ready to take the next step. Frankly, I don’t see AOC as a viable candidate. Based on his inexperience and youth, yes, but also based on his demeanor and divisiveness. Either way, let’s consider the possibility of an AOC presidential race and review his most likely running mates.

New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

First of all, let’s try to better understand what the vice-presidency is.

For most of American history, the vice presidency was a ceremonial and despised position. The Vice President was not chosen to govern or to associate with the President, but rather to bolster the President’s electability – by “balancing”. Balancing can be either geography or ideology or both. For example, northerner John F. Kennedy chose southerner Lyndon B. Johnson as vice president. Southern conservative Jimmy Carter chose northern liberal Walter Mondale as vice-president. Typically, however, the vice president’s role did not extend much beyond helping the president get elected – especially if the president and vice president differed significantly in ideology. “Too often, the dynamic between president and vice president ranged from cold and aloof cordial to downright hostile,” wrote Elaine Kamarck for the Brookings Institute. “The result has been vice presidents who have been barred from action, relegated to trivial duties, or sent to attend funerals in foreign countries or to participate in other, largely ceremonial, roles.”

The vice presidency began to evolve from a ceremonial reminder of eligibility to a true partnership under the Clinton administration, when Al Gore was vice president. Clinton delegated substantial power to Gore and “treated vice presidential projects as presidential projects.” The trend continued, if not accelerated, under the Bush administration, where Dick Cheney was the most powerful vice president of all time. “It’s no exaggeration to say that [Gore and Cheney] exerted more influence on policy than all previous vice presidents combined,” Kamarck wrote. “Presidents Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump called their vice presidents.

An AOC presidency would likely continue the trend of relying on the vice president as a partner. AOC would be the youngest – and most inexperienced – president ever. Like Obama before her (who had barely served in the Senate before running for president), she would need help navigating an increasingly complex governmental landscape. AOC would need his Biden counterpart — someone who knows his way around Washington. But AOC, due to its divisive nature, would also benefit from some old-fashioned vice-presidential “balancing.” With partnership and balance in mind, let’s take a look at the top picks for AOC VP, in no particular order.

Pete Buttigieg

“Mayor Pete” presents himself as a progressive, but he’s a big brother to McKinsey. He will say and promote whatever suits him at the time, which more often than not will be favorable to the establishment. So Buttigieg would complement AOC when it comes to his progressive looks — while still being someone the establishment is comfortable with. Buttigieg is also a Midwesterner, which could help solidify ticket support among the hotly contested Rust Belt. Although Buttigieg can’t help AOC navigate Washington, he has less experience than her; he was a major city mayor before slipping into the role of transportation secretary under President Biden. Either way, Buttigieg is popular, young and will definitely be jostling backstage for any ticket.

Pete Buttigieg

Then Mayor Pete Buttigieg addressing attendees at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention at the George R. Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California.

Kamala Harris

On paper, Harris could work. She has previously served as vice president, senator and attorney general. She has experience. It is “diverse”. She’s from California and could give AOC, the New Yorker, appeal on every coast. The problem with Harris is that her popularity plummeted during her tenure as vice president. Harris is generally seen as doing a poor job. And also, it would be very unorthodox for a vice president to serve under different presidents. It would also require a special kind of humility on Harris’s part to serve as vice president under AOC, which is younger, less experienced, and would essentially pass Harris for the presidency.

Suitcase Kamala Harris

Vice President Kamala Harris delivers remarks during the 40th Annual Virtual Black History Month Celebration Hosted by Congressman Steny Hoyer of Maryland, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

hillary clinton

Clinton certainly knows her way around Washington. Previously, she served as First Lady, Senate and Secretary of State. She led two presidential campaigns “in the lead”. Clinton, along with her husband, former President Bill, is basically the Democratic establishment. Hillary is also a political buff, able to lend some weight to the AOC effort. The problem with Hillary is that she has the stink of a loser. She was supposed to win in 2008 and she was supposed to win in 2016. She lost both campaigns. Moreover, Clinton is too capable, too experienced and too conceited to serve below the neophyte AOC. Plus, as Clinton likes to point out, she once served as vice president under her husband’s administration.

hillary clinton

Hillary Clinton. Image credit: Creative Commons.

michelle obama

Obama has been very clear that she has no intention of running for political office. Whether she likes it or not is another story. Obama was never elected, despite having been at the forefront of her husband Barack’s presidency – and of his political phenoms in general. Michelle is capable in her own right – and hugely popular; she would have appeal among leftist voters. Obama would also increase support among black voters. But it’s hard to imagine Michelle running with AOC, who is younger, less educated and less dignified. If Michelle were to break her vow never to enter politics, it would likely be a role that would not fall directly under AOC.

michelle obama

United States First Lady Michelle Obama speaks with supporters of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a campaign rally at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

Amy Klobuchar

Klobuchar has tons of relevant experience, as a corporate attorney, as a district attorney, as a senator — she could help AOC find her way. And Klobuchar, a Minnesota native, would help the ticket in the battleground Midwestern states. Lately, Klobuchar has been railing against Big Tech — which might please progressives and AOC itself. Klobuchar is a safe and boring choice.

Harrison Kass is the senior defense writer at 19FortyFive. A lawyer, pilot, guitarist and minor professional hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a trainee pilot, but was discharged for medical reasons. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. He lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken. Follow him on Twitter @harrison_kass.

Comments are closed.