By Tom Reynolds, SCOPE President
The Bullpen matters, not just in Baseball
The selection of a Vice President will be unusually important this year. Presidential candidates run as a team but the vice-presidential nominee is not usually a big factor in deciding the vote. This year may be different.
In 1944, Franklin Roosevelt ran for a 4th term as President. Those closest to him had seen his physical and mental deterioration during the past year but it was skillfully kept from the American public. Many close to Roosevelt were convinced that he would not live through another term and whoever was Vice President was sure to be President. With that in mind, the political wrangling for the Vice Presidency was intense, but behind the scenes; whoever won the prize was almost certain to become President. Even a former Supreme Court Justice and a sitting Supreme Court Justice were hidden candidates. Roosevelt died in April 1945 and Harry Truman became President after only three months in that position.
The American people were effectively excluded from selecting their President in 1944 by political machinations. We can only guess how the 1944 election would have ended if the American voters had known, what political insiders knew, that the people were probably voting for Harry Truman for President?
On inauguration day 2021, Donald Trump will be 74 and Joe Biden will be 78. Although debilitating physical illness can strike at any age, both their ages should cause us to look closer than usual at Vice Presidential candidates. Although the media can be highly partisan and political “handlers” are adept at hiding things, in today’s world it will be difficult to completely hide physical or mental problems from the public, as Roosevelt did.
Donald Trump has been a high energy President who works long hours; will that take a toll? There have been considerable questions about Joe Biden’s mental deterioration. Luckily, we have the presidential debates in which it is difficult to hide. The President should not necessarily be the best debater but their performance will be important in evaluating the overall health and mental capabilities of both candidates.
One other test of a presidential candidate is the wisdom shown in selecting a Vice President.
We will need to look closely at the vice-presidential candidates. We know that Mike Pence is the Republican candidate and Joe Biden is supposed to pick his running mate soon. There is usually one vice presidential debate which will also help us decide on the candidate’s readiness to fill in for the President, if necessary.
It’s not just a question of would the Vice President continue the policies of the President, if a succession happens, but does the Vice President have the knowledge, ability and wisdom to implement those policies. Is the Vice President likely to veer off into his / her personal preferences, which may be significantly different than the President’s? Of course, SCOPE members are particularly concerned about each candidate’s history on the Constitution in general and the 2nd Amendment in particular.
Once Joe Biden selects a Vice President candidate, SCOPE will evaluate them for its members. Stay tuned.