Stefanik for VP? Some Republicans Think It’s a Match Made in Heaven 

lev radin /
lev radin /

Former President Donald Trump has been quiet regarding his pick for VP, leaving his supporters and critics alike to fill in the spot on their own. Several names have been floated, with some insisting that Nikki Haley, South Carolina Governor Tim Scott, or even former Fox host Tucker Carlson would be good choices. 

A good vice presidential pick will cement Trump’s lead, while a poor choice could negatively impact his campaign. A vice president must be capable of stepping into the nation’s highest office if needed, ensuring stability and continuity in unforeseen circumstances. They should possess the skills and experience necessary to contribute meaningfully to the administration, understand policy, and demonstrate leadership qualities. Additionally, the vice president should bring unique skills and expertise that complement the presidential candidate, such as a strong background in foreign policy if the candidate lacks this experience. 

The chosen candidate should also unify the party, garnering support from various factions to avoid internal strife. Effective communication skills are crucial for conveying the president’s message to the public and managing media interactions. Moreover, experience in crisis management is vital, as the vice president must remain calm, make informed decisions, and lead during challenging times. 

Trump is taking his time to make his choice. Unlike President Joe Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris in 2020, Trump’s pick must do more than check a few boxes. As Harris’ popularity plummets, it’s plain that voters are terrified that if Biden manages to be reelected and cannot fulfill his term, she will be the next in line for the role. The only thing people fear more than a Biden second term is Harris stepping in to finish it. 

Trump is very aware of the weight of his VP in his election strategy. He has yet to name his choice, but armchair experts are weighing in. 

House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY) is the latest name being floated for the position. Traditionally, Capitol Hill has been a good source of vice-presidential candidates. Stefanik’s role as the fourth-ranking member of the House leadership offers valuable expertise in navigating Capitol Hill, an environment Trump dislikes. 

During her tenure in House leadership, Stefanik has led several significant battles, even amidst the chaos surrounding the House speaker’s position. She’s been highly effective at raising her profile, which is challenging within the House and from a leadership perspective, making her an appealing choice for significant donor groups. 

Stefanik recently became a headline grabber when she faced off with university presidents over their handling of the rampant antisemitism they have allowed to flourish on campuses nationwide.  

And, being a young mother, she could help draw in the ever-elusive suburban women’s vote, a bloc that Trump is finding challenging to win over. She is more flexible on hot-topic issues like abortion, preferring a 15-week abortion ban as opposed to six weeks, and strongly supports IVF.  

Republican strategist David Polyansky weighed in, saying, “Having a female vice presidential pick is something I think would be attractive to the party, attractive to donors, attractive from a narrative standpoint. Outside of her gender, she’s a very strong conservative leader.” 

But critics have been vocal about a potential Trump/Stefanik ticket, noting that she is a loyal supporter of the former president who, according to Democrat strategist Eric Koch, is willing to defend Trump “no matter how ridiculous or embarrassing” it may be to do so. 

Labeling her as “ultra MAGA,” Koch adds that “there is no low too low” for Stefanik, noting that this quality is one Trump needs in his VP pick. He goes on to observe that she has “no accomplishments” and that she seems to “crumble” during interviews. 

Critics also claim she has no name recognition or “wow factor.” Those in the Trump campaign have acknowledged that she hasn’t built up a name for herself yet but argue that it’s an issue that could be “built up over time.” It’s also important to note that Stefanik flipped a Democrat district in New York and continues to hold her seat, which adds to her appeal. 

She also has far more name recognition and practical experience than Harris did at this stage of Biden’s 2020 campaign. 

Trump is remaining quiet about his VP choice and has suggested that he may hold out until the Republican National Convention in July before announcing his choice.  

It’s hard to know if Trump has already made his selection and is keeping quiet so speculation and anticipation can continue to build or if he doesn’t know who he is choosing. Whoever it is needs to be ready to jump on the Trump train as it chugs down the tracks to victory, and Stefanik is willing and able to ride it to the end.