Picking a running mate is one of the most important decisions a presidential candidate can make. The right decision can help garner more votes, while the wrong one can be costly. Originally, the vice president position was an elected one, in which the presidential candidate with the second most amount of votes won the position (Cronin and Genovese, pp. 216-217). This ended after the election of 1800, when Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr received the same number of votes (Cronin and Genovese, pp. 217). This would not be workable today. Imagine the problems that could arise if the president was a member of one party and the vice president another? For one thing, if the president died, it could seem suspicious, as if the vice president’s party was trying to violently take the presidency. That also doesn’t account for the differences in beliefs.
While it doesn’t seem right that the public doesn’t get to directly vote for a candidate who may become president, I feel that it is important that the presidential candidate have someone that he or she feels comfortable with. One suggestion made by Cronin and Genovese was that the vice president not be picked until a president is elected (pp. 233). This doesn’t seem right, because the public should be able to learn enough about the vice president nominee so they can decide if they want to vote for his running mate. The public can still have enough time to learn about the vice presidential candidate from convention time until Election Day. In all honesty, the current system is the best one. Voters can decide if they like the entire ticket, and vote accordingly, or not. And while not all presidents and vice presidents agree on issues, or get along personally, at least with the current system, voters will have the option to make their own decisions.
- Cronin, Thomas E. and Genovese, Michael A., “The Paradoxes of the American Presidency”, 4th ed. Oxford University Press