The Democratic Party hopes to unite following a long primary election campaign, and both Presidential candidates seek to unify the entire country … but how?
What about sort of a “co-presidency” with a Democrat and a Republican for President and Vice President, or vise versa? John Coleman , professor and chair of political science at UW-Madison, says that's not very likely. Besides, V.P. is clearly a secondary position.
“So the other party getting that olive branch, I'm not sure if it'd be considered an olive branch or olive pit .”
Coleman says we've experienced unity in the recent passed, but people weren't too happy with the results. He cites the response to the attacks of 9-11, which left many people thinking we went too far with restrictions on civil liberties. Also, he recalls, there had been bipartisan support to adopt the resolution to go into Iraq.
Coleman says a better chance for unity is for the President and Congress to work together. “If either McCain or Obama wanted to do something truly significant I think it would be going to their party in the Congress and trying to impress on them the importance of at least making the other party – the minority party – feel that it has some kind of stake in the resolution of the problems. That would be a much more dramatic institutional step, I think, than picking a vice president of the other party.”
Coleman says there are people within each party who have worked very hard and are deserving of the VP seat. Neither candidate should deny their party the prestige of that position.
Coleman suggests the best prescription for some amount of consensus would be to agree to work on the country's priorities, such as economy, job growth, healthcare and international trade.
As for a timeline to pick a running mate, Coleman suspects the candidates will make their choices by the end of July or beginning of August. Dragging it out keeps a certain level of interest in the campaign, and it would be wise to wait until all the dust settles from the primary election … Especially on the Democratic side.
“If Obama very quickly named a vice presidential candidate and it was not Hillary Clinton, that would, to some degree, be pouring some salt in the wounds. That's how the Clinton supporters might feel, so I think he may need to just let that rest for a while. Let people start to come together and unify and then maybe sometime in July he could announce his choice.”