Over the next couple of months, the question of Donald Trump’s running mate will likely dominate the candidate’s coverage. According to several of the billionaire’s close allies, Trump has narrowed the list down to five or six candidates. The problem is, no one seems able to agree on exactly who those candidates are.
Among the names that have been bandied about: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.
If one were to make an educated guess, Gingrich may be the frontrunner. Gingrich has been one of Trump’s biggest unaffiliated supporters, and he retains an enormous amount of respect from both establishment Republicans and conservatives.
On a New York radio show last week, Gingrich tore into Paul Ryan for failing to endorse Trump. “If you are not for Donald Trump, you are functionally helping Hillary Clinton, it’s just that straightforward,” he said.
On Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked him directly: “There is a lot of speculation that he is going to ask you to be his running mate. Now, if he asks you, you’re certainly going to say yes?”
Gingrich said, “Well, if he asks me, I’m certainly going to say I want to sit down and talk about it. I don’t think it’s an automatic yes, I think you have to think through what does he think the job involves.”
Wallace pressed, and Gingrich conceded that it was a strong possibility. “If he can convince Calista and me that it’s doable and that it’s serious and we would contribute, I think we would be very hard pressed not to say yes.”
There are a number of strong political reasons to select Gingrich – the fact that he has plenty of experience in fighting the Clintons among them. He could also serve as a bridge between Trump and the GOP leadership, insofar that a bridge is still needed. And since Trump is going into this cold, Gingrich could serve as a powerful and knowledgeable advisor on issues both foreign and domestic.
But in the end, it doesn’t matter nearly as much as the media would like it to. Whether Trump chooses Gingrich, Christie, or the girl from the Progressive commercials, this campaign is about the man at the top of the ticket. As long as he can draw in new voters without alienating the ones he’s already romanced, his VP pick should have little impact on the course of the race.