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Trump’s search for his 2024 running mate: Here’s why Sen. Tom Cotton will never be selected

United States President Joe Biden (right) and former President Donald Trump (left) during the first presidential debate on June 27. Both candidates seem to be unpopular in their respective parties, leaving the election winner up in the air. PHOTO COURTESY OF EVA MARIE UZCATEGUI/BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY IMAGES

This November, I won’t be voting for former President Donald Trump for a multitude of reasons. This is mainly because he is a threat to democracy based on the Jan. 6, 2021 attacks and misrepresents the views of many Republicans like myself on issues like immigration and the Russia-Ukraine war. Nevertheless, I have been very intrigued to find out who he will pick to be his running mate for the 2024 presidential election. 

After all, Trump’s running mate could end up being the next vice president, who he will be closely analyzing. This will be especially true after Trump’s rift with former Vice President Mike Pence, who has refused to endorse his former boss for the 2024 elections. Consequently, Trump will ensure that he picks someone who caves to his authoritarian demands. This is because in the eyes of Trump, Pence has betrayed him by certifying the 2020 presidential election. 

With Trump and current President Joe Biden, who are unpopular presumptive nominees of their respective parties, Trump’s vice president could be the deciding factor in who will win the election this upcoming November. Current Vice President Kamala Harris, who will be running with Biden for a second term this November, has also proved to be unpopular through recent polling. This recent polling indicates only of surveyed voters agree that Harris would win the presidential election if she was tapped to be the Democratic nominee. 

Trump’s current shortlist for potential running mates includes around eight people, according to The Washington Post. While it makes sense why most of these candidates have appeared on this shortlist, I am appalled that Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton is one of these contenders. Regardless, I can guarantee you that Cotton will never be picked to be Trump’s running mate. 

Cotton has been loyal to Trump by unwaveringly defending him and embracing the far-right faction of the Republican party, such as by discounting the Jan. 6 insurrection and calling for pardons of the rioters. 

However, from a political science standpoint, Cotton makes for a horrible running mate. I am not only saying this because he won’t be an effective vice president, caving into Trump’s authoritarian demands; if Trump wins this November, Cotton will derail Trump’s general election presidential campaign. Cotton is arguably one of the most controversial of all 100 United States senators. Four years ago, he had the nerve to defend slavery in the U.S. as a “necessary evil.”  

For someone like Trump who is already so controversial, the former president and his political advisors are wise enough to not select Cotton to be Trump’s vice president, who will only add fuel to the fire. If Cotton ends up being picked by Trump to be his running mate, Trump will only find it harder to win the crucial battleground states like Pennsylvania, Arizona and Georgia. These states will be necessary to win the presidency as per the electoral college because independents and moderates will only be further alienated by the contentious senator. 

Let’s also not forget that with the exception of Republicans with integrity like Mitt Romney, most of the current Republican politicians have been bowing down to Trump. Therefore, there is nothing special about Cotton.

Those who differ from my view and think Cotton will be Trump’s running mate will cite the fact that he is a foreign policy hawk, especially regarding China. This could be exhibited by a recent Op-Ed published in the Boston Herald. Foreign policy hawks, who are mainly Republicans, believe America should be aggressive with our adversaries through military action.  

As a fellow China hawk, I appreciate Cotton for being one of the most anti-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) U.S. senators out there. However, he has done an awful job of expressing this sentiment which many others, including myself, find to be ignorant and racist. Just a few months ago, the senator went viral on social media for thinking Singapore is part of China when interrogating the Singaporean chief executive officer of TikTok. Trump is not desperate enough for a China hawk as a running mate to pick someone like this. 

Moreover, there are other China hawks who have done a much better job in expressing their anti-CCP sentiments and are on Trump’s shortlist for running mates. One such contender is Florida Senator Marco Rubio. As a senator, Rubio serves as vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, a key position that has enabled him to be very vocal and proactive about banning TikTok. TikTok is a national security threat because of its parent company, ByteDance, and its ties to the CCP. Trump will have complications with picking Rubio to be his running mate because both Trump and Rubio are from the same state, Florida. Nevertheless, I won’t be surprised if Trump changes his voter registration to New York so he could run with Rubio.

The 2024 presidential election hasn’t even started yet, and it has already proved to be an outlier among previous elections. One such example, which is very telling about the kind of politician Trump is, is that even Pence has refused to endorse him for the 2024 elections. This is extremely embarrassing for both the Republican party and Trump. 

As a result, Trump and his political advisors will be extremely cautious in picking his 2024 running mate. The contender who will ultimately be picked by Trump will be far-right enough while also being able to win challenging statewide elections in purple states. This is why I feel Trump’s top vice presidential pick will be Senator J.D. Vance of Ohio. Even though he is a partisan like Cotton, Vance has proved to be capable of winning a challenging statewide election in a purple state and in the background of a Trump-dominated Republican party through his performance in the 2022 Ohio Senate election. In this race, he ran against a strong Democratic candidate, handily defeating Democrat Tim Ryan.

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About the Contributor
Vinod Kripalani, Assistant Opinions Editor
Vinod is a sophomore Political Science major. At The Statesman, he currently serves as Assistant Opinions Editor. When free, Vinod loves traveling, cycling, and swimming. His favorite destination to have visited is the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.
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    Devontay MillerJul 11, 2024 at 8:22 pm

    “ The 2024 presidential election hasn’t even started yet, and it has already proved to be an outlier among previous elections. One such example, which is very telling about the kind of politician Trump is, is that even Pence has refused to endorse him for the 2024 elections. This is extremely embarrassing for both the Republican party and Trump.”

    According to WHO, kid? Nobody should be surprised that a double-dealing Deep State POS like Pence wouldn’t endorse Trump. If anything, it’s a badge of honor to be snubbed by disloyal trash.

    Reply