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Vice presidential expert, SLU professor Goldstein weighs in on Clinton's and Trump’s picks

Joel Goldstein recently published “The White House Vice Presidency: The Path to Significance, Mondale to Biden.”
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio
Joel Goldstein recently published “The White House Vice Presidency: The Path to Significance, Mondale to Biden.”";s:

The news is in: Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the Republican and Democratic candidates to become the 45th president of the United States of America. They’ve also chosen their running mates: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, respectively.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, Saint Louis University law professor and vice presidential expert Joel Goldstein joined us to dissect Pence's and Kaine’s experience, what they bring to the table and answer your questions about the role of the future vice president in this election season.

Election 2016

Goldstein is regarded as a national expert on the vice presidency, having recently written the book “The White House Vice Presidency: The Path to Significance, Mondale to Biden.” Goldstein discussed recently how the vice presidency has changed over the past six administrations.

When we met up with Goldstein, he had just returned from a live appearance alongside current Vice President Joe Biden on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” in Philadelphia.

Goldstein said, in a sense, both Clinton and Trump went with the most logical picks for vice president.

“From Mr. Trump’s standpoint, it came down to Gov. Pence, Speaker Gingrich and Gov. Christie,” Goldstein told host Don Marsh. “The other two had a lot of baggage. Gov. Pence helped Mr. Trump in the sense of providing someone who had government, national security experience and appealed to social conservatives. Secretary Clinton had a larger pool of candidates to choose from. She had more freedom. She ultimately picked someone who people viewed the most presidential. Sen. Kaine had been a finalist in 2008 when Joe Biden was selected and is highly regarded by colleagues and others.”

With Clinton and Trump’s record-breaking unfavorability ratings, will these two gentlemen do much on the ticket when it comes to the general election?

“In some campaigns, vice presidents can make a difference at the margins,” Goldstein said. “Usually, when a vice presidential candidate makes a difference in the sense someone says ‘I’m going to vote for this ticket, because I like the Vice President.’ It’s in a situation where the voter is indifferent between the people at the top of the ticket: like Gerald Ford vs. Jimmy Carter. In this instance, the electorate is pretty polarized.”

The only real ways that the vice presidents may influence this election are by reinforcing the political standings of the presidential candidate and by proving themselves useful on the campaign trail.

“How effective are they in sounding the themes that the party wants them to sound?” Goldstein said.

Listen as Goldstein dissects the picks of Kaine and Pence and answers the question “why them?” here:

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region. 

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Kelly Moffitt joined St. Louis Public Radio in 2015 as an online producer for St. Louis Public Radio's talk shows St. Louis on the Air.