WASHINGTON, May 19, 2016 — With Hillary Clinton expected to become the Democratic presidential nominee, speculation is rising about whom she will pick as a running mate. She needs a running mate who will stand out, is loved by the Democratic Party, and who can help distance her from Donald Trump.
Several names have surfaced, including Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, Julian Castro and Labor Secretary Tom Perez.
There is a better choice. To recognize the importance of the African-American vote and to expand her reach, Clinton should pick New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker.
Booker has executive experience in New Jersey’s largest city, and is extremely popular. More importantly, he could help Clinton cement the African-American vote.
While any Democratic candidate in a presidential election can count on the support of 85 percent of black voters, those voters don’t always come out to the polls. It is the number who show up, not the level of their support for the Democratic nominee, that should be of concern to Clinton. African-Americans have a history of lower turnouts than white Democratic constituencies, and they often need a push to get them to cast ballots.
The African-American vote was critical to President Obama’s victory in the last election. According to Amy Walter and David Wasserman in the “Cook Political Report,” the black vote accounted for Obama’s entire margin of victory in seven states and netted him 112 electoral votes.
Without those states, Obama would have lost decisively.
Getting black voters to turn out to vote in November is essential for Clinton. An African-American running mate would help ensure large turnouts in key voting groups, and that would lock up the race. Latinos are already likely to turn out for Clinton, as Trump’s harsh immigration stance is driving Latinos to her camp and energizing the ones who are there.
The key for Clinton is not only winning the black vote, but also motivating African-Americans to get out and vote. A Clinton-Booker collaboration may be just the ticket.