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Who's Hillary Going To Pick As Veep?

Who knows! But here are some ideas.

The conventions are only a month away, which means it's time to start wondering: Who's in the running for the worst job in politics? We're of course talking about the hallowed and hollow vice-presidency, the job that one exceptionally miffed politician once said was worse than a bucket of room-temperature pee.

The vice-presidency is a great career choice for people looking for advancement opportunities — or those who want to watch their future prospects shrivel and die. It has been held by a guy who killed someone in a duel, eight dudes with mustaches, someone named Hannibal, and 14 people who later became president. Now, each campaign is researching possible picks like mad, making sure that they haven't done anything embarrassing that some deep Googling could unearth, and conducting high-stakes first dates to see if they have any chemistry with the candidate. Here's a look at the potential vice-presidents that have been mentioned so far for the Democratic ticket.

Elizabeth Warren

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Who?

The senior senator from Massachusetts. Warren's supporters think that she should be in the next Avengers movie — the hero who transforms from a mild-mannered bankruptcy professor to someone whose superpower is knowing the exact combination of words that will make bankers squirm and workers upset with the status quo cheer. Her detractors call her "the Devil incarnate."

Fun fact:

She is friendly with Dr. Phil and has been on his show.

Why her?

Her economic message resonates with the Bernie Sanders crowd and would be a sign that Hillary Clinton's camp wanted to reach all the voters bound to be upset at the Democratic convention. Warren also provides a buffer for all of Clinton's economic fumbles (remember those Goldman Sachs speeches)? She's not wedded to the idea of staying in the Senate, either, if she finds a better way to spread the inequality gospel; as Warren told New York magazine back in 2011, "I’m not going so that I can create a long and illustrious career in the Senate. I’m going to make change.”

And having two women on one ticket would certainly be pretty memorable. It would also give us an idea of what it would be like if Hillary Clinton and time-traveling, pre-Washington Hillary Clinton ran together — an experience that might excite or terrify you, based on your political leanings.

Why not?

A recent Politico story about how donors have threatened to abandon Clinton if she picks Warren included the hilarious sentence, "All of the donors and senior Democrats interviewed for this story demanded that their names not be used both because they were not authorized to speak about the Clinton campaign’s internal deliberations and because they feared Warren’s wrath." Warren also has a national platform for the issues she cares about without being vice-president, and has already proven that she will be a big part of the campaign regardless of her job title, taking on Trump in the same merciless way she has treated other billionaires.

Why would she want to have to play second fiddle to another politician when she can stay right where she is without worrying about having to modulate her tone? The senator has also spoken out about Clinton's Goldman Sachs speeches, which could lead to some friction in the campaign. Additionally the pick would leave her Senate seat vacant, which might freak Democrats out, especially since Republican governor Charlie Baker would get to pick a temporary senator to keep the seat warm before a special election. (Do you hear that sound? It's Scott Brown sprinting back to Massachusetts.)

What has she said about all of this?

After endorsing Clinton on Rachel Maddow's show, Warren was asked, "If you were asked to be Secretary Clinton's running mate, do you believe you could do it?"

"Yes, I do," she said.

Tim Kaine

Who?

The junior senator from Virginia, who is also a former governor of the state. He will keep getting mentioned as a possible vice-presidential pick until he finally gets chosen.

Fun fact:

Hmm. We'll have to think on this and get back to you.

Why him?

Kaine is the safest pick, least likely to excite or enrage anyone. In other words, he seems like someone that the obstinately careful Clinton would go for. He was governor, so he understands executive branches. Like every other vice-president in history, he is a white guy. CNN reports that when Obama vetted Kaine back in 2008, "people close to that process say nothing was discovered that would disqualify him."

He also speaks fluent Spanish, which is a useful skill for a campaign against Donald "Taco Bowl" Trump. The betting markets also think he's in the lead, with Warren in second place.

Why not?

Zzzzz ... what? Huh? Sorry, I fell asleep while trying to think of more exciting things about Tim Kaine. He's also a bit out of step with Clinton on abortion; although he is against overturning Roe v. Wade and supports Planned Parenthood, he is Catholic and personally opposes abortion. Picking him would also leave a Senate seat open in a swing state.

Our annual game of wondering about vice-presidential picks often involves lots of talk about how the right choice could help a party's prospects in a swing state, but the effect is minimal. Yes, Kaine is from Virginia, but should we even care?

Also, as Brian Beutler points out, any "running mate she eventually does select will rightly be seen as an extension of her own ideology and her views about governing as president." If she chooses Kaine, it's evidence that a President Clinton would be as safe and cautious a leader as she's been her entire electoral career.

What has he said about all this?

He winked at some reporters.

Julián Castro

Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

Who?

He's the secretary of housing and urban development, and the former mayor of San Antonio.

Fun fact:

His twin brother, Joaquin, is a member of Congress. Julián is one minute older. When they both ran for the student senate at Stanford, they both got 811 votes.

Why him?

In a year in which Hispanic voters make up an ever-increasing part of the electorate and are especially miffed with the Republican candidate, it wouldn't hurt for the Democrats to put a rising Latino politician on the ticket. He's only 41, and he comes from Texas — the state that the Pew Research Center says has the second-highest percentage of eligible Hispanic voters in the entire country.

He also has an inspiring story — one that he recounted in his prime-time debut at the 2012 Democratic National Convention — and he and his brother have clearly been working toward attaining heights like the White House for awhile; an Atlantic profile from last year noted that Joaquin once got his brother a joke book titled How to Be President as a birthday present.

There has never been a Hispanic vice-presidential nominee.

Why not?

He doesn't have much experience. If Clinton was looking for an antidote to her reputation for considered carefulness, Castro might not be the best choice for sidekick; he conceded to Politico that many consider him "overly cautious." Also, the Democrats aren't going to win Texas anyway, so.

What has he said about all this?

Castro has been veep bait for so long that he's made an art of avoiding questions about the matter.

Choose your favorite:

— “It’s not my decision; it’s nobody’s to claim.”

— "That's not going to happen."

— "I'm not going to get into that. Number one, I've said for a long time, I don't believe that's going to happen."

He has clearly read the manual on how to attract vice-presidential buzz. We assume he has also mentioned how much he loves the job he has now at least five times.

Castro's brother has been more forthcoming, telling the Washington Post, “if Julián does become vice president, I’m either going to shave my head or grow a beard, just to make sure no one mistakes me for him.” He added to Texas Public Radio that his brother was definitely qualified: “Absolutely. He did more as mayor in one week that most people in Congress do in six months."

Sherrod Brown

Who?

He's the senior senator from Ohio.

Fun fact:

He is one of 10 Eagle Scouts in the Senate.

Why him?

Brown's been doing this politics thing forever — since the '70s. He's popular with progressives, unlike some people. (We're talking about you, Hillary.) He also knows Clinton well, and they would probably work well together. He gets the body-language expert seal of approval; when the New York Times asked one to analyze a photo of the pair, she noted, “[Clinton's] body is leaning into his, and she never leans into anybody. She adores that guy. And you can tell that he knows his place. You don’t see him trying to take over.”

Why not?

Remember those annoying open Senate seats? Democrats have the same problem when considering Brown. John Kasich would get to pick his replacement, at least until a special election was held. He's also only a few years younger than Clinton, so there's not much of a contrast there. Although he's been talking about economic inequality for awhile, he's also been completely overshadowed by Warren.

What has he said about all this?

— “I have zero interest in being vice president."

— "I've made it clear I don't really want this job. I don't want to be president."

— "We know you have to ask that question. I'm not going to answer it any differently. I respect the work you do. I'm not going to answer any differently. I love the job I'm doing."

Ah yes, there it is. He loves his job! There is definitely a guide for how to be a perfect vice-presidential hopeful. Joe Biden probably wrote it. Maybe Tim Kaine did the foreword.

Tom Perez

Who?

The current secretary of labor.

Fun fact:

Perez is the son of Dominican immigrants and grew up in Buffalo; he worked really hard to get where he is today. While attending Brown, he worked as a garbage collector to pay the bills.

Why him?

He's a Hispanic politician with far more experience than Castro, and given his career, labor groups like him too. He's been making the campaign trail rounds, and he's fiery and blunt when it comes to Donald Trump and issues like the minimum wage, inequality, police brutality, and voting rights (and, unlike Elizabeth Warren, he isn't in possession of a much-desired Senate seat).

Why not?

As with Warren, business types hate him. He's also not well known. Although he's been in government forever, he's also sort of a newbie to this whole elections thing.

What has he said about all this?

“I honestly don’t give a thought for the following reason. I’ve got so much going on in my day job. And I’ve been around politics enough to know all the swirl that’s fit to print, and so I focus on the reality of the here and now. It’s all about her, it’s not about me.”

Nope, he's definitely never thought about it. Not even once. Also, the term "vice-president" is pretty weird to begin with. If Donald Trump is elected, will he, given his ... unorthodox leadership qualities and résumé, also be called a vice-president? What will we call his running mate in that case?

Cory Booker

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Who?

Junior New Jersey senator and unofficial Twitter Task Rabbit.

Fun fact:

You can probably see what he is doing at this very moment on Twitter or Snapchat.

Why him?

He's 47 years old, internet-friendly, and African-American. Like many of the people above, he's been cross-training on the campaign trail all year. Booker clearly aspires to big things — he published a book this year. The title is United.

Why not?

He has one of those pesky Senate seats in a state with a Republican governor. He also doesn't have that much experience, having only been in the Senate for three years. As a Democrat from the Northeast, he also has plenty of connections to Wall Street, perhaps something Clinton doesn't want to reinforce.

What has he said about all this?

"I am hearing much more from media folks like you asking me these questions. It’s flattering and everything like that, but I’m not being vetted."

Other possibilities

Many other candidates have been asked about being Clinton's vice-presidential nominee, and all have gotten very good at pretending they have no idea what's going on.

California representative Xavier Becerra

"Great question, let me know when you find out."

Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti

"I’m not looking for a new job. I have a great one right now, and that’s being mayor of the city."

Minnesota senator Al Franken

"If Hillary Clinton came to me and said, ‘Al, I really need you to be my vice-president, to run with me,’ I would say yes, but I'm very happy in the job that I have right now."

Colorado governor John Hickenlooper

"I have the best job in the world. I think that list is a very long list and I think that I'm down towards the bottom, so ... that's not the point of contention or a point of real discussion."

The best job!