General Question

Patty_Melt's avatar

Candidates and spouse running mate?

Asked by Patty_Melt (11852points) 4 weeks ago

Is there any restriction preventing a presidential candidate from choosing their spouse/life partner for their running mate?

If it were to occur, how would you feel about voting for a married couple?

What about father and son, or mother and daughter, or similar combination?

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15 Answers

stanleybmanly's avatar

Talent is where you find it, and God knows we certainly have no surplus of talent when it comes to our politicians. It makes perfect sense that an individual skilled in any profession might have a close relative gifted with similar skills.

zenvelo's avatar

I can’t think of very many pairs that would have done well as President/Vice President. The two closest to that possibility that I can think of are Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Clintons. So one out of two would be considered successful. I voted for Hillary, but I think if she had been Bill’s VP it would have been a disaster.

Patty_Melt's avatar

How about wife – wife?
Husband – husband?

@zenvelo, the Roosevelts did pop into my mind after I posted my question.

janbb's avatar

Generally, candidates are looking for a running mate who will pull in a different demographic than that which will support them so it is unlikely but I don’t know that there’s anything to prevent it.

imrainmaker's avatar

How about Donald and Ivanka for next elections?~

Zaku's avatar

My first thought is how it could be effective practically for getting votes via all the media attention, novelty, and public interest and entertainment value, rather than anything serious or meaningful or intelligent.

My second thought is about the usual policy (?) that the President and Vice President needing to usually be in different locations for national security purposes. Seems problematic for their relationship and well-being.

snowberry's avatar

It would be a new twist on nepotism.

filmfann's avatar

Indeed, there is a restriction.
The twelfth amendment partially reads “The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; ”
This is known as the Inhabitant Clause. What it means is that the President and Vice Presidental candidates from the same party must not be residents from the same state.
Interestingly, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were both residents of Texas. Cheney changed his state of resistance to qualify the ticket.
In other words, the first thing they did when they decided to run together was subvert the Constitution.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Ahhhh! Great answer! This is information I did not know.
I never liked Cheney or GW.
It seemed like they didn’t even try to keep their sliminess a secret.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Having asked this question, I’m thinking of using the scenario for a story I’ve been contemplating.
I am glad I did ask, so I can adjust the situation to fit reality.
I would like more input, how jellies think about the possibility.

I’m working a story over in my mind. I do a lot of contemplation before I begin writing. I find that it reduces my rewrites from hundreds to mere dozens. If I don’t, I end up wanting my original beginning to happen later in the story, and work on more lead in.
Anyway, in view of the restriction of separate states, maybe I can start with a bachelor(ette), and as candidate campaigns with running “mate”, they become close, and marry right after inauguration. So romantic! Lots more lead in with this. The true meat of the story would not be revealed until halfway through. Loving it!

What are your thoughts, @all, if a real life unmarried individual were elected, and in addition, if he or she married their vice president?
Is the idea of an unmarried candidate somehow repugnant?

snowberry's avatar

@Patty_Melt it happens all the time, and it’s perfectly acceptable in sports teams- even in the Olympics. So it’s not quite as slimy as you think. I’m not endorsing what they did, but I am trying to add perspective.

Patty_Melt's avatar

True that, but they were slimy about so darn many things.

Zaku's avatar

@Patty_Melt I remember in some politics classes (back in the relatively much more civilized 1980’s) the subject being discussed about how the US people tend to elect presidents based on a presidential archetype, which seems to require them to be married, Christian (and in the 20th Century, a male white Anglo-Saxon Protestant), and preferably have served in the military and (pre-Trump) have some political experience. Before 1980 (Reagan), it also seemed important to seem convincingly intelligent, knowledgeable, thoughtful and well-spoken.

We seem to be unraveling the archetype and qualifications extremely quickly, but it seems to me that the experience and intelligence requirements went out the window much more readily than the married and (pretends to be) Christian requirements… but my guess is that being married isn’t entirely required any more, either. In fact, I think since sometime this century it’s fallen to mainly whoever one of the two de facto parties chooses, though they still make some effort/pretext to only violate a few aspects of the archetype at a time, and may even choose to do so to add spice/interest and the illusion of open-mindedness.

e.g.
* Obama was male, married, Christian Protestant, experienced, smart, well-spoken, but not white.
* Clinton was white, married, Christian Protestant, experienced, smart, well-spoken, but female.
* Romney was white, male, married, experienced, smart enough for a modern Republican, semi-well-spoken, but Mormon.

* Trump surprised people by breaking a few of those, mainly not seeming to be approved by a big party leadership, but also by being inexperienced, ridiculous, scandalously buffoonish, and self-contradictory and spouting and Tweeting preposterous nonsense, but he is still white, male, married, (fake) Christian Protestant.

There have only ever been two unmarried presidents, long ago. I think it’s not consciously repugnant to most people so much as it just doesn’t match the image / archetype. Of course there would be a lot of BS about no first lady and inquiring into his personal life. If he married his vice president, it would be an absolute media / pop culture frenzy, and as long as they were likable, would probably tend to endear people to them, I expect.

snowberry's avatar

@Zaku all those you mentioned were fake Christians, if you count Christianity as matching up the behavior with what they say they believe. And Mormons are not protestant.

Zaku's avatar

@snowberry Perhaps – I haven’t studied their faiths terribly closely, but my impression is Obama, Clinton and Romney (well, and even Trump) all pass as officially Protestant (& Mormon for Romney) enough for most voters for whom that might change their approval. When people criticize any of them on religious honesty, I’d tend to expect the person criticizing would be someone who already disapproves of them, or who is a rare stickler for religious adherence.

That is, I don’t think the image / archetype required for election is actually behavior rigorously matching their stated Christianity under the level of scrutiny you’re applying, though I expect that is a factor for voters who are focused on that issue. I think Obama’s and Clinton’s behavior mostly passes the usually required standard of Christianity, and even Trump’s Christian card seems to pass.

As for Mormonism, I know it’s not Protestant, which is why I listed it bolded as Romney’s only exception to the archetype.

What I think would have a harder time passing, would be a Muslim or Atheist or Pagan, or even a Jew, Buddhist or Hindu. Bernie Sanders made a strong run as a largely-unknown/unexpected un-party/corporate-funded/supported Jew with the corporate media against him, and it did come up as an issue amongst the many others, but it looks like some other religions may be electable now, although note that Bernie was also white, male, married, experienced, smart, well-spoken, but a Social Democrat.

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