BAYHAM: Who Will Be The Donald’s Apprentice?

If you think a man who has made $200,000,000.00 from his hit television show The Apprentice was just going to issue a humdrum press release on the person who will serve as his understudy on the campaign trail and if successful in the White House, you don’t understand Trump.

Donald Trump is first and foremost a showman.  There are plenty of wealthy, successful real estate people in New York, but none more famous because The Donald has always put a premium on his brand.

The media has largely been gamed by all of the gossip and leaks throughout the entire running mate scoping process.  One week former House speaker Newt Gingrich was a lock.  Then it was supposed to be one of two generals.  The flavor of the week is Indiana governor Mike Pence, who was supposed to be announced on Tuesday as his running mate.

Trump went so far as teasing it at a rally in Indiana where he was joined by Pence.  The press had circulated a story where Pence has visited with the Trump family, who are reportedly favoring the former congressman.

And just to mix it up, Trump keeps dropping Chris Christie’s name, but nobody is buying that as the New Jersey governor’s inclusion on the ticket would hardly lock up the Garden State.

In fact Christie would actually make Hillary’s margin even bigger there as Christie’s popularity has crashed harder than the Hindenburg, standing at 26%.

Trump tweeted out that he would be announcing his selection on Friday morning from Trump Tower.

Whether his running mate is standing behind his office desk is unknown, particularly as the media cracked the code on Mitt Romney’s choice of running mate by obtaining the flight itinerary of a plane Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan boarded.

So far the names that have been most tossed around in the media do not impress nor truly add much to the ticket.

Gingrich is not well liked by women, a handicap Trump really does not need to double down on.  His prospects got a spike with the suspension of his commentator contract with Fox News due to a potential conflict of interest for a news outlet, yet I suspect the checks from Rupert Murdoch will be flowing again shortly.

Newt has enjoyed the attention and rebuilding of his stature after his presidential bid got pounded into powder in 2012.  Also Trump kind of owes Newt after yanking the rug out from under him by not following through on an endorsement that was supposed to be a lock.

Alabama US Senator Jeff Sessions would be about as helpful to Trump as John Sparkman was to Adlai Stevenson’s presidential bid in 1952 (the last time an Alabaman was chosen to be on a ticket).  Sessions is also enjoying the rise in stature from the speculation, a gift for endorsing Trump early and damaging some of Ted Cruz’s illegal immigration cred.

The military man who is closest to Trump is Lt. General Michael Flynn, who got in hot water for dancing around an abortion question.  Though four star General Stanley McChrystal’s name has also been discussed, the Afghanistan operation military commander publicly declined any interest in assuming any role with Trump. Both Flynn and McChrystal are Democrats.

In a rare “elimination” statement, the candidate himself said he’s not inclined to go with a military person for running mate, which would probably hurt him with the Bernie voters whose support he has publicly coveted.

And Christie’s value has already been appraised (in Zimbabwe currency).

Which leaves the governor of Indiana as the only alternative in the bunch….unless Trump has been hiding one or two other serious contenders out of public view.

Pence possesses the congressional experience Trump has said was a strong qualification and word of the Indianan’s imminent selection has reassured many conservatives that a Trump White House would govern from the right-of-center.

But what does Pence bring the ticket?

Indiana is not really a purple state, for decades being the most reliably Republican state north of the Ohio River.

In 2008, Hoosiers barely broke towards Barack Obama by 30,000 votes only to regain their senses four years later opposing the president’s re-election by a margin of over 250,000 votes.

Pence isn’t a household name, having only made the national news after being buffaloed by the media and corporate America into changing his position on legislation that would not have compelled businesses to provide services that run counter to their religious beliefs.  Pence’s political stock dropped precipitously thereafter.

The fiasco cost Pence dearly with conservatives who were previously hoping that he would run for president in 2016.  The whole affair will be replayed by the media the moment a Trump-Pence ticket becomes official.

Some have speculated that the timing of Trump’s running mate announcement is to accommodate Pence, who needs to file for re-election as governor of Indiana by noon on Friday if he’s not tapped to join the ticket.  If Pence is not the choice, he could buy Trump more time to tantalize the media and the public by simply removing his name from consideration for vice-president.

Though the stars seem aligned for a Trump-Pence ticket, don’t be surprised if the Friday morning announcement is just the latest “Trump Fake” to create a greater frenzy.



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