Politics & Elections: Vilsack for VP?

As we near the Democratic National Convention, rumors fly about who Hillary Clinton will choose as her running mate. One name in the air is Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Also, one more thing to blame on millennials: the rural/urban age gap.

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We can tear ourselves away from CNN/FOX/PBS/MSNBC long enough to report that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is getting lots of mention now as Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential running mate.

Check out Politico’s story about the former Iowa governor, which finds that his “stock rises” as Clinton nears the time when she’ll choose her VP. Yes, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and Labor Secretary Tom Perez are hot, but “it’s another member of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet whose stock has been steadily and notably rising in recent days, vaulting him into what close Clinton friends call the ‘top tier’: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack,” Politico reports.

Vilsack looks more attractive after Republican Donald Trump picked a Midwesterner, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. Politico reports that Democratic governors are pressing for Vilsack, who has been Ag Secretary since the beginning of the Obama administration.

Clinton knows Vilsack well, and Politico reports that the Iowan helps her where she needs help the most. Vilsack’s supporters say “he could stand to play a significant role as Clinton courts white working-class men — especially in rural areas — in the Midwest, a constituency she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, are particularly concerned about as Trump targets them.”

But, who knows? The New York Times reports that Clinton wants a running mate who can bring national security credentials to her campaign. So she’s looking at both Kaine and retired admiral James G. Stavridis.

The Washington Post, meanwhile, reports that two names have risen to the top in the VP scrum: Vilsack and Kaine. Here is the Post’s Anne Gearan and Abby Phillip on Vilsack:

“Vilsack also comes with a compelling personal story. He was placed in an orphanage as a young boy in Pittsburgh, then adopted. His adoptive mother was an alcoholic, something he mentions frequently in addresses about the problem of opioid addiction, an issue that falls under the purview of the Department of Agriculture and for which he shares a passion with Clinton.”

The Times and the Post report that Clinton will make her decision known on Friday or Saturday.


A Fox poll in Colorado finds Clinton ahead of Trump in that state by 10 points. She wins big among women, Hispanics and whites with a college degree.

Trump wins rural voters by ten points, 46 to 36 percent.


Stateline reports that an “age gap” is producing political conflicts between big cities and states. Specifically, as young people congregate in the nation’s largest cities, these metro areas are enacting policies that aren’t appreciated statewide.

There are 20 large cities in 16 states where the percentage of college-educated millennials is at least twice that of the state. Madison, Wisconsin, for example, counts 20 percent of its population as millennials with college degrees. In the state as a whole, it’s 6.5 percent.

Other cities on the list include Nashville, Columbus, Cincinnati, Portland, Pittsburgh, Austin, Orlando….Well, you get the picture.

Stateline reporter Tim Henderson contends that the millennial-filled cities are producing policies that aren’t appreciated in the rest of the state. Austin passed a ban on plastic grocery bags. Other cities have supported fracking bans, higher minimum wages and funds spent for bicycle lanes instead of new roads. Charlotte approved a law barring businesses from discriminating against gay, lesbian and transgender customers.

“There are many demographic shifts going on in North Carolina and across the country that worry and anger people in small towns,” Durham City Council member Don Moffitt told Stateline. “They see the large urban centers growing and thriving, while populations in small towns are decreasing.”

And that is producing political conflicts around the country.




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