Well, the primaries are finally over—but for the Democratic convention in Philadelphia next week, when Hillary Clinton will be nominated as the party’s candidate for the general election. The GOP convention, a raucous affair in Cleveland last week, nominated Donald Trump as the Republican standard bearer. And, what a show that was. From Melania Trump’s plagiarized speech to Ted Cruz’s non-endorsement of Trump (which got him booed from the stage), it mirrored the Trump campaign from start to finish, like an episode of one of his kitschy reality shows. It’s likely that there will be some fireworks at next week’s Democratic convention, as Sanders’ supporters push for elimination of the super delegate system, and generally express their frustration that their candidate didn’t make the cut. But, it’s not likely to rise (or sink) to the level of events in Cleveland.

At any rate, from next week until November, much of the focus will be on the Clinton-Trump matchup. Two candidates who aren’t all that popular in their own party (one due to some of her own missteps as well as an orchestrated campaign by her political enemies aided by the feeding frenzy of the media for anything that sounds like scandal, and the other by his own boorish speech and behavior) will probably be the main focus of the media’s attention.

While the stubs on the ticket won’t be ignored, it’s unlikely they’ll get as much attention, and that’s a shame, because that’s what will motivate a lot of voters in November.

The vice presidential selections, like the position itself, seldom get much notice—with the exception of the choice of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate. But, Ms. Palin is a special breed of cat, so she hardly counts.

I’d like, though, to shine some light on this little-considered aspect of the presidential elections. The choice of a number two on the ticket is based on balance. The vice president, as far as the election is concerned, is intended to balance weak areas of the number one; to appeal to voters who might, for whatever reasons, not be too happy with the head honcho.

In Clinton’s case, there’s a need to appeal to those who fear she might not be progressive enough. In that regard, Senator Tim Kaine, a former governor of Virginia, is an inspired choice. There will still be those who feel he’s taken the wrong stand on a number of issues, trade in particular, so far there’s not been a hint of scandal, which balances the storm that often rages around any politician named Clinton. As governor of Virginia, he stood up to the NRA, which should appeal to a large number of voters who are concerned with the hold that organization seems to have on the GOP. He’s a solid—some would even say stolid—politician, who has said he’s against abortion, but firmly believes in a woman’s right to choose. All in all, he’s probably the best choice Clinton could have made going into what promises to be one of the ugliest election contests in decades.

Trump, on the other hand, had a higher hurdle to get over. He’s not only alienated a huge percentage of women voters with his misogynistic attitude, minorities of all kinds, and just about anyone he considers a ‘loser,’ he’s gratuitously insulted members of his own party who had the gall to stand up to some of his more outrageous behavior. In order to achieve anything remotely resembling balance, he needed someone who would appeal to women and minorities. How will Indiana governor Mike Pence fare in that department? A six-term congressman, he was elected Indiana governor in 2012. One of the early things he did in that job was to sign a ‘religious freedom law’ that allows businesses in Indiana to discriminate against same sex couples. That’s one minority he’s not likely to attract. Raised Catholic, he now calls himself a born again Christian. Okay, he might be acceptable to the religious far right, but I wonder what he’ll do with the Catholic vote. During the primary, Pence supported Ted Cruz, but failed to deliver the Indiana vote for his candidate. Huh? Go figure that one out. Pence has a record of taking a strongly conservative stance on women’s rights issues. In April, for instance, Pence signed one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. Scratch the women’s vote, except for those who would have voted for Trump anyway. Last fall, Pence signed an executive order, banning the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana, and tried to block aid for those already in the state. While he’s on record as opposing Trump’s plan to block all Muslims from entering the U.S., this probably won’t be enough to get many votes from voters who are immigrants. Oh, and just for fun, in April, Pence signed an order banning boys from wearing clothing with ‘gay’ colors, such as pink or chartreuse, which he termed ‘gateway colors for young boys who might have an inclination toward homosexuality.’ While Pence is nowhere near as gross and insulting in public as Trump (okay, that’s a plus), and he does have some experience in government (another plus), it’s hard to see how he is anything more than sandbags against a rising flood of discontent with the number one on the ticket.

And, there you have it. The ticket—Clinton-Trump—and the stubs; Kaine-Pence. This promises to be one very interesting election.

Published by Charles Ray