Hillary Clinton is not going to be Bloomberg’s vice president

“I think it’s the job of the independent press to make sure that Bloomberg’s record and messages are being scrutinized… especially when you have someone basically paying their way into the conversation,” Irin Carmon says. Joan Walsh says “he’s hiding behind his ads, he’s the phantom of the primary,” so she hopes he qualifies for the next Democratic debate.

“Will we see a Mike Bloomberg-Hillary Clinton ticket in 2020?!” That’s been the question bandied about in some parts of the media since the Drudge Report, the conservative media outlet, published “exclusive” reporting Saturday that former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg is considering asking the 2016 Democratic nominee to be his running mate if he wins the nomination.

According to Drudge, “Sources close to Bloomberg campaign tell DRUDGE REPORT that the candidate is considering Hillary as running mate, after their polling found the Bloomberg-Clinton combination would be a formidable force…” Drudge tantalizingly added links to articles to support this claim, such as one that read, “Clinton would get her revenge against Trump.”

Let’s start by saying this: It is not going to happen. Bloomberg is a long way from leading, let alone winning, the race for the Democratic nomination. There’s no indication he would ask Clinton to be on his ticket, and no compelling reason why she would accept.

As a former Clinton surrogate in 2016 to the Muslim American community, I hope Clinton — if asked — would say no. And that’s not because I think she wouldn’t help the ticket. Simply put, Clinton, as a former US senator, secretary of state and first lady, should be no one’s second fiddle. In fact, if not for the Electoral College system, Clinton would be president of the United States today. She won the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes over Donald Trump in 2016, but Trump got the ultimate participation trophy by being awarded the White House.

Clinton has said as much, telling Ellen DeGeneres earlier this month, when asked whether she would consider being a vice presidential candidate, “Well, that’s not going to happen. But no, probably no.”

That’s 100% understandable, given her remarkable career and what the vice presidency is truly about. As the official US Senate website notes, the vice presidency is “the least understood, most ridiculed, and most often ignored constitutional office in the federal government.” John Nance Garner, who served as vice president under Franklin D. Roosevelt, famously had this observation on the job, “The vice presidency is not worth a bucket of warm spit.”

A vice president doesn’t run an agency or set policy initiatives, as Clinton did when she was secretary of state, where she used her office to advocate for women’s rights globally. True, a vice president can have input on policy, but the impact is based solely on how much a president heeds that advice.

However, Clinton did add on DeGeneres’ show, “I never say never because I do believe in serving my country.” Service to the country is a noble calling, and one Clinton has done exemplarily as both a senator and secretary of state. If a Democrat wins in 2020, he or she would be wise to make an over-qualified Clinton attorney general or a US Supreme Court justice.

At this point, the Bloomberg campaign hasn’t outright denied the story, instead saying through a campaign spokesperson, “We are focused on the primary and the debate, not VP speculation.”

And that raises another vitally important point. Democrats should be focused on the primary and vetting candidates running for the 2020 nomination, and not be led astray to chase these stories. That’s especially true for Bloomberg, who has only recently begun campaigning in earnest and who has not yet appeared on the Democratic debate stage.

With his recent rise in the polls and the fact he will finally be on the ballot come “Super Tuesday,” every minute spent debating who is the best vice president to run with any of the Democratic presidential candidates is one less examining Bloomberg’s policies as mayor of New York, ranging from “stop and frisk” to his widespread surveillance of the Muslim community — which prompted federal lawsuits — not to mention the recently reported allegations about Bloomberg’s history of sexist comments about women dating back to the 1990s.

In a tweet, the Bloomberg campaign stated, “He has zero tolerance for an environment where women aren’t respected or don’t have a seat at the table and a voice.”

You have to wonder whether the Bloomberg campaign leaked the trial balloon of Clinton as his running mate to distract from these issues, especially given recent reporting that Bloomberg has settled lawsuits alleging he presided over a hostile workplace for women.

Then again, right wing actors could have leaked it, given that Clinton is clickbait for them. For example, while the Trump impeachment hearings were taking place last fall, Fox News was covering Hillary’s emails with headlines such as, “State Department report on Clinton emails finds hundreds of violations, dozens of individuals at fault.” A GOP member of Congress in October even was on the cable network calling for further investigations of Clinton’s emails. Clinton is catnip for the right — they love to hate her.

Regardless of who is behind the leak, my hope is that Clinton stays true to her instincts shared on DeGeneres’ show that she would not serve as a vice president, and that she still believes in service to her country. I’d love to see Attorney General Hillary Clinton. Not only would it be great for our nation, but Clinton running the Department of Justice would freak out Donald Trump!

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