Donald Trump, the current GOP front-runner in election 2016, will select Susana Martinez, the governor of New Mexico, as his vice presidential running mate, assuming Trump wins the Republican nomination.
Given that Hillary Clinton is his likely (but not 100 percent certain) opponent, and that The Donald has been accused of misogyny, it seems essential to put a woman on the Trump ticket.
Susana Martinez is the first woman ever to be elected governor of her state and the first Hispanic female governor in the U.S. She is the 2016 chair of the Republican Governors Association.
A former long-time prosecutor with a tough law-and-order philosophy and like Trump a former Democrat, Gov. Martinez – who was reelected for a second term in 2014 — checks all the boxes, to use an annoying cliché, and also puts a swing/blue state into play for the Republicans in the Electoral College for the general election.
That being said, an elected official of Martinez’s stature would understandably only accept the VP slot if it came with substantive responsibilities rather than just traditional place-holding ceremonial duties, however.
Martinez served as District Attorney for Dona Ana County in New Mexico for 14 years prior to successfully running for governor against then-Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, the Democrat candidate, in 2010.
Susana Martinez cut perhaps the best political ad in the 2010 election cycle.
According to the Libertarian Republic in April 2015, “As governor, Martinez has been consistently conservative, refusing to raise taxes and balancing the budget without doing so… he is ardently pro-life and staunchly supports the 2nd Amendment, including the right to concealed carry.”
Martinez supports strong border security, ended New Mexico’s “sanctuary state” policy, and has been trying to convince an uncooperative legislature to repeal the state’s “dangerous” practice of issuing driver’s licenses to illegal aliens.
In a Washington Times op-ed, she set forth her views on comprehensive immigration reform in which she wrote, in part, “Solutions do not rest with rewards for lawbreaking, but neither do they lie in shutting America’s doors and rolling up the welcome mat.”
You’ll recall that Donald Trump created a firestorm when announcing his presidential candidacy last summer with these claims.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best… They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Gov. Martinez subsequently condemned those remarks in very strong terms.
“I absolutely disagree with him. I think those are horrible things to say about anyone or any culture… anyone of any ethnicity. I mean, that is uncalled for, completely.”
— Russell Contreras (@RussContreras) January 26, 2016
Since then, Trump has repeatedly declared that he loves the Mexican people and has thousands of Hispanic employees who he also loves.
Trump has also vowed to deport all illegal aliens from the U.S., a promise with which most politicians on both sides of the aisle disagree and find unworkable. This blanket policy may only be an initial negotiating ploy along the lines of what was suggested in the Trump best-seller The Art of the Deal, however. As everyone knows, he also plans to build a “beautiful” border wall that Mexico will pay for. In addition, he has proposed a temporary halt to immigration into the U.S. from Muslim countries.
Susana Martinez is a full-spectrum political leader (not a one-issue candidate by any means), which is reflected in her 2016 State of the State speech. Let’s assume, though, that she fundamentally disagrees with Trump’s policies on immigration, based on his past rhetoric and on the above-mentioned op-ed that used the comprehensive immigration reform terminology, and that this could be a possible deal-breaker.
— Russell Contreras (@RussContreras) January 19, 2016
There has been no further reporting about what Gov. Martinez thinks about Donald Trump six months down the road or whether she is officially throwing her support to any of his rivals.
For discussion purposes, how might things be resolved between the Trump and Martinez for the GOP presidential ticket?
First, it’s typical in any political year that rhetoric during the heat of a primary season gets papered over or finessed when the general election comes around. This applies to both political parties. For example, is there any doubt that Bernie Sanders ultimately won’t endorse Hillary Clinton if he is unable to get the Democrat nomination for himself?
Second, if Trump selects Martinez, and if she accepts, this is how the press conference at Trump Tower in Manhattan could play out (or words to this effect).
“I don’t see eye to eye with members of my own family about everything, so it should be no surprise that Mr. Trump and I have disagreements about some key issues. But we completely agree that decisive steps need to be taken to create jobs and restore America’s economy.
“We also agree that preventing Hillary Clinton [insert other Democrat] from carrying out a third Obama term is of utmost importance, which will require the Republican party to be unified.
“He has promised me, moreover, that I will have a seat at the table during any major decisions made by the Trump administration.”
A possible complicating factor for Gov. Martinez is an embarrassing Christmas Party 911 call, but that mini-scandal seems to have dropped out of the news cycle, at least for now.
“Susana Martinez, New Mexico’s current chief executive and the country’s first Latina Gov. is a rising star in the Republican party. However, talk of her potential as a VP pick or future presidential candidate has quieted following a drunken party in which she harassed police officer,” the Los Angeles Times insisted.
There may apparently be several other scandals that could be percolating in New Mexico, but whether they are politically motivated as a way to damage the governor remains to be seen.
In December 2015, the Washington Post also claimed that Gov. Martinez’s once-rising star was fading, but that may be spin from left-wing activists for whom she is a frequent target. Mainstream media outlets like the Post also insisted for long periods of time, however, that Donald Trump had no chance to win the GOP nomination and would drop out quickly or that the Denver Broncos had zero chance against the New England Patriots in Sunday’s AFC championship game.
As with all predictions in an unpredictable political year, your mileage may vary.
Do you think that Donald Trump will pick New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez as his vice presidential running mate? If not, what is your prediction?
[Photo by Russell Contreras/AP]