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The Vice Presidency in 2024

The independent presidential candidate Robert Kennedy Jr. (RFK Jr.) announced on March 26, 2024, the running mate on his presidential ticket: Nicole Shanahan. She is the fourth woman to ever get nominated for this position. A position that never got a clear definite job description.

The Evolution of the Vice Presidency (VP)

The vice presidency was not mentioned in the original Constitution. The Senate leader was previously mandated to replace the President if the latter was incapacitated. The VP position was created in 1787 but was managed by a committee. 

During the 19th century, the VP nomination was politically significant in expanding the geographic appeal of the presidential nominee. At the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Truman stated he was unprepared to become President, especially in an unstable time like WWII. Since then, vice presidents have been properly trained to take over the presidency if the commander-in-chief in place was unexpectedly incapacitated.

Today, the modern VP position is more media-oriented. Their nomination became a significant part of media election campaign strategies by creating speculations to draw more attention and excitement in the race. The modern VP is also used to balance out the political ideologies and weaknesses of the presidential candidate, as well as focusing on advocating policies to widen their appeal to the American voters.

Who is Nicole Shanahan

Robert Kennedy Jr. stated he wanted someone “athletic,” who is "battle-tested" and has empathy for average Americans. The football star player Aaron Rodgers was one of the names considered, but RFK Jr. chose the wealthy Californian lawyer Nicole Shanahan. 

Defined as a “mom warrior” by RFK Jr., she has yet to become nationally known. Shanahan founded the Bia-Echo Foundation, which directs money toward issues like women's reproductive science and equality, criminal justice advocacy and environmental causes.

This nomination surprised many voters considering her close ties to the Silicon Valley technology culture that RFK Jr. frequently critiqued. He defended his choice by stating her connections would be very helpful to his administration and the country by confronting the tech industry’s power and influence. Moreover, her knowledge of artificial intelligence would assist the government in this transformative technology. 

Trump’s Future Selection

Donald Trump, the Republican presumptive nominee, is the only major presidential candidate left to present his running mate. Following the January 6th attack, his former vice president Mike Pence distanced himself from Trump. Trump confirmed he has a short list of potential candidates but does not want to show it. Many names are floating around, including his former opponent Nikki Haley. 

However, the most frequent name is Senator Tim Scott from North Carolina. Scott also campaigned to become the Republican presidential nominee but quickly opted out and supported Donald Trump. Vivek Ramaswamy was also a candidate for the nomination but suspended his campaign following disappointing results in the Iowa caucuses. Strong Trump supporter and ex-Arizona governor candidate Kari Lake is also in the mix. 

The party is expected to formally announce its presidential ticket during its National Convention in August.

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