A crucial question about anyone who runs for president is: When the stakes are high, will the interests of the country come first? Or will political considerations dominate? On matters of foreign policy, the Supreme Court or the economy, though, we can only guess and hope.
But one major decision can’t wait until after the election. It has to be made and revealed long beforehand, offering an excellent preview of a presidential candidate’s priorities, judgment and maturity. It’s the designation of a running mate.
Not that this test applies to Donald Trump, whose unsuitability is beyond redemption by anyone who would consent to run with him. But it applies to Hillary Clinton, whose choice is especially important because she would be the second-oldest person ever to enter the White House.
The traditional approach is to find someone to balance the ticket with respect to various attributes. The youthful New Englander Jack Kennedy enlisted the older Southerner Lyndon Johnson. Conservative Californian Ronald Reagan picked moderate George Bush, who was transplanted from Connecticut to Texas.