Friday, May 03, 2024


As we all know, Donald Trump really thinks he's the Donald Trump of The Apprentice, the brilliant decision-maker who holds the fate of many supplicants in the palm of his undersized hand. He's entertaining himself this weekend with an Apprentice-style cattle call for potential running mates:
At least six contenders for the former president's running mate – Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.; Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio; Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y.; South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and North Dakota Gov. Doug Bergum – will attend a Republican donor retreat Friday and Saturday in Palm Beach, Florida, in what looks like a series of auditions.
What, no Tulsi Gabbard? No Byron Donalds? No Marjorie Taylor Greene? Or should we tune in this weekend for surprise special guests? (You can't actually tune in -- but if Trump understood the technology better, he would have arranged to have this livestreamed as a pay-per-view special on Truth Social. The rubes would definitely pay to watch that! And The New York Times would be delighted....)

A Bloomberg story says that, "according to people familiar with the deliberations as recently as this week," the real shortlist consists of the four men attending: Vance, Burgum, Scott, and Rubio. But wait -- wouldn't there be a constitutional problem if Trump ran with Rubio?

A couple of days ago, The Bulwark's Marc Caputo addressed this. His conclusion: If Trump decides to pick Rubio, he'd make Rubio solve the problem.
The Twelfth Amendment says that if the president and vice president inhabit the same state when the states’ electors cast their ballots (that’s on December 17 this year), the ticket could lose its Electoral College votes from that state (Florida has 30, 11 percent of the total needed to win the White House)....

“Marco has this residency problem,” is how Trump describes it to others.
(It's constitutional to run a ticket with two candidates from the same state. It's not constitutional for electors from that state to vote for both people on the ticket, even if that ticket wins the state.)
TRUMP IS STRONGLY CONSIDERING Rubio because he’s keenly aware Rubio is fluent in Spanish, is the only Hispanic on his shortlist, and is attractive to the establishment donors his cash-hungry campaign needs.
I think Trump is also considering Rubio because he seems kinda submissive.

But wait -- isn't there a simple solution to the residency problem? Doesn't Trump have residences in multiple states?

Yes, but Trump doesn't think it's up to the alpha male in this relationship to solve the problem, according to Caputo:
Trump could change his residence back to New York (where he’s staying in Trump Tower during his trial) or to New Jersey (where he frequently summers at his golf course in Bedminster). But he doesn’t want to leave Florida. The state has no income tax and is so thoroughly Republican-controlled that he doesn’t have to worry about any local politicians causing trouble for him. Plus: Why should Trump move to accommodate his vice presidential pick? That’s a cuck move, for sure.

Moving residences is for betas and running mates.
So if Caputo is right, Rubio -- a sitting senator from Florida -- might declare himself a resident of another state. Caputo says that this could "force the senator’s resignation," but that wouldn't be legally necessary -- the Constitution says only that a senator, "when elected," must "be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen," and Florida law has no additional residency requirement. So Rubio could buy a house in (for example) Texas, declare it his legal residency, and remain a senator from Florida while running for VP. Or, since the Twelfth Amendment says doesn't say how long one of the candidates electors pick would need to have been a resident of another state, Rubio could run with Trump and presumably change his residency to another state only if the Trump-Rubio ticket wins.

There's a precedent for this: the 2000 Republican ticket. Here's a story from July of that year:
Dick Cheney ... traveled to Wyoming today to change his voter registration from Texas, a move that could allow him to overcome a provision in the Constitution that would have prevented him from becoming Bush’s running mate....

Until today, Cheney was a registered voter in Dallas County, Texas and lived in Dallas. Governor Bush lives in Austin.
Bush picked Cheney and that was the last we ever heard of this.

Caputo thinks there would be lawsuits if Trump picked Rubio. He's probably right, but I assume that the Republican-dominated federal courts would want to do nothing to harm the GOP's chances of regaining the presidency (though I suspect that if Democrats try this sometime in the future, the Supreme Court will suddenly discover a previously unnoticed "history and tradition" that makes the Democratic ticket unconstitutional).

Would Trump really want to put himself through all this? Probably not. Maybe he invited Rubio to impress Rubio's donors. Or maybe he just wants to put someone who was perceived as a serious rival eight years ago on a stage and watch him grovel.

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