Could Al Franken be Clinton’s Trump card?

November 24, 2016 23:22

With the - albeit unintentional - exception of Dan Quayle, few US vice-presidential candidates are chosen with the expectation that they will provide the electorate with much in the way of amusement. But an unexpected endorsement from a leading liberal pundit has raised the prospect that Hillary Clinton may pick Senator Al Franken, the former comedian and star of Saturday Night Live, as her running mate in November.

According to Bill Scher, senior writer at the Campaign for America's Future, Mr Franken could be just the man Mrs Clinton needs by her side in this year's increasingly wacky presidential race. Not only could his humour help burst Donald Trump's megalomaniacal bubble, says Mr Scher, but Franken's home state of Minnesota may well be on the front line in November's battle.

Many analysts believe that, if Trump becomes the Republican standard-bearer, his narrow road to the White House will run through America's Mid West as heavily Hispanic swing states such as Nevada and Colorado fall easily into the Democrats' column.

Moreover, what Scher terms Franken's "proud populism" could help Clinton tap the enthusiasm of liberals inspired by Bernie Sanders and wary of her supposed ties to Wall Street and the Democrat establishment.

With his prodigious fundraising efforts on behalf of Democrat congressional candidates and his close association with the Clintons - he was one of the first senators to endorse her 2016 bid - Mr Franken is both popular within the party and trusted by its likely presidential nominee.

Having adopted a serious, low-key approach to his Senate work, Mr Franken may have arrived on Capitol Hill seven years ago as a joker but he is no longer considered a joke.

Nonetheless, he has a lighter touch than either Bernie Sanders or Joe Lieberman, Al Gore's running mate in 2000.

What is in it for Mr Franken? One former vice-president may have described the office as "not worth a bucket of warm spit", but the only two Minnesotans to hold it - Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale - ended up as their party's presidential candidate. Al Franken may yet have the last laugh.

November 24, 2016 23:22

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