In this week’s politics chat, we peer into the future. The transcript below has been lightly edited.
micah (Micah Cohen, politics editor): I’m sure everyone is excited for tonight’s vice presidential debate! But as world-changing as it is likely to be, we’re going to approach it in a somewhat askew way in this chat. Let’s use tonight’s debate between Mike Pence and Tim Kaine to talk about each party’s bench, i.e., which Republicans are best positioned to carry on the torch if Donald Trump loses in November? Which Democrats can get their party back into the White House in 2020 if Hillary Clinton loses? (BTW, I kinda feel sick to my stomach even talking about 2020.)
Let’s start here, though: Are Pence and Kaine automatically major players in the aftermath of a 2016 loss?
harry (Harry Enten, senior political writer): When was the last time a losing VP nominee went on to win a presidential nomination? The answer is 1996, when Bob Dole won after losing as Gerald Ford’s running mate in 1976. Of course, Dole also ran for president a number of times unsuccessfully in-between 1976 and 1996. Remember Dan Quayle got crushed when he ran for the GOP presidential nomination in 2000, after losing in 1992.
clare.malone (Clare Malone, senior political writer): I don’t think Kaine or Pence will be major players, is my short answer. Kaine, because he’s too old and not flashy enough (exactly why he was chosen as VP), and Pence because, well, if Trump loses, Pence will be associated with a pretty long losing streak by Republicans. Also, he wasn’t that well liked as governor; his approval rating was at 40 percent in May and even …