Appearing on Meet the Press on Sunday, Clinton told Chuck Todd that she wouldn’t just be looking at regular old politicians when choosing her running mate—she’ll turn over every stone. “I think we should look widely and broadly. It’s not just people in elective office. It is successful businesspeople,” she said. “I am very interested in that.” The businessperson at play here was Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks and host of Shark Tank, who told Todd he would absolutely be interested in the gig, if asked. “But the key would be she would have to go more to center,” Cuban told Todd in a pre-taped segment. (For what it’s worth, Cuban also told Todd that he would be willing to serve as Donald Trump’s vice president.)
Picking a businessperson as VP is a terrible idea for Clinton, however, and not just because she’s still running against Bernie Sanders. Recruiting someone like Cuban—who’s probably richer than Trump, and also a loudmouth—would only further normalize Donald Trump’s candidacy, which has already been normalized to a dangerous degree. Just as importantly, Clinton appears to be misinterpreting Trump’s appeal: It’s his toxic policy proposals and naked fearmongering, not just his wealth and outsider status, that draw voters to him. Finally, it would undercut Clinton’s core argument, which is that she has the experience necessary for the highest elected office. Picking Mark Cuban, or a less obnoxious businessperson, for the sake of balancing a political ticket, would make the exact opposite case. The key to defeating Trump is articulating the ways in which she is different than he is, not by making her political ticket resemble his.