Foreign policy is Clinton’s calling card. In the Senate, she served on the Armed Services Committee. In 2008, she ran against Barack Obama as a steady hand in crisis—the person you wanted to answer the “3 a.m. phone call.” And she was secretary of state for four years under Obama.
But that may not be enough. A New York Times report suggests that Clinton has told potential vice presidential candidates that she’s looking to add more national security and foreign policy experience to her ticket. According to the Times, “Clinton’s shortlist includes James G. Stavridis, a retired four-star Navy admiral who served as the 16th supreme allied commander of NATO, and Senator Tim Kaine, a former Virginia governor who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.” The report implicitly suggests that candidates who are stronger on domestic policy, like Elizabeth Warren, are less likely to be chosen.
Two points in the Times report help explain Clinton’s thinking. First, despite her experience, “voters are evenly split on whether [Clinton or Trump] would better handle terrorism and national security,” according to polling. Second is this quote from Mark Penn: “After the 3 a.m. ad, she was seen as the best commander in chief and surged with men.”
The Clinton campaign is struggling with white male voters and it knows that, at the moment at least, the only way for Trump to defeat her would be to win an enormous portion of the white male vote—well above 70 percent. Increasingly, it looks like Clinton’s vice presidential pick will be an attempt to win over these voters.