A Trump/Christie ticket? Not likely, analysts say
GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump hinted Wednesday in New Hampshire that Gov. Chris Christie could be a possible running mate.
It was unclear if Trump was joking or not, but two New Jersey political science professors said there are several reasons a Trump/Christie ticket was unlikely and there were also reasons why the two Republican presidential candidates have not publicly attacked one another.
“For Donald Trump it’s easy to be magnanimous when you’re in the lead and you talk about, ‘Oh sure, I like this person. They could work for me,’” said Ben Dworkin, a professor of political science at Rider University. “I don’t think we should take it too seriously and even if there was the potential of this being a serious offer the fact is Gov. Christie would never want to be vice president. I don’t think anybody who knows him can imagine him doing the job of the vice president which is really just to have a heartbeat.”
The billionaire front-runner and the Garden State governor have not bashed each other on debate stages or on the campaign trail. There’s good reason for that, but things could change, Dworkin pointed out.
“For Trump, why should he even engage Chris Christie? Chris Christie is stuck under 5 percent in the polls so there’s no reason to even acknowledge him and Christie hasn’t attacked him (Trump) which has generally been the starting point for Trump to attack back,” Dworkin said.
If Trump drops out of the race for any reason, Christie could get a lot of the would-be Trump voters which is another reason the governor shouldn’t bash the billionaire said Seton Hall University political science professor, Matt Hale who also pretty much dismissed the thought Christie being Trump’s running mate.
“A Trump/Christie ticket certainly wouldn’t be dull, but I don’t think it’s a reality at all, but I do think it signals that of the other candidates Trump does have a pretty good relationship with Gov. Christie,” Hale said.
Beyond a number-two spot not fitting Christie’s personality there was also geo-politics to consider. Hale said every presidential candidate tries to have some sort of geographic diversity and Trump and Christie are obviously from the same northeastern U.S. neighborhood.
Saying good things about Christie also gives Trump the opportunity to say bad things about candidates like Ben Carson, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz who are all doing far better in polls than Christie.
“Trump could be really nice to Gov. Christie right now and as the governor climbs in the polls, as he does well in New Hampshire you might see Trump turn on him,” Hale said.
Speaking in Iowa Thursday, Christie was asked about Trump and while he was not complimentary, the governor was clearly joking.
“I told him this to his face so I’m not saying anything now that I haven’t said to Donald. I said, ‘Donald, you don’t want this job. This does not play to your skill set.’ I said, ‘You know, if the speaker of the house doesn’t post one of your bills you can’t fire him,’” Christie said as the crowd laughed.
The governor also said when you go out to dinner with Trump, you sit down and listen to him talk about himself before, during and after the meal. Not exactly harsh criticism.
Kevin McArdle has covered the State House for New Jersey 101.5 news since 2002. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter at @kevinmcardle1.