In one of the more interesting emails, Podesta provides a list of potential vice presidents, lumped together into ‘food groups’: elected officials from different levels of government, prominent female and African American politicians, distinguished retired military staff and corporate executives.
That final group includes a bit of a surprise: the names of technology giants Bill and Melinda Gates and Tim Cook make an appearance. It’s no secret that Silicon Valley has been kind to Clinton this year. Fundraising by various tech groups has been decidedly pro-Clinton, and the lack of fundraising for Trump has been noted across a variety of publications. The recent donation to Trump’s campaign and affiliated PACs by billionaire Peter Thiel being the largest, and most controversial, exception to this trend so far. Apple CEO Cook has fundraised for both Clinton and Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, indicating that, in a world of encryption legislation, the space between politicians and Silicon Valley has grown smaller. As Gizmodo notes, it seems unlikely that Apple’s shareholders would be happy to see their CEO leave them for the campaign trail. Still, imagine the crisp, white backgrounds and sleek logos of the advertisements for a Clinton/Cook ticket.
Podesta makes it apparent in the introduction to his list that this is the ‘first cut’ of candidates, and that therefore the suggestions are pretty loose. But that doesn’t mean that the list isn’t pertinent to the ideals and goals of the Clinton campaign: several names in the leaked email ended up as speakers at the Democratic National Convention, endorsing Clinton. Senators Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, as well as Independent former mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg all show up on Podesta’s list, months before the DNC. And though the list of corporate options lies further to the bottom of Podesta’s list, it is interesting that the CEOs of GM, Starbucks, Xerox and Apple were floated as options for Clinton’s campaign. How would the public react to a corporate choice for VP during an election where money in politics is such a gargantuan issue?
With the selection of senator Tim Kaine as the official running mate, of course, all speculation is now moot. But the possibility of a Silicon Valley ticket may haunt Clinton’s campaign, for better or worse.