Now that GOP front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpPriebus: 'No place in Republican Party' for Duke Clinton VP pick shows he can be an attack dog in first appearance Clinton: Trump's 'I alone can fix it' message is not democracy MORE has released the names of some of his foreign policy advisers, it's only a matter of time before pundits, reporters and voters start demanding to know whom he intends to pick as his vice presidential running mate.
When politely asked now, Trump responds, "I need to win the nomination first. After that, I'll think about it."
To the untrained eye, this seems like a reasonable answer; however, no insider I know believes The Donald hasn't already begun to create a short list of possible candidates.
Ditto Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonClinton VP pick shows he can be an attack dog in first appearance Clinton: Trump's 'I alone can fix it' message is not democracy Clinton unveils Kaine: He's everything Trump and Pence aren't MORE. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee has been around the block too many times not to have several running mates in mind, even if it still is March.
Four years ago, I urged Republican nominee Mitt Romney to pick Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamVulnerable GOP senators praise Kaine Meghan McCain: ‘I no longer recognize my party’ Ex-UN ambassador John Bolton: Trump should take back NATO remarks MORE (R) of South Carolina. The response I received was quick and candid. The prevailing thought at the time was Graham, a quintessential Washington insider, would be a disaster for Romney.
The day after the 2014 midterm elections, I predicted Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinOpioid package clears key Senate hurdle Overnight Healthcare: Feds defend ObamaCare's affordability DNC chief spared in Sanders-Clinton talks: report MORE of Illinois would be the Republican and Democratic running mates in 2016, respectively. Today, every time a reporter asks Kasich if he's interested in the No. 2 position, he laughs hysterically. To my knowledge, no one has asked Durbin what he thinks of my idea.
If there is one thing we have learned from this year's presidential campaign, it's this: The old political playbooks don't seem to apply any longer. Just ask the early supporters of former Republican candidates Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Scott Walker or Rick Perry. They know what I mean.
The same is true for Bernie SandersBernie SandersClinton VP pick shows he can be an attack dog in first appearance Clinton unveils Kaine: He's everything Trump and Pence aren't Sunday shows preview: Focus shifts to Dem convention MORE. Who in their right mind could have predicted a year ago that a little-known senator from Vermont would be creating political tidal waves in the Democratic primaries? Surely no one in Camp Clinton thought so.
To many, running for president seems like an individual pursuit, but it isn't. Anyone who's been in the arena knows it takes a team (or a village) to run for the highest office in the land.
With this last thought in mind, voters deserve to know who will be asked to serve in the next administration. While it's true people are keenly interested in knowing whom Trump and Clinton will pick as their running mates, they also want to know whom each would select as secretary of State, Defense or the Treasury, for example.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have yet to lock up the presidential nominations of their respective parties, but you know they have some ideas about possible running mates. It's time for the pundits, reporters and voters to press them on their ideas now.
Freidenrich writes from Laguna Beach, Calif. His letters and commentaries have run in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register and many other newspapers. He can be reached on Twitter @freidomreport.