The first stage of the US Presidential Election betting cycle is finally complete. With Donald Trump and Mike Pence confirmed as the Republican ticket last week in Cleveland, Hillary Clinton named Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate last night, ahead of the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia.
While these veepstakes are always a hot source of speculation and make for great betting markets – Pence was matched beyond 100.0, while Kaine’s peak was a much more predictable 7.4 – it isn’t clear from recent elections that they make much meaningful difference to the main race for the presidency.
Joe Biden certainly helped Barack Obama, bringing foreign policy expertise to the ticket and negating his inexperience, but there was never any suggestion that he swung the result.
Paul Ryan and Sarah Palin helped unite sceptical conservatives behind Mitt Romney and John McCain but could not avert defeats driven by wider reasons. The former couldn’t even deliver his home state of Wisconsin.
However we’ve seen already that history is less relevant than usual throughout this unique cycle and, arguably, this year’s running mates may carry a greater burden of responsibility. Both Pence and Kaine have one particularly pressing challenge – to help detoxify historically unpopular candidates.