Choosing A Partner, Veep Or Otherwise

CINCINNATI, OH - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accompanied by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks to and meets
CINCINNATI, OH - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accompanied by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks to and meets Ohio voters during a rally at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal in Cincinnati, Ohio on Monday, June 27, 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Who will it be? With less than a week until the Republican National Convention and two weeks until the Democratic one, political pundits and political junkies alike are a-twitter about who will stand beside Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as their Veep pick.

Who each candidate chooses will say a lot, about what they think voters want to see, what they are comfortable with in terms of a partner and, of equal import, what image they want to project as a leader. Does Hillary choose Elizabeth Warren, creating the first all-female presidential ticket in history? Does Donald think re-prosecuting the 90's is a good move by choosing Newt Gingrich? Or do they both respectively choose partners who balance out their notable strengths, and weaknesses?

Choosing the right partner, as a dear friend of mine contends, is one of the most critical decisions one can make. It sets the course for your near and long-term future. It reflects what you think is important. And it uncovers who you see yourself to be. So what is the criterion that matters most? Is it finding attributes that balance out, or compensate, your own? Is it a shared vision of the future? Chemistry?

Back in April of this year, TheAtlantic.com offered perspective on the daunting task of Veep picking; don't wait too long to start the process, make sure you vet thoroughly (see: Sarah Palin), and look for strong chemistry. This sounds like the patented algorithm sitting underneath a popular dating site. Sort of makes the whole thing rather romantic. Candidate searches desperately for their "missing half" by listing out the must-haves and deal-breakers, they spend time meeting up with potential suitors and, in the end, wait for that lighting bolt to strike. Cue the swelling violins and fade to dreams of happy governing ever after.

Actually, choosing the right partner - political, professional or personal - is a remarkably consistent exercise. It is also a highly complex art form. Sure, having similar values, complimentary attributes and a shared view of the future is important, foundational really. As Lahle Wolfe outlines in an online article about choosing a business partner, combining forces with someone who doesn't share your view of the world, your ambitions or your professionalism can be disastrous. This is the rational side of the equation. The more emotional, artistic aspect of the equation, the side that holds equal weight with the rational, relates to how deeply the partners bond with each other, how strongly they share a sense of affiliation, respect and appreciation. Without these, a partnership is but a momentary transaction. With them, it is a platform from which significance is born.

I think of all the partnerships I have had in my life, across many different spectrums. The ones most profound are those marked by the quality of what we gave each other over what we gained individually. Not expressly rational, I know, but distinctly human. The endurance and significance of these partnerships are without question. They reflect the right choices, rational and emotional.

How do you make the right choice of partner? You can start with complicated algorithms or detailed spreadsheets. You could tally up your list of logical attributes spanning world view to future aims to compatible habits. Once you have exhausted the rational, open up the inquiry to something more, something deeper. Open up to the emotional; to affiliation, respect and appreciation. In doing so, you'll choose the partner you need at your side, and the one you want there, too.