Ranking Donald Trump's Choices For A VP Candidate

Donald Trump is set to announce his running mate in the 2016 presidential election on Friday. Four individuals have repeatedly been mentioned as strong contenders for the position by sources close to the Trump campaign.

Let's review the top four contenders ranked from worst to first.

4. Newt Gingrich
- If Trump selects former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, Republicans will have a new reason to worry about the real estate mogul's judgment as a candidate in the midst of his already strained relationship with party leadership.

The upsides to a Gingrich selection are extremely limited. It is undeniable that Gingrich knows how to govern, having led Congress during much of the Clinton administration, which also makes him an experienced critic of the Clinton family.

However, Gingrich resigned in disgrace in 1999, offers no geographic advantage to Trump, is already 73 years old and has no built in constituency in the party having not held office in almost 20 years.

The worst part of a Gingrich selection would be his history of infidelity. Gingrich's first two marriages ended after affairs with other women.

Add this to Trump's own infidelity and controversial remarks which were called sexist by critics and you have a huge problem for a ticket that would be running against the first woman ever nominated by a major party for President.

As has been summed up by many observers, a Trump/Gingrich partnership would give way to a ticket with six marriages between its two halves. Not a good look for a campaign that desperately needs to reach out to women voters.

3. Chris Christie - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is the most obvious choice for Trump if he is looking for someone loyal and similar in style to himself. Christie was a crucial early endorser of Trump back in February, before it was clear he would win the nomination.

Since then, Christie has been a strong ally of Trump, hoping to revive his own flagging political career. The problem with Christie lies in just why his political career needs reviving in the first place.

There are several factors which have led to Christie becoming one of the most unpopular Governors in the country.

Christie's decline started shortly the discovery that senior members of his staff ordered the Port Authority to close down several lanes on the George Washington bridge leading to the city of Fort Lee, where the mayor had declined to endorse Christie's 2013 reelection bid.

After the revelations of "Bridgegate", Christie launched a long anticipated Presidential campaign in 2016, only to fizzle out with a weak sixth place finish in the New Hampshire primary.

Picking Christie would give Trump's ticket a strong debater and loyal partner. However, Christie's status as one of the country's most unpopular office holders makes him a baffling choice to many.

2. Michael Flynn - Retired Lt. General Michael Flynn has been seen as a possible surprise choice by Trump, who has indicated that he wants a running mate with political experience, particularly at passing legislation in Congress.

Flynn, who has been advising Trump on national security issues as part of his campaign, has no such experience. However, he just might be a pick that could rile up voters that already like Trump and boost his turnout in November.

Picking Flynn would complement Trump's perceived strength on national security issues, as Flynn is an experienced military general and a staunch opponent of "radical Islam".

Add this to the fact that Flynn is reported to have been forced out of his military post by the Obama administration and you have someone that could excite Trump's base.

There are just two glaring problems with Flynn.

First, he is and has for many years been a registered Democrat.

Second, he indicated just days ago that he was pro-choice, then reversing course and saying he is a "pro-life Democrat" just a day later. The exact quote leaves little room for Flynn to backpedal, as he stated women should be the ones to make the choice whether to have an abortion. This sudden and blatant flip-flop on an important issue was a critical error and may just have cost him a spot on Trump's ticket.

1. Mike Pence
- The front-runner in the minds of most who think Trump wants a "do no harm" candidate with political experience in Congress and a pedigree with the evangelical base of the Republican Party is Indiana Governor Mike Pence.

Pence is thought of as a solidly conservative governor who is not known for the kind of incendiary rhetoric that has landed Trump in hot water at times.

He was a high ranking member of the Republican caucus in the House of Representatives during his tenure there and is fairly well known by social conservatives throughout the Midwest, a region where Trump hopes to do well.

The only large drawback to Pence is the controversy surrounding "religious freedom" legislation he championed as Governor in Indiana which allowed private business owners to discriminate against LGBT customers if they felt it was in line with their religious beliefs to do so.

The legislation caused a nationwide outcry as the public has become considerably more supportive of gay rights in recent years. Pence's defense of the legislation was panned by many and could hurt Trump with some general election voters.

However, out of the options Trump has, Pence is the least problematic.