In the spirit of it never being too early to speculate about 2016, did Bill de Blasio's big win in the NYC mayoral race just position him to be the next Democratic vice presidential nominee? If Hillary Rodham Clinton is the Democratic presidential nominee, he could be the ideal choice.
Vice presidential candidates are often selected because they "balance" the top of the ticket by representing a different ideological wing of the party or a different region of the country. Or because they have legislative versus gubernatorial experience, or are perceived either as D.C. insiders or outsiders. Or because they can offer a contrast in terms of age, gender, religion, race, or ethnicity. Consider the various types of diversity on the ticket generated by the pairing of Obama and Biden, Romney and Ryan, or McCain and Palin.
All this suggests that Hillary Clinton may end up looking for a running mate who is a younger, male Beltway outsider with elected executive experience. Further, if de Blasio is successful as mayor, he could soon be the nation's most prominent progressive liberal. Given the likelihood that Clinton would seek to run a highly centrist, non-polarizing campaign, a staunchly left-wing VP nominee might be useful to soothe the Democratic base.
True, both de Blasio and Clinton are white in an increasingly multicultural Democratic Party. But the funky, biracial de Blasio family make the Obamas look like the Eisenhowers, and their high profile was a big part of his appeal to minority voters in the Democratic mayoral primary.
De Blasio could bring other advantages as well. By 2016, after three years as New York's mayor, it will be abundantly clear whether he can handle intense media scrutiny, court deep-pocketed donors, and operate in the "big leagues" of politics and policy. He also served at HUD during Bill Clinton's administration and managed Hillary Clinton's 2000 Senate campaign, presumably creating deep levels of comfort and trust in all directions. And since de Blasio won't be up for reelection until 2017, he could run as VP in 2016 without jeopardizing his position as mayor -- and get a major boost for any national ambitions he may harbor.
Of course, de Blasio and Clinton are both officially from New York State, which upends the idea of bringing regional balance to the ticket. But Hillary Clinton is really a national figure, and only notionally a New Yorker. Should Clinton face a Northeasterner such as the ascendant Chris Christie, having a Massachusetts-born New York City mayor on the ticket could help to hold down the big blue industrial states of the East.
A final complication is that rules for the Electoral College created by the 12th Amendment prohibit electors from casting their votes for both presidential and VP candidates from their own state. In 2000, Dick Cheney handled this by quietly switching his voting and driver's registration from Texas back to his home state of Wyoming. As mayor of New York City, de Blasio could not so easily make such a switch. But should Hillary Clinton decide to run from one of the several other "home states" she could choose -- Illinois, Arkansas, or her truest home, Washington D.C. -- a "Vice President de Blasio" becomes a possibility.
Wildly premature speculation? Sure, but this far out from 2016, it's as good a guess as any.