How much does the choice of a VP matter? From a political standpoint, it is the most important decision a presidential candidate has to make. A running mate needs to be someone who is qualified and ready to be president on day 1. From an electoral standpoint, well, the impact is harder to gauge.

For John Mahama, 2020 is his do-or-die election; realistically his one chance for a comeback. So what factors should his campaign team emphasize in his VP decision?

Let’s dive in:

  • Per our 2016 recap, the biggest setbacks for the NDC came from massive drops in voter turnout in the Volta and Northern Regions — 2 of their strongholds.

  • Added to that were losses in all 4 swing regions at the time: Greater Accra, Central, Brong Ahafo and Western.

  • From an electoral strategy standpoint, the NDC first needs to shore up support in its base while making swing regions like Greater Accra and Central a lot more competitive.

  • As such one factor to consider is the choice of whether to pick a VP candidate from a stronghold or swing region.

  • In 2020, it may make sense to go with a VP from a stronghold rather than a swing region.

  • This is because swing regions typically have a higher than average share of independent-minded voters and as such may not be swayed much by a party’s choice of a VP candidate. Case in point, the NDC lost Central Region by almost 10 points even though the late Prof Kwesi Amissah Arthur hailed from the region.

  • So if John Mahama is to pick a VP from one of the party’s strongholds where does it makes sense to start?

  • Find out more in Part 2 of this series.

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