As the Republicans conclude their national convention Wednesday and Thursday, and Democrats prepare for theirs next week, you would not be wrong in thinking that something is missing from both presidential tickets.
Romney-Ryan and Obama-Biden are both narrow tickets. And taken together, the two tickets and four men miss a number of American bases. Here are five of those missed bases:
5. No Californian. Before you call your blogger a provincial for bringing this up, it's worth remembering that there were Californians, thanks to Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, major party tickets in 1952, 1956, 1960, 1968, 1972, 1980, 1984, and 1996 (Yes, I'll count '96 GOP vp nominee Jack Kemp, a graduate of LA's Fairfax High).
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But it's been a dry spell.
This year, the candidates do have California ties.
Mitt Romney owns a home in La Jolla. President Obama did his first two years of college at Occidental. But that's it.
Heck, there aren't even any Westerners. Unless you count Obama as a Hawaiian instead of a Chicagoan, there is no candidate from the West for the first time since 1992 (Bush-Quayle and Clinton-Gore).
This is a problem, for the West and for the country. We're home not only to the largest state in the union, California, and two of the top six cities, LA and Phoenix. But the West also contains some of the most economically distressed parts of the country. It's strange to have no candidate with ties here when the country's economic problems are a front-and-center issue.
4. No Southerners. The absence of Southerners on the ticket is also peculiar. Though that was also true in 2008. Since LBJ, Southerners have been thought to have a leg up in presidential politics. We've elected Carter, the two Bushes, and Clinton, and tickets have routinely made space for Southerners in the vice presidential spot.
3. No scientists
The failure of American politics to embrace science, and scientists, is a problem for the country. So many of our economic challenges, not to mention education challenges, are tie up in science. It would make sense to have a scientist on the ticket. Instead, we have three lawyers and Paul Ryan, who is both the son of and the husband of lawyers.
2. No veterans
For a country so often engaged in war, it's a milestone for none of the four members of the two tickets to have any military experience.
Of course, maybe that's not so surprising, given that politics is about winning elections. And the last five presidential nominees who had served in a theater of war -- McCain, Kerry, Gore, Dole, Papa Bush -- lost the presidency to candidates who had no such service.
1. No women.
Half the country is unrepresented.
Lead Prop Zero blogger Joe Mathews is California editor at Zocalo Public Square, a fellow at Arizona State University’s Center for Social Cohesion, and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (University of California, 2010).