Now that Hillary Clinton has essentially nailed down the Democratic presidential nomination, the growing focus is on who she'll choose as her running mate. And there's no other way to put it: This is probably the most important VP decision in the history of modern American elections. A wrong move here would negatively impact her election chances more than any other major party nominee in more than a century.
Let's face it, running mate choices haven't really made much of a difference in just about every presidential election. Does anyone really make their choices based on who's on the bottom of the ticket? Take the 2008 GOP nominee John McCain's choice of then-Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. That was a decision almost all the conventional wisdom experts agree was a huge mistake... except it really wasn't. The truth is McCain would not have won no matter who he put on the ticket and he probably couldn't have done anything to make it significantly closer. The same was true for Mitt Romney's choice of Paul Ryan in 2012, John Kerry's decision to go with John Edwards in 2004, etc.
But this time, it's different. Because this time we have a major party candidate who has two rare problems to contend with as she begins the general election campaign. First, Clinton is struggling with monumentally high unfavorable ratings in the polls. Second, she's faced with a Democratic Party whose ideology has clearly passed her by (i.e., Bernie Sanders).
In a party that's suddenly become more about ideology than identity, Hillary Clinton seems to be offering gender identity as a draw and she needs something more. Democrats want to see a running mate choice that mirrors the new economic ideology of the party or they just won't enthusiastically back Clinton as much as her campaign needs them to in November.