It's highly unusual to be at the brink of a presidential election year and not know, with almost absolute certainty, who each major party will nominate as their standard bearer. Hillary Rodham Clinton appears to be the likely Democratic nominee, although that is not as yet set in cement. Some unforeseen event, such as Bill momentarily escaping his handlers, could quickly derail the whole Clinton juggernaut. And the Republican contest is so discombobulated that the Grand Old Party might find itself saddled with an honest-to-God brokered convention - one where the eventual nominee is not known until the delegate votes are cast.
With all of the uncertainty remaining at the top of the tickets, there has been little discourse regarding eventual running mates. The conventional wisdom used to be that the vice-presidential nominee would be someone who could bring some "balance" to the ticket - the elite Kennedy image toughened up with a political brawler like Lyndon Johnson, or a political sleaze like Nixon balanced out with a more dignified and refined Henry Cabot Lodge.
Now, however, the reverse seems to be more in fashion, and candidates choose running mates who double-down on their own strengths - Obama and Biden, for instance, are both highly intelligent and of the liberal end of the Democratic Party, while McCain and Palin were a pair of loudmouthed showboats known for shooting from the lip - and Romney and Ryan were pretty-boy conservatives who, if they had been born in the same generation, could have easily been frat brothers.
And while the veep talk has been necessarily kept to a minimum during this election cycle as candidates in both parties are still slugging it out for their party crowns, Hillary, at least, has been tossing about a few hints. She seems to be leaning toward Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro - the former three-term mayor of San Antonio. Castro, age 41, did his undergraduate work at Stanford before going on to Harvard Law. He has a beautiful wife and two young children.
And in the event Julian Castro, with his Hispanic-vote-getting appeal, does not work out, there is his equally handsome twin brother, Congressman Joaquin Castro. Joaquin, also Stanford and Harvard educated, is a former Texas legislator who arrived in Washington DC in 2013, a year before his brother. He, too, has a beautiful wife and a young son.
The Castro brothers have great life stories. Dad was a school teacher, but he and mom never got married - leaving the boys from the age of eight or so to be raised by a single mother who was also a well-respected political and social activist. The Castros were not rich, but they worked hard to achieve success in their personal and political lives. Today both are well known and highly respected - and either would make a great running mate.
Julian and Joaquin Castro are very much on the political ascendancy. Expect to hear their names a bunch in 2016.