Clinton’s Initial VP List Included Bill Gates, Tim Cook, and Bernie Sanders

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Photo: Paul Morigi/WireImage/Getty Images

At one point, Hillary Clinton’s list of potential running mates included the founder of Microsoft, the CEOs of Apple and Starbucks, and a self-described democratic socialist, according to hacked emails published by WikiLeaks.

On March 17, John Podesta emailed Clinton, to congratulate her on her recent slate of primary victories and to offer the candidate “a first cut of people to consider for VP,” their names organized “in rough food groups.” (If you look at the full list, you’ll find that the “food groups” are Latinos, Women, Inoffensive White Men, Black Men, Generals, Friends From Davos, and Bernie Sanders).

The most interesting stretch is quoted here:

Notably, Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, had styled himself as the Clinton campaign’s millennial ambassador in an email from July 2015, telling campaign aide Cheryl Mills, “Her inner circle and the powers to be, need to reject the status quo, and understand how brands (and she is a brand) in the world we now live in are built. It requires a vision for the future that is steeped in truth and authenticity and builds an enduring emotional connection with the voters.”

(It’s also worth noting that a separate email suggested Tim Kaine was the pick from the very beginning.)

The outsize presence of successful business people (with no political experience) on the list was likely a reaction to Trump’s rise. Still, the list testifies to the breadth of the 2016 Democratic coalition and its resulting contradictions — a party where Bernie Sanders and “the billionaire class” both make the VIP list.