In his Oct. 16 Outlook article, “Let’s have a race for second place,” Michael Leahy understated the virtues of the prevailing method of vice presidential selection and overstated the advantages of a larger convention role. The current method generally involves extensive consultation and results in the selection of a presidential running mate.

The presidential candidates who in recent years have chosen poorly generally have been those who believed they faced long odds and opted for a high-risk, high-reward selection (e.g., Sarah Palin). Moreover, the selection by the presidential nominee has been essential to the development of the vice presidency since Walter Mondale’s tenure.

No presidential nominee would allow the convention to select his or her running mate.  If he or she did, the second office would fall in significance because the crucial link to the president would be more attenuated.

Joel K. Goldstein, St. Louis