On July 22, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton announced Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., as her running mate. The announcement came when she sent a text message to her campaign supporters. Her selection of Kaine describes the type of campaign Clinton aims to create and how she plans to govern if elected president.
Kaine has been considered the safe choice. His selection indicated Clinton’s focus towards the center and not the left. She used this to contrast between Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., during the primaries. Sanders was hoping that Clinton would select a strong liberal progressive as her running mate. That obviously was not the case.
Kaine, 58, is a Roman Catholic who speaks fluent Spanish. He already began campaigning with speeches in Spanish. The Catholic and Hispanic demographics have been vital in recent presidential elections. As a young man, Kaine took a year off from Harvard’s law school in order to help run a technical school in Honduras. It was here that he learned Spanish. The school was founded by Jesuit missionaries. Kaine, a religious man, joined a predominantly black Catholic church in Richmond, and Richmond is mainly a black city. Though a white man, these factors could be very beneficial in securing votes from minorities.
Kaine has served in several political offices. Most of these position lasted for a few years. He was mayor of Richmond from 1998 to 2001. Then he was lieutenant governor of Virginia from 2002 to 2005. He became governor of Virginia in 2006 and held that position until 2010. During the 2008 presidential race, then Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) was considering him as a running mate. He was Chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2009 to 2011. Then in 2012, he was elected senator of Virginia. Kaine has never lost an election.
His credentials are like bullets on a résumé. They are not the most exciting and heroic, but they do speak for themselves. Kaine has a collective experience in governing and representing. He has more credentials than Clinton, despite being more than ten years her junior. Kaine expresses himself as “boring,” but boring is the flavor Clinton is looking for.
Currently, Virginia is a political battleground. Though Kaine is generally favored in his home state, analysts are predicting that his placement on the ticket will have a minimal impact on the outcome of the election.
Many Democrats predicted that Kaine was going to be Clinton’s pick.
Clinton, despite using the term “progressive” repeatedly, has been running her campaign as a moderate, and emphasizing a difference from those of Sanders and Obama. Those on the left are not very pleased with Kaine as her pick, but Clinton aims to secure votes from minority, independents, and moderate Republicans who are unhappy with Donald Trump as their nominee.
Kaine was not the only one on Clinton’s potential VP list. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., was also a potential candidate. However, an all-female ticket could have looked troubling from some supporters. Warren would have been the progressive that Sanders was hoping for. Also on the list was retired Admiral James Stavridis. Stavridis was the former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO forces in Europe. He’s viewed as an expert in foreign policy, but he does not have experience in political campaigning, and the title “Clinton-Stavridis” could have been too long for bumper stickers.
Even though these two figures were not selected as her running mate, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them as part of her cabinet. If elected, Sanders could likely have a major position as well. She already announced plans to make her husband an “economy czar,” and humored the idea of having Obama appointed as a Supreme Court justice.
As discussed earlier, the liberals are not very ecstatic with Clinton’s choice. Kaine was a supporter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and free trade agreements. He has personal views against abortion, but has protected abortion rights in his state. He is strongly against the death-penalty, but that could could result in strong criticism from the GOP.
There is likely little reason for Democrats to fret over Kaine on the debate stage. Against Gov. Mike Pence, R-Idaho, it will be a battle of governors. The anticipated Clinton and Trump debates might be more surprising. maybe. Kaine has discipline, policy knowledge, and the experience from previous debates. Pence will likely be similar to Kaine’s previous opponents.
The Democrats have a strong foothold with minorities, but votes from white males have been a recurring issue with them. Kaine could help that. Clinton is aiming for the center, and is trying to present the Democratic Party as more moderate. A white male, as ironic as it sounds, might make that happen.
Kaine himself is not entirely Franklin D. Roosevelt’s protégé, and Clinton is definitely more liberal than he is, but Clinton is more focused on securing votes from converts rather than appeasing the left. She used this method in distinguishing herself from Sanders, and is now using the method again to contrast Republicans, who have been who have been pushing to the right.
Some may not remember this, but there was a candidate named Martin O’Malley. O’Malley, a lesser-known former candidate, used the debate stage to criticize Sanders’ “revolution.” Simply put, Clinton’s strategy is not to be the revolution. If elected, the third Clinton presidency will be articulating Obama’s, by picking up where he left off. For those that support Obama, Clinton should not be a problem. Supporters on the left will naturally cry for revolution, but Clinton has never been a revolutionary.
Those on the right and even closer to the center probably have likely held strong reservations against her for several years now. Winning their votes will likely be harder than winning over the youth.
Overall, Clinton has been strategic in her campaign, and this shows in her recent victory.