Kaine is another bad calculation by the Clinton campaign

Hillary Clinton slapped progressives in the face by choosing Tim Kaine as her Vice Presidential Nominee. By choosing Kaine, Hillary may have just made one of the biggest mistakes of her political career. The full effect of her choice isn’t entirely clear yet, however the signs are not promising. For progressives, this is yet another disappointment in a growing long list.

Whether you liked his DNC speech last night or not, Tim Kaine is a standard centrist New Democrat in the exact mold that progressives despise. Tim Kaine is no Elizabeth Warren, and a far cry from Bernie Sanders. Tim Kaine has recently said that the banks and financial institutions should be deregulated further. Kaine was also in favor of the TPP (as recently as last Thursday), and has been a supporter of Virginia’s right-to-work law. Kaine also does not have a strong environmental record, and has a pro-gun record as well.

Worse still, Tim Kaine has described himself as a “Devout Catholic” and while his views are kept mainly to himself, he does have an anti-choice record on abortion in the state he governed. He also has a shaky record in the Israel/Palestine issue (in favor of Israel of course). Tim Kaine has bragged about being a centrist, and like many Democrats of his ilk, is obviously favored by Wall Street.

It is clear by Hillary choosing Kaine as VP that she has decided to play it safe in this election. It is also clear that she made this choice based on immense pressure by Wall Street. Hillary’s Wall Street donors threatened to uniformly abandon her campaign if she picked someone like Elizabeth Warren as her VP. Hillary played it safe for her donors, and chose a VP that is appealing to them. Tim Kaine isn’t out to rock the boat, and isn’t an inspiring visionary.

Hillary is rather foolish in her calculation. Part of her decision to choose Kaine was the pressure from the donors, but it also speaks to her personal arrogance toward this election. She thinks she has this election wrapped up. Hillary and her campaign are convinced that there is no way she could lose to Donald Trump.

Because she is so certain, she feels no need to appeal to progressives. She is convinced that progressives will have no choice but to vote for her, as the choice has come down between her and a potential fascist. Hillary, much like the rest of the DC establishment, is making a dangerous miscalculation that could cost her the election. They are dangerously underestimating their position, and it could cost them and the country dearly.

Progressives are already widely un-enthused by Hillary’s candidacy. There was a vain hope that Hillary might have gone bold and choose a staunch progressive like Elizabeth Warren, as a way to excite the liberal base. It is clear now Hillary does not intend to go that route, and this is already causing much resentment within progressive circles.

While Hillary’s rhetoric seems progressive, her decisions speak more of her vision then words. Hillary had a chance here to make a bold statement and actually try and incorporate the progressives into her campaign. She has squandered this now, and her arrogance will only cost her come election day.

This is not a snub to be ignored, progressives should be affronted by this. Hillary needed a source of inspiring excitement to her campaign, and Tim Kaine does not deliver that. We are seeing many progressives flock to independent parties, many shifting over to Jill Stein or Gary Johnson. Johnson is in the ball park of 10 percent in some polls, and Stein is over 7 percent. This recent snub by Hillary will certainly drive more progressives away from her, costing her enthusiasm and votes. We could very well see Gary Johnson and Jill Stein’s numbers average 15 percent by this fact, potentially leading to them on the debate stage.

If Hillary continues to snub progressives, it will cause a massive backlash among voters that she will depend on come November. Trump is a monster, but progressives are not robots, they will not yield to scare tactics and fall in line. Progressives are expecting things from Hillary for their support, and Hillary has clearly shown she has no interest in listening to them. If Hillary loses support over the Kaine pick, then it will be squarely the fault of her flawed arrogance.

It should also be added that this pick of Tim Kaine came with some very bad timing. WikiLeaks released 20,000 emails by the DNC, showing that the body had a clear anti-Bernie Sanders bias during the course of the primary. The aftermath of this scandal has seen DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz resign. Hillary announcing Kaine as her VP may have even larger blow back because of the scandal.

Trump can win the election, not by a wide margin, but he can still win. Polls right now are tight between Hillary and Trump, and Hillary’s continued disappointments to progressives could make the numbers even tighter. If Hillary loses these crucial votes, then it will be because she didn’t do enough to convince those voters to vote for her. Anyone pressuring you to vote for anyone out of fear (like Donald Trump) is not worth listening to.

Hillary needed to go bold this election, and instead she is playing it safe by establishment standards. She is running a campaign the way you would in the 1980s or 1990s. It’s 2016, and the political winds are shifting away from establishment wisdom. Hillary needed an edge in this race, and so far the only edge she has is that her name isn’t Trump.

Granted, Tim Kaine is not an apocalyptic pick. The progressive case against Tim Kaine is not that he’s monstrous, but the fact is he isn’t anything at all. He’s another boring Clintonite Democrat who is only interested in maintaining the corrupt system that takes care of him. Progressives, and Americans in general, are hungry for an establishment upset. We are tired of the same old establishment game, and if Hillary and the Democrats don’t wake up to this fast, then we will all pay the price come November.


    • In no way do progressives expect a perfect candidate, neither Warren or Sanders would be perfect. Yet, they are closer to what we look for than Tim Kaine. Kaine isn’t a horrible pick, but he isn’t an exciting one either which is what Hillary ultimately needed to pick in my opinion.

  1. I’d like to see some polling statistics on just how many Democrats consider themselves progressive. Not as many as the progressives think, IMO. Good example was Lieberman losing the Democratic primary in CT a few years ago to a progressive, but ran as and won as an Independent. By the way, remember George McGovern?

    • now we are getting into labels. what is a progressive, what is a leftist, etc. I do think Hillary counts as a progressive, based upon her support for individual human rights, separation of church and state, and support of a role for the government in peoples’ lives. Conservatives don’t go for that sort of stuff.

  2. Well, she can’t abandon the majority of her party either by throwing in with the extreme left either. Look, most Anericans are center-left or center-right, so all that the extremes can hope for are to exert some pull in their party to move the needle in their direction. And that’s what the Bernie coalition accomplished. If they had won the primary (where they where so heavily abetted by the unending heaps of vile claims from the rabid right, and where those same purveyors of lies were holding back on Bernie with hopes of having an even better target to break out their favorite weapon: McCarthism) the BoBs would have some firm footing for their “rediculous” behavior. But since they didn’t, they need to be proper Americans and support the best candidate that aligns with their views…which would be Hillary, the near fringe (Stein or Johnson) or the far fringe (Socialist Party, Communist Party, The-Rent’s-Too-Damn-High Party, et al)…all Anyone-But-Trump options.

    • No one is asking her to go with the “extreme left.” I would never imagine in my wildest dreams that even Bernie Sanders would have picked someone on the “extreme left.” You don’t have much of an idea what the “extreme left” is. Someone like Elizabeth Warren, Sherod Brown, Jeff Merkley. They aren’t as far left as I would go in terms of style, but their positions on the banks and financial corruption of our politics are closer to mine then Tim Kaine. To say Elizabeth Warren is “extreme left” is laughable. Do you even know anyone on the “extreme” left? Have you met a real communist, anarchist? I’ve met a couple, and the’d laugh at me if I told them Elizabeth Warren was extreme left. They’d laugh at me if I said Bernie Sanders was extreme left. All Bernie’s supporters wanted for a VP pick was someone more progressive than Tim Kaine, someone who did upset the establishment a little, to show Hillary was serious about her progressive intent going forward. American politics have become so skewed towards the right that guys like Bernie Sanders (whom radical scholar Noam Chomsky described as “essentially a New Deal Democrat”) are now considered radical on the political spectrum. Even much of the Green Party platforms are essentially a return to the pro-labor practices of the New Deal, not too radical by historic standards (but radical for the pro-corporate establishment).

  3. More reason for Bernie to have created The Progressive Party and see how far they would have gotten, instead of running under the wing of the Democratic Party representing just the far left percentage. Just like Trump should have not run as a Republican candidate because he only represents a small percentage. The gamble worked for Trump but not for Bernie.

  4. I disagree with this article, completely. Kaine’s abortion issues were with late term or viability abortions. As a progressive, long time pro choice advocate, after 25-27 weeks the medical community says fetal pain is most likely. I have no issues with a restriction at this point as the science supports . Kaine says personally he does not advocate but respects a woman’s right to choose. This is acceptable. The bank issue is more nuances than described. Small banks with smaller margins are not loaning funds , hurting consumers, based on current regs . The large banks are not going to be deregulated, only saved the expense of daily reporting in lieu of monthly. He may indeed support the RTW law, however, this law in no way stops a union from being effective. As a card carrying member for 30 yrs , and now a retired member , a union is strong if the people support the union. Government can allow scabs with RTW, but only the members make a union weak. I know , I live in a RTW state. Choosing Warren or Brown wold have been a less than advantageous choice as either would weaken the senate. Without larger numbers in the lege the progressive agenda will face major push back and possible blockage. The selection of Kaine was to further the possibility of actually achieving success on many of the planks in the party platform. Kaine is known as a man of honor. As for saying that all progressive are offended, that is simply so very very wrong. I can speak for myself and say that i have been a progressive ( for longer than one election cycle) and I am supportive of the VP selection . Talking about income inequality or crime or any other issue is not enough. Voting 3rd party- insuring Trump- is simply not an option for anyone who lives in the real world, IMO.

    • Part of the problem is that progressives are tired of candidates that are “acceptable.” What about someone who would really get you energized, and someone who actually would represent the full scope of the left for a change? This is a disagreement on perspective, but Kaine is merely a “safe” choice that doesn’t enthuse the activist left (people Hillary needs to mobilize ground support for her election). She had a chance to shake the game up a bit, and she chose to stay “safe.” While I am privy to the nuances you have laid out, I am also privy to the fact that Hillary could have avoided this debate all together if she had just picked someone who is more progressive than Kaine. Kaine is a centrist New Democrat. While he isn’t rabidly right wing, he isn’t very left either in some respects. He has used the issue of abortion in the past to try and sway conservative voters in Virginia. While he claims he is in favor of women’s right to choose, by your own admission, he wasn’t really campaigning on their behalf. So if a county in Virginia wanted to limit abortion access, Kaine wasn’t going to go out of his way to stop it. It’s two-fended lip-service. Why couldn’t we have someone as VP more interested in relief for the poor and middle class rather than banks? Someone at least who could inspire the left, not a self-admitted centrist who supported the TPP as recently as last Thursday. If you are not offended, then that is a signal of your personal perspective. If you find more centrist establishment DC politics acceptable, then vote how you feel. I (and many others) on the other hand do not want to tolerate what is “acceptable” anymore. It’s time to rock the boat a little, and Hillary doesn’t seem willing to do that.

  5. Third party candidates are just like Trump. No experience in a dangerous world, no foreign policy chops, no international experience, babes in the woods. Our world is Westeros and worse no time for amateurs. Get your Progressive candidates in office up and down ticket over the next 8-12 years and then compete.

    • Maybe that’s because these candidates are largely kept out of the process by the duopoly of the Republicans and Democrats. It’s not like they aren’t running candidates, yet they aren’t included in many polls, they get very little coverage by the MSM, and most get no corporate sponsorship (except for the Libertarian Party). Despite this, many independent candidates do get elected on the local level, but virtually non on the national level. To say they aren’t (or haven’t been) running candidates is absurd. The world is savage, for sure, yet much of that savagery I would argue stems from the corrupt two-party system. Our politics needs a radical shakeup, and the two pro-corporate parties will not do that.

  6. I think Hillary DID go bold with Kaine. She is trying to crush Trump. She is using Kaine to try get the disgruntled Republican voters. And she is counting on getting the left side of the democratic party with only platform concessions, policy statements, and the fear of Trump. If she can pull both of those moves off, she will indeed crush Trump. The alternative for her was to put a left side democrat on the VP slot as the writer suggests. That would have ensured the Obama coalition, but that would not crush Trump.

    • She won’t crush Trump by abandoning a major portion of her party. Trying to get support from Republicans who don’t support Trump (like Bush supporters for instance) instead of progressive Democrats is a huge stab in the back. After the VP pick and Wikileaks scandal, progressives have no reason to trust her or vote for her except out of fear of Trump. But some progressives don’t scare so easily.

      • I don’t think she abandoning a major portion of her party, just a small portion that she expects to surpass with the disgruntled republicans. In my view, if all states had mail in ballot primaries and none had caucuses, Bernie would not have had near the delegates he received. Caucuses by their nature suppress the vote of everyone who can’t make it to one spot at one time at one place. people with other commitments.

        I’m in Colorado, and our caucuses were a mess for both parties. Undersized venues, people couldn’t get in to vote, were not enough counters from the parties, causing the results to be suspect. The State went with them to be cheap, but now is reconsidering for next time. And look what happened in Washington State, Bernie won the caucuses and Hillary won the primary.

        I contend the caucuses skewed the perception of how many democrats are actually in the left side of the democratic party.

        • She would be abandoning a huge portion of her party. Bernie supporters and progressives are not simply a vocal minority. You are absolutely mistaken if you believe that Hillary will make up the loss of progressive votes with “disgruntled republicans.” Republicans will vote Trump for the most part, and your eight establishment Republican votes in DC aren’t going to make up for the loss of progressives come November. In my view, if states like New York and California had cleaner and more open voting processes then perhaps Bernie would have fared a lot better. Okay, so let’s get rid of Caucuses, I agree. After we do that, let’s then make every voting primary an open one that allows all affiliated voters to vote for any candidate they want. I’m sure you’d agree to this compromise, yes, seeing as I’m so radical. There are many more progressive Independents then there are registered Democrats, as Independents are the largest bloc of voters in the country. Hillary needs these passionate voters on the left come November, and if you think otherwise you will be in for quite a shock on election day.

    • We will have to agree to disagree then on your concept of “bold.” There is no way Hillary will crush Trump by snubbing the left. It was the Obama Coalition, if I’m not mistaken, that helped get Obama elected twice? She will never win by using Kaine to attract large amounts of Republican voters. Republican voters love Donald Trump, that’s why he won their primary. Hillary is favored by establishment DC Republicans, but those characters do not speak for the mood of Republican voters. Most Republican voters hate guys like Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush. If Hillary had gone left, yes she absolutely would have the election much more tilted in her favor. She needed a solid, visible offering, to the left and she did not deliver this. If she does rely on attracting progressives by merely statements and fear of Trump, she will be crushed this November. Snub progressives at your own peril, and if you do then don’t blame us when Hillary loses.

Leave a Comment