As presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is moving forward in her run, she faces a much speculated-about next step: choosing a running mate. A few names have been thrown around, including Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, with longer shots being New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Secretary of Labor Tom Perez. But the two most popular names on Clinton's VP shortlist are Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine. While Clinton campaigned with Warren this week, more and more buzz is building around Kaine. However, some Democrats, especially supporters of Bernie Sanders, aren't pleased at the prospect of Kaine as Clinton's running mate.
On Wednesday, Politico's Bill Scher reported that while many see Kaine as the "safe" VP choice for Clinton, "ask anyone from the Bernie Sanders wing of the party about TKaine, and suddenly he doesn’t feel very safe at all." Take Kaine's favorable view of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, an issue which Sanders put at the heart of his campaign, vehemently opposing it.
Still, it's not wholly clear to me why there's so much concern about Clinton tapping Kaine — or why there's shade from pro-Sanders Democrats. Kaine is considered a mainstream Democrat, or even left of the party's center. At times, Kaine has even been considered too liberal for his Southern home state. As The Washington Post noted during Kaine's U.S. Senate run in 2012, he regularly and openly opposed capitol punishment, though he allowed it to occur while he served as governor.
Consider the big picture. There's a lot of good stuff to focus on when it comes to Kaine that will help Democrats reach their ultimate goal of winning in November. He's from Virginia, which is a coveted swing state, he's a white man (a demographic Clinton desperately needs, and it's one of the only ones she loses to Trump regularly in the polls) and he has a deep, reliable resume. And to Clinton supporters who fear that choosing Kaine as a running mate will cost them Sanders' backers, give the latter a bit more credit. Fear of losing Sanders' supporters to Trump — a man whom the Vermont senator has vowed to devote himself to defeating — over a veep pick is ridiculous. Bigger concerns should keep them up at night in the lead-up to November, and Kaine may help them sleep better.