What Does Bernie Sanders Think Of Tim Kaine? He May Not Support Him
On Friday evening, presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton formally announced Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her VP pick, according to a text sent to her supporters. There has been plenty of speculation that Kaine would be Clinton's running mate, and some have said he would be a strategic pick, while others have suggested the opposite. When it comes to Clinton's primary opponent, what does Bernie Sanders think of Kaine?
Sadly, Sanders has not made a statement at this time. (The last Tweet he sent, an hour or so after the announcement, read: "Fracking is a danger to our water supply, the air we breathe and it’s contributing to climate change. Time to phase out fracking nationwide.")
Many have deemed Kaine as a safe pick for Clinton's VP — specifically since he comes from the swing state of Virginia, which could be helpful in garnering support for Clinton, due to her minimal lead by 2.6 percentage points in the state. However, when it comes to progressives, Kaine isn't necessarily the best pick. The Virginia Senator came under fire earlier this week after signing a letter in support of easing big bank regulations. Charles Chamberlain, the executive director of Democracy for America released a statement on Thursday that suggested Kaine would not be a good pick, considering "his vote for fast track authority for the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership and this newly uncovered push for bank deregulation."
Given Sanders' calls to break up the banks and reform Wall Street, Kaine doesn't seem like a likely contender for Sanders' support, either.
Clinton already has work to do to gain support from Sanders supporters, and it doesn't seem like Kaine would be the way to go, considering his support for the TPP and for deregulating banks. Though Kaine's base in Virginia will certainly help the presumptive Democratic nominee in the swing state, a more progressive VP pick might have done well to bridge the gap between moderate Democrats and progressives.
A Bloomberg Politics poll from last month showed that nearly half of Americans who voted in support of Sanders' campaign — to rebuild the middle class, change the campaign financing system, break up financial institutions on Wall Street, and build a more socialized health care and education system — will not support Clinton. It would seem that choosing a VP pick to secure that vote would be especially important to her campaign's success.
Sanders endorsed Clinton earlier this month after noting he would do whatever is necessary to stop Trump from winning in the general election this fall. In his endorsement speech he noted, "This campaign is about the needs of the American people and addressing the very serious crises that we face. And there is no doubt in my mind that, as we head into November, Hillary Clinton is far and away the best candidate to do that."
However, even his endorsement wasn't enough to gain everyone's support. One Sanders' supporter from Vermont named Patti Covino told CNN, "I would follow Bernie to the ends of the earth, but I will never follow him to Hillary." So it seems Clinton's VP pick is especially important to Bernie supporters and other undecided progressive voters.
While we presume based on his campaign history that Sanders does not necessarily align with Kaine, we will have to wait and hear directly from the Vermont senator.