How Tim Kaine Could Hurt Hillary Clinton. Progressives Aren't Sold On The Democratic VP
Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's choice of running mate was met with mixed reactions Friday. Although many have touted the newly-named Democratic vice president as a safe bet, Tim Kaine could hurt Clinton's presidential campaign in a few ways. While Clinton has sought to stress Kaine's bipartisan roots, some of his stances on abortion and economic issues could alienate supporters of former challenger Sen. Bernie Sanders that may already be unsure of supporting the Democratic nominee.
While many applauded Clinton's decision to appoint Kaine her vice president, others — namely Sanders' progressive supporters — were noticeably less excited about the news. For progressives salivating at the idea of the Democratic ticket including Sen. Elizabeth Warren as Clinton's vice president, some of Kaine's centrist positions on abortion, trade, and banking sharply contrast with those largely considered central to many female voters and supporters leery of tossing their support behind Clinton following Sanders failed primary campaign.
Although Kaine has consistently voted along Democratic's pro-choice party line, he hasn't been shy about claiming to have a personal "faith-based objection" to abortion. So while Kaine may ultimately support a woman's right to choose, he proved to be keenly interested in reducing abortions while serving as governor of Virginia. In 2009 Kaine came under heavy criticism from NARAL Pro-Choice America after he signed legislation allocating state funding for crisis pregnancy centers known for discouraging abortion. That same year, Kaine also signed a bill approving the sale and manufacturing of "Choose Life" license plates, further aggravating pro-choice activists. In the Senate, however, Kaine has yet to give NARAL or Planned Parenthood reason to downgrade their 100 percent ratings of him.
Wall Street became a prominent issue in this year's presidential election thanks to the Sanders's ardent calls for reform and breaking up big banks and that could prove problematic for Clinton given Kaine's push for relaxing banking regulations. A week before being named Clinton's running mate, Kaine joined a few dozen other senators in asking the Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen to change the requirements of how regional banks must guard against potential failure and measure liquidity. Kaine also asked the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to consider granting smaller community banks and credit unions different regulations than larger institutions.
Finally, Kaine's previous support of fast-tracking President Barack Obama's Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal could also prove a weak spot for Democrats as Trump continues to court Sanders' supporters. Although Clinton was involved in early negotiations for the international trade deal while serving as Obama's secretary of State, she came out in opposition to the TPP's current construction during the primary. But Clinton's campaign may already be attempting to combat Republican attacks on Kaine's support of the TPP as an aide told NPR on Saturday he had "reconsidered" his position and wouldn't support the trade deal as it currently looks.
While Kaine's lengthy career in politics give him ample qualifications and make him a reliable safe-bet for Clinton's campaign, he hasn't exactly left many voters feeling especially psyched. Moreover, some of his positions could leave Clinton without progressives' support come November.