A while back, I mentioned on Facebook that I think Hillary Clinton will pick Tim Kaine as her running mate. Today I’m going on record with that pick. I may be proved wrong and will be the first to say so. But I did predict that Biden would be Obama’s pick way back when, so I’ve got that going for me!
Here is my reasoning, along with comparisons to the other two VP front-runners, Elizabeth Warren and Julian Castro. (I’ll leave the Republican prognostications to others. I have no idea what Trump will do. Does anyone?)
One of Hillary’s big arguments against Trump is that she’s got the experience and he doesn’t. (Man, a truer statement was never made!) While Warren would be a good pick to get some of the Sanders supporters on Hillary’s side, there is a portion of them who are already vilifying Warren for endorsing Clinton and campaigning for her. Get a grip, people. I’m just not sure it would do her that much good with the diehard Sanders supporters. Despite Warren’s excellent work on the CFPB and in the Senate, she really doesn’t have that much experience in foreign policy. That is Clinton’s strong suit against Trump. Same goes for Castro. He has some executive experience as Mayor of San Antonio and he’s been a part of President Obama’s cabinet, but he doesn’t have a ton of experience at that level and it’s hard to say, “He’s ready to be President on Day One.”
Kaine, however, has been Mayor of Richmond; Governor of Virginia; he is a current Senator for Virginia; he serves on several committees, including Armed Services and Foreign Relations; he served as DNC chair for two years. If the main criterion for the pick is experience, Kaine gets it.
Did I mention Virginia? Major swing state. Massachusetts is reliably blue so Warren doesn’t help there. Castro’s main ties are to Texas, which is going to stay red. Kaine wins in this aspect.
Massachusetts has a Republican Governor, so he would appoint a Republican to take Warren’s Senate seat. The Democrats really really REALLY want to retake the Senate. Losing a seat by picking Warren would be counterproductive in that goal. (Harry Reid seems to have found a loophole to limit that, but it’s still risky.) Virginia’s Governor, Terry McAuliffe, is a Democrat, and limited to one consecutive term. He can appoint himself to the Senate seat, keeping Kaine’s seat blue.
Hillary has a big advantage over Trump among women. Adding a woman to the ticket will not make much of a difference in that regard. I have heard some reservations about an all-female ticket. I certainly do not share those reservations, but I can see why it might make some people feel kind of oogy. Two powerful women...I know! So scary! ::eye roll:: But yeah, I recognize that it might be too big of a leap for some (unenlightened) folks. I’m also not sure how much chemistry there is between Clinton and Warren. I think Warren will be an enthusiastic and effective surrogate, but the relationship between running mates does matter and can make a difference in the perception of the ticket.
Hillary also has a big advantage over Trump among Hispanics. Because you know...THE WALL. So adding Castro to the ticket isn’t going to provide much of a boost there.
Is Kaine the energetic, dynamic pick? Nope. He admitted on “Meet the Press” this morning that he is “boring.” But if you’ve been watching Hillary Clinton over the years, you know that she is a cautious politician and by no means a firebrand. I think she will go for the cautious pick. That Kaine can deliver a major swing state is a big deal.
There have been a few other mentions, like Cory Booker. I would love to see him on the ticket! But again, Hillary has no problem with African-Americans, so he doesn’t give her a boost. Sherrod Brown would also be great, but Ohio also has a Republican Governor who would appoint a Republican to his seat. Al Franken? I would love that, too, and Minnesota has a Democratic Governor. But I just don’t quite see her choosing him, although he will be another great surrogate. Unleash your inner, sarcastic comedian a little bit, Senator Franken! Sanders? Not gonna happen.
Kaine is the safest, most logical pick for Hillary. My money is on Tim Kaine.