Does Kaine Make A Good Sidekick?
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Politics

Does Kaine Make A Good Sidekick?

Too moderate for some Democrats, many feel like Hillary Clinton missed a golden opportunity by nominating Senator Tim Kaine.

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Does Kaine Make A Good Sidekick?
Frontpage Mag

Every hero needs a sidekick. Every Batman needs his Robin. In much the same way, the vice president plays the aesthetic to the president. Other than a mostly ceremonial role as president of the Senate, the vice president is little more than just one more confidant to an office that has virtually unlimited talking heads. Most of the time, the vice president is shuttered away from the public eye, only popping up in the infrequent event that the president is already occupied with a more pressing project.

The exception to this comes, obviously, during elections. Every four years the vice president (or vice presidential nominee as is the case in 2016) will make him or herself as visible as possible to passionately play the role of Robin. By and large no one votes for a ticket because of the vice president. The people realize the more or less minimal role that the vice president plays in the actual working of government. Still, politics is an identity game, and in an election cycle the vice presidential candidate factors immensely into that identity.

Which is why I still struggle to understand why Hillary Clinton tapped Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) as her running mate.

Considering the current polarization of America’s political climate, Kaine might actually seem a strong choice. Largely seen as a moderate in most areas, Kaine departs from the traditional Democratic Party base on such strident issues as abortion and gun control. He’s from a swing state with a sizable cache of electoral votes. And he has a solid record in elected office, having served as a city councilman, mayor, lieutenant governor, governor, DNC chairman, and now United States senator.

But Kaine’s legacy is now linked, at least in part, to that of Clinton’s, and the problem is, far too many people within the party see Clinton as a moderate already to justify giving a white, middle-aged, Washington insider a fast pass to the Oval Office. In a year in which there are deep fissures in both parties, it was assumed that Clinton would choose a more liberal running mate in order to appease the base. Names like Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren were bandied about to use as a tool to pry in the more liberal Bernie Sanders supporters. Even Sanders himself was suggested as a possible No. 2, and such a move would’ve been a direct statement by Clinton that she is ready to unite and take on Trump and the Republicans with a single force, rather than go into November fragmented.

The vice presidential slot is often used to juxtapose whatever characteristic the primary candidate lacks. Trump accomplished this fairly well with his selection of Mike Pence: an old time DC dog with elected experience and a lack of bravado. Obama did much the same with Biden in ’08 as did McCain with Palin. But Clinton and Kaine feel too much of the same type of person for the ticket as a whole to really gain anything from the union. Why not attempt to rally your base with the selection of a more multicultural candidate? True, supporters of the move will be quick to point out that Kaine speaks Spanish, but so does Jeb Bush and he hasn’t been relevant since May 2015.

Overall Tim Kaine is a safe choice. He doesn’t play far enough to the right to totally dispel most Democrats, but he’s not left enough to really excite the Sanders supporters and Warren-ites of the Party who may just be towing to the line for Clinton at this point because they feel they’re being proper soldiers and fighting the good fight. Never forget that old adage, that turnout decides elections and the base drives turnout. If Hillary Clinton loses in November, she might look back at Kaine and realize she missed a golden opportunity to generate such enthusiasm.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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