Sunday, July 24, 2016
Thoughts On Tim Kaine As The Vice-Presidential Nominee
Some people do though. Some of my fellow progressive brothers and sisters are whining that Kaine is not progressive enough. Some have even taken to social media to call him a "Republican".
That is ridiculous. Let me make a couple of points.
1. Kaine may not be as far to the left as Bernie Sanders, but he is a progressive (albeit a moderate one). He supports voting rights, minority rights, LGBT rights, women's rights, abortion rights (even though he personally opposes abortion), workers' rights, a minimum wage raise, and Obamacare. He opposed the XL pipeline, and now opposes the TPP (after initially supporting it).
That's a pretty good list of progressive causes he supports. He has received some criticism for signing a letter to the Consumer Protection Bureau that asks them to be careful not to hurt community banks while trying to rein in the huge commercial banks of Wall Street. Frankly, that sounds reasonable to me. He also has supported fracking and off-shore drilling. I'm not crazy about those positions, but I have to admit that both are generally supported by a majority of Americans.
2. The progressives in the United States are not a majority of voters -- and neither are the right-wingers. The Republicans made a mistake by nominating a ticket that appeals only to the right-wing. By picking Kaine, Clinton avoided making the same mistake (creating a ticket that only appeals to left-wingers).
Independents make up a larger share of the electorate than either Democrats or Republicans, and most of them are moderates (who are frightened by the extremists on both the right and left). These people support some issues of both the left (higher minimum wage, more taxes on rich, protecting Social Security & Medicare, regulating Wall Street, stricter gun control) and the right (national security, protecting Second Amendment, reining in spending), but they don't want to blow up the system to accomplish any of that. They want measured progress done in a reasonable way.
Those are the people who will choose our next president -- and Clinton's choice of Kaine is reaching out to those moderates. Kaine, while progressive, is not viewed as a wild-eyed leftist. He will be able to reach out to that moderate middle of the voting electorate, and that's a good thing.
Remember, the most important thing we can do this year is make sure that Donald Trump gets nowhere near the White House.