Tim Kaine, the stable choice for the Clinton campaign

With multiple columns opining about the various presidential candidates in last week’s issue, I wanted to briefly write about Secretary Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA).

Kaine is a first term senator from Virginia; prior to that he was the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, lieutenant governor and governor of Virginia, and the mayor of Richmond. His selection by Clinton reveals several themes about both her candidacy and the presidential race as a whole.

Kaine was seen as the safe pick for Clinton; he’s a relatively moderate and respected member of the Senate. In an article published by Politico over the weekend, very few of Kaine’s Republican colleagues could find something negative to say about him. This stemmed from not only his policy positions but also his demeanor and reputation as someone who was ready to work across the aisle.

This bipartisanship and more laid back approach to governance is also what made him unappealing to some on the left. Many clamored for a more progressive pick, like Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-WA), especially after Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was no longer in the race.

Critics from the left voiced concerns over issues like Kaine’s support for regulatory relief for credit unions and community banks, although in the scope of the whole election, this issue seems like a relatively small issue, and in my opinion, a pretty fair position for Kaine to take.

I don’t think Kaine’s selection had much to do with his home state. While traditionally regarded as a swing state, Virginia has been polling very strongly in Clinton’s direction for the past several months, even before Kaine was selected as her running mate. Additionally, empirical research has shown the selection of vice presidential candidates has a very slight to negligible effect on how the ticket preforms in their state.

Apart from his position on the issues, his selection essentially doubles down on Clinton’s desire to be seen the more stable and mainstream candidate. In an election year that seems upside down, I personally don’t know if this will ultimately be more effective than other choices, but time will tell. It’s certainly fair to say the selection of Kaine did not produce excitement on the left in the same fashion Warren’s pick would have.

While in many ways he is similar to Clinton as a candidate of the Democratic establishment, he also gives some balance to the ticket. He’s respected on Capitol Hill, whereas if elected, Clinton will almost certainly be fighting uphill against Congressional Republicans from day one. Additionally, while Clinton struggles with issues related to the Clinton Foundation and her tenure as Secretary of State, Kaine is essentially scandal free and not prone to making unfortunate gaffes on the campaign trail.

His respect in DC could pay dividends if him and Clinton are ultimately successful, but in a campaign where Donald Trump has found success by distancing himself from the nation’s capital and has selected Governor Mike Pence (R-IN) as his running mate, it also sets up a pretty clear dichotomy. Trump will continue to run as the outsider, saying the country needs him to save it, while Clinton will run maintain the course, which she and many others would argue is not nearly as dire as Trump makes it appear. At the end of the day, you have two very different presentations of the current state of America, and two different visions about how to shape it over the next four years.

Sean Cleary is the copy editor for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]