The political calendar gives us only three days between party conventions. Most of the buzz during this respite will concern Hillary Clinton’s choice of a running mate.
The word is that she will select Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia. The second choice is said to be Tom Vilsack, the Secretary of Agriculture.
If this is true, what should we make of two white males from the Democratic party’s former mainstream topping Clinton’s list? It tells me that Hillary is confident she has locked up the minority vote, the hard left Sanders-oriented vote, and enough of the female vote. This leaves white male voters.
Tim Kaine, of course, is in no position to deliver white males. However, he probably won’t alienate any more of them than Clinton already has.
Kaine, if he is selected, will be the beneficiary of Bernie Sanders’ campaign. It forced Hillary further to the left than she wanted to go. Now, she wants to convince swing voters, especially white males, that she’s not a socialist prepared to pander to the extreme demands of leftists and race-mongers.
But Kaine isn’t entirely a safe pick. Politico describes him as having taken “middle-of-the-road stances on trade deals and financial regulations.” It notes that these stances wouldn’t sit well with the “ascendant left-wing of the Democratic party.”
But the main problem probably wouldn’t be the Democratic left, which has no place to go. Rather, Kaine’s selection might well play into Trump’s hands as further evidence that Hillary is a creature of the status quo and a puppet of corporate interests.
White males and swing voters probably aren’t looking for “middle-of-the-road stances” on trade and banks. Thus, they might not find Tim Kaine all that reassuring, his race and gender notwithstanding.
The political “middle-of-the-road” still exists (almost by definition), but it may not be all that “centrist” in the traditional sense. And Donald Trump may have a better feel than Hillary Clinton for where the middle is, in substance if not in style.