- Views & Opinions
Delegates to the Democratic National Convention say Hillary Clinton’s choice of Tim Kaine for VP will appeal to moderates, but do little to soothe disenchanted Bernie Sanders supporters.
U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia received praise for his wide-ranging experience, even as many delegates acknowledged that he would not generate the level of enthusiasm or party unity as a progressive or first-ever Latino pick.
Sanders delegates in particular hoped for the selection of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who aligns more closely with Sanders on positions such as regulating Wall Street.
“People are going to discount Tim Kaine, and have in the past, and it’s going to be a lot more exciting than maybe what Bernie Sanders delegates will think,” said Katie Naranjo, a Clinton superdelegate from Austin, Texas.
She said Kaine may seem like a “conventional choice,” but he will balance the ticket well for the general election, as the Democrats take on billionaire Donald Trump and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
Delegates this weekend are heading to Philadelphia for their convention that starts Monday, with those who support Sanders indicating uncertainty about embracing a Clinton ticket. Sanders endorsed Clinton earlier this month.
It “was a horrible pick,” Angie Morelli, a Sanders delegate from Nevada, said of Clinton selecting Kaine. “In a time when she is trying to cater to Sanders supporters, it was more catering to conservative voters and she’s not going to get any wave from it.”
Morelli said she’s bothered by Kaine’s association with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a global trade pact that Sanders and Clinton say they oppose.
Dwight Bullard, a Florida state senator, said not one of the 70-plus Sanders delegates in his state including himself is happy with Kaine’s selection.
He worried the centrist choice could magnify progressives’ view that Clinton will backtrack on issues important to them, such as climate change and tuition aid for college students.
“If you bring in someone with great credentials, that’s fine, but inclusivity of the progressive agenda can be a more important message,” Bullard said.
Sanders delegates were mulling ways to show support for Sanders during the convention, such as a walkout after the roll call of states on July 26, according to excerpts of a Slack thread on July 22 obtained by The Associated Press.
But many others also said they wanted to get direction from Sanders, who was scheduled to meet privately with his delegates on July 25.
“Delegates are intensely discussing and considering options,” said Norman Solomon, a San Francisco delegate who called Kaine’s selection “unacceptable.”
Solomon leads the Bernie Delegates Network, a loose organization of more than 1,200 delegates.
Clinton settled on Kaine after vetting a diverse group of candidates that included Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and Labor Secretary Tom Perez. U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, one of two black senators, also was considered.
Clinton delegate Roger Salazar of California said he had been rooting for Clinton to select U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra, a Hispanic and one of the most powerful Democrats in the House.
But Salazar, a longtime party strategist, called Kaine “a pretty solid choice.”
Jocelyn Bucaro, an Ohio superdelegate and Clinton supporter, praised Kaine as someone who would appeal to a broad range of voters in swing states, including Republicans who are uncomfortable with Trump.
“The most important consideration is his ability to step in as president, and he clearly has the experience, knowledge, intelligence and temperament to do that,” Bucaro said.