If Sanders supporters and ardent progressives, more generally, had doubts about just how seriously their interests were viewed, let alone shared, by Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee’s selection of Tim Kaine as ticket-mate answered those doubts with a resounding, “not much at all.”
Kaine, a fan of more deregulation of Wall Street and someone who’s in favor of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, is by no means reflective of the progressive values that are clearly a priority of many Democrats today, given Bernie Sanders’ strong performance against Clinton in head-to-head matchups throughout the primary and caucus season.
From the good feelings telegraphed during meetings between Sanders and Clinton just prior to the former’s announced endorsement of Hillary, it is clear that many Sanders supporters were hopeful that their interests would be represented on the ticket by the selection of a running mate who is a strong progressive, and a not-insignificant number of the rank-and-file were wishing out loud that the choice would be Sanders himself.
That, however, was not to be, as Hillary eventually decided on someone who is, in many ways, a mirror image of herself.
Economist and lawyer William K. Black, who played a key role in revealing congressional corruption in connection with the saving and loan crisis of the 1980’s and 1990’s, said of the pick, “It's not what you say, it's what you do. Clinton can talk about caring about the U.S. public, but this choice cuts through the rhetoric. Kaine, like Clinton herself, is a quintessential 'New Democrat'—meaning they are allies of Wall Street. They embrace a neoliberal, pro-corporate outlook that has done incredible damage to the vast majority of Americans.”
While many progressives are something between perplexed and outraged by Clinton’s selection of Kaine, many other folks “get it.” The plain fact is that Clinton is fond of money, of Wall Street. She also, just as clearly, holds tried and true progressives in genuine disdain, and, my guess is that, in private, she sees them as both daffy and grubby. More formally, though, she knows that when it comes time for the general election, left-leaning candidates must reposition themselves as from the center, and absolutely must govern that way once in office in order to get anything of consequence accomplished.
Poor Bernie and his faithful minions never stood a chance.
By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large