Photos courtesy of Gage Skidmore and Susannp4
Almost as fast as Carly Fiorina disappeared from that stage in Lafayette earlier this week, Donald Trump became the Republican nominee on Tuesday night.
Why? For sure, a lot of it was racist, misogynist, loud-mouthed buffoonery. But most of it was his central theme was that he wasn't bought, that he's, "not in this for anyone other than YOU.” And his most powerful message about how things would be different under Trump? No more corporate-written trade deals that export American jobs overseas.
Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton is firmly in the driver’s seat, but she can't quite get Bernie out of the car. Why? Sanders has a message that is similar to Trump’s—minus the misogyny, racism and buffoonery. Actually, Trump, a master used car salesman, was quick to see what was working for Sanders and stole it.
Clinton’s latest attempt to shake off Sanders, who is at this moment is clinging with steely determination to the bumper of the 2016 campaign, is to float the idea of a potential Vice Presidential candidate. After all, what better says, “It’s over! I got this!” than picking your running mate?
Not a bad strategy, unless the person you are floating undermines your assurances to working class voters that you’ve seen the error of your ways when it comes to corporate give-away trade deals and you’re really in it for them now.
Unfortunately, that is exactly the problem with the current buzz over Virginia Senator Tim Kaine. There are a lot of good things you can say about Kaine’s progressive record, but you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who is more of “free trade” zealot than this guy. He has been the Senate’s most fanatical supporter of the wildly unpopular Tran-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and reauthorization of fast track.
Since he’s been in the Senate, Kaine has never been below 50 percent on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s annual voter scorecard. Annnnnd, he was one of the 22 Democratic senators who voted to weaken the already too weak Dodd-Frank Act in 2014. Annnnnnnnnd nothing says DC insider like being the former head of the DNC and an avid member of the now-defunct corporate lair, the Democratic Leader Council (DLC).
In the dynamics of this year’s race, Clinton floating Kaine as her VP pick is like floating Typhoid Mary to be your health inspector.
What’s next? You’re going to tell me that Clinton is floating Bill, whose free trade revolution sent millions of manufacturing jobs overseas, as her manufacturing jobs czar? Oh… wait.
Newsflash Clinton camp: This isn’t the 1990s. Americans get trade policy. In fact, it’s become the #1 issue of the 2016 campaign. And guess what else: The electorate is especially wary of Clintonspeak.
Picking someone like Tim Kaine will reinforce the perception that Clinton is disingenuous and will say anything to get elected. But more alarmingly, it is yet another sign of just how out of touch the Clinton camp has become.
I get the strategy—pick a vice president who is a “moderate”—but why not get a moderate who is moderate on views that are popular with the public? Kaine earned his moderate-merit-badge from his corporate-friendly shtick that is only popular with very, very large corporations.
Out of touch politicians are nothing new, but if the Clinton camp doesn’t get out of their bubble soon, don’t be surprised when The Donald becomes the The President.
Jud Lounsbury is a frequent contributor to The Progressive.