Delegates to the Democratic National Convention are giving mostly positive reviews to Hillary Clinton’s choice for vice president, saying Virginia Sen. Time Kaine will appeal to moderates but do little to soothe disenchanted Bernie Sanders supporters.
Kaine is receiving 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 Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., 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 that while Kaine may seem like a “conventional choice,” he will balance the ticket well for the general election.
Delegates were heading to Philadelphia for the convention starting Monday, with those who support Sanders indicating uncertainty about embracing a Clinton ticket. Sanders endorsed Clinton last week.
It “was a horrible pick,” said Angie Morelli, a Sanders delegate from Nevada. “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.”
She said she’s bothered by Kaine’s association with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a global trade pact that Sanders and Clinton oppose. Kaine voted to back “fast track” authority for the TPP, a pact that President Barack Obama favors.
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 that 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 Tuesday, according to excerpts of a Slack thread Friday obtained by The Associated Press. In a conference call this past week, more than 400 delegates also cited opposition to TPP as a priority, making plans to distribute hundreds of stickers at the convention that say “Stop the TPP” and possibly booing the Democratic platform language when it’s voted on, according to participants on the call. But many others also said they wanted to get direction from Sanders, who was scheduled to meet privately with his delegates Monday.
“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. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, one of two Black senators, was also considered.
Clinton delegate Roger Salazar of California said he was rooting for Clinton to select 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 will appeal to a broad range of voters in swing states, even Republicans 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.