Hillary Clinton announced yesterday that she selected Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia to be her running mate. She believes that the Senator has “the qualifications and background and the personal chemistry with her to make the ticket a success.”
For the most part of this election season, I have been very critical of the former Secretary of State. I decried her ties to Wall Street and big corporations. I warned that Clinton is hurting the fight for campaign finance reform. I genuinely fear her hawkishness and military interventionism. I laughed at the notion that she opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership and highlighted how she covertly campaigned for it during the primaries. I cautioned against her incremental theory of change. I am offended by her blatant dishonesty, political expediency, and her reliance on identity politics that has poisoned the political discourse.
Despite all of this, I believed that electing Hillary Clinton was the best decision given the possible political realities. I thought that Bernie Sanders had pushed Clinton further to the left, compelling her to support issues championed by progressives such as raising the minimum wage, free public college, a “public option” for health insurance, expanding social security and opposing the TPP. I believed that Sanders supporters should do whatever they could to help Clinton get elected so these progressive issues can be implemented.
That opinion changed yesterday when Clinton decided to select Tim Kaine as her running mate.
At a time where progressives desperately want to have their voices heard in the White House, Hillary Clinton essentially gave them the middle finger and turned her focus to try to win “moderate Republicans displeased with Mr. Trump.”
Clinton claims that she opposes the TPP, so she selects a Vice President that has praised the trade deal as recently as Thursday.
Clinton claims that she would rein in Wall Street, so she selects a Vice President that urges the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to go easy on banks.
Clinton claims that she would fight big money in politics, so she selects a Vice President that accepted more than $160,000 in gifts that are only legal due to “Virginia’s lax ethics rules.”
Clinton claims that she strongly supports unions and workers rights, so she selects a Vice President that supports right-to-work laws. These laws, which top Republican wish lists, “bar labor unions from requiring private-sector employees to join and pay dues.”
Clinton claims that she opposes offshore drilling, so she selects a Vice President that supports it and one whom the fossil fuel industry likes.
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One may argue that Virginia is a swing state, and selecting a Senator from that state is a smart political move. The problem with that argument is that Trump doesn’t need Virginia to become president, but he does need to carry Ohio, which is very competitive. Selecting progressive Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, a staunch advocate for workers, would have improved Clinton’s chances of winning the presidency.
The truth of the matter is – Clinton has already pivoted to the center. In the words of Jill Stein, the Democratic Party “fakes left, marches right.” If progressives do not stand up against this mockery, the establishment will continue this charade of false promises. Endorsing Hillary Clinton, means that progressive would be satisfied with the little food crumbs that the establishment is “generous” to offer when it pleases.
Clinton had a chance to show progressives that she is listening. She chose to turn her back. Maybe it’s time that progressives turn their backs too. The only progressive in this race is Jill Stein, and that’s why I throw my support behind the Green Party’s presumptive nominee.