Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) offered his support for the choice of Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) as the Democratic vice presidential nominee, though he did so by calling it a vast improvement over the Republican alternative more than offering a testament to Kaine’s liberal bona fides.
Speaking to CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sanders acknowledged that he and Kaine were not always ideologically in symmetry. That is a statement of fact: few are 100 percent in line with Sanders, a self-described Democratic socialist. And Kaine has, on several issues, hewed closer to the center of the ideological spectrum.
Still, Sanders said that “on his worst, worst, worst day, Tim Kaine is 100 times better than Donald Trump will ever be.”
“Tim is an extremely bright guy, a very nice guy,” said Sanders. “Are his political views different than mine? Yes, they are. He is more conservative than I am. But compared to Donald Trump, a guy who rejects science, doesn’t even believe that climate change is real, let alone that we have to take bold action to transform our energy system, a Donald Trump who wants to give hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the top two-tenths of 1 percent, a Donald Trump who goes around the country insulting Mexicans and Latinos and Muslims and women, veterans and African-Americans…”
The quasi-endorsement should be welcome news for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, which is hoping to keep the progressive base of the Democratic Party in line as it heads into this week’s convention. Sanders supporters had hoped that she’d choose more of a liberal stalwart as her running mate. And in the hours after the Kaine pick was announced, the lack of a response from Sanders grew conspicuous.
Sanders still has obvious grievances over how he was treated by the Democratic National Committee during the primary process. But the selection of Kaine doesn’t appear to be that strong an aggravation.