Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine was nearly in the White House in 2016. In an unprecedented election loss, he and his presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, were sent packing. Now, as Clinton releases a book about her account of that election loss, Kaine offers his perspective as he returns to the campaign trail.
Kaine admits the obvious and lightens the mood as he enters fundraisers for the 2018 Senator race in Virginia. “You mean the guy who lost to Trump?” he jokes. These days, he is promoting Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam and keeping up his reputation for his own 2018 Senate run.
He also offers his assessment of the current political landscape. Trump “has frequently done things that I think are shocking for a president to do, but nothing he’s done has been surprising,” Kaine says. “There is nothing this guy has done that should surprise a person in this country based on the person he was before he took the oath of office.”
However, he hopes to downplay the resentment over his ticket’s loss. He warns against overanalyzing the reasons they lost, even as Clinton releases a book blaming people from former FBI director James Comey, to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, to Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders. Of course, it is Kaine who still has a career in politics and so does not want to burn bridges.
“Look, he was elected by 63 million people in the electoral college,” Kaine says. “He will be president for four years. I think you have to assume that he will.” About his party’s chances, he focuses on what he himself can control – remaining in the Senate in for the foreseeable future. “If we have a good 2018, I think we’ll do fine in 2020. If we have a bad 2018, it will be incredibly demoralizing and really hurt us in 2020,” he said.