There are soft spots in this consensus. For instance, the Clinton campaign is apparently not 100 percent convinced that Donald Trump will walk away from next month’s convention in Cleveland as the Republican nominee. Clinton’s allies think there’s a small but real chance she’ll be running against a candidate who isn’t fatally flawed himself (or mortally wounded for having deposed Trump). If that did happen, a more electric candidate might rocket to the top of her short list.
But Kaine-as-default-choice is what Clinton-world sources are telling reporters, and what they say matches conventional wisdom, which for several weeks has held that Clinton will pick him. The Virginia senator is ideologically closer to Clinton than Elizabeth Warren. He’s also temperamentally closer to Clinton than Warren, and his choice would be reflective of Clinton’s famous aversion to political risk. Kaine isn’t a progressive firebrand, so he won’t overshadow Clinton — and by the same token, he doesn’t come fully loaded with the powerful enemies Warren has earned. [Continue reading…]