With presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as two of the most disliked candidates in US history, their running mates were chosen to help balance that lack of appeal. Speaking to Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear, cartoonist Ted Rall breaks down Pence and Kaine.
"Donald Trump, in particular, really needed someone safe and someone who is going to appeal to the right-wing base of the Republican Party who did not trust Trump as he rose through the primary," Rall says. "So I think with Mike Pence, he was just viewed as this bland, boring guy who doesn’t particularly like women or gays from Indiana, but who seems palatable to the Republican base.
"On the Democratic side, Tim Kaine is also kind of a…repeat of Hillary Clinton, kind of a center right democrat in the Hillary Clinton mode," he says. "I’m not really quite sure what he was supposed to do other than seem like someone who could step in and be president if need be."
Given the ages of and health concerns surrounding both Clinton and Trump, the qualifications of the vice president may be especially important this election.
"[Trump] is certainly overweight. He’s 70-years old, and being overweight and 70-years-old is not a prescription for longevity. There have been a lot of questions about Hillary Clinton’s health, some legitimate, some less than legitimate, but certainly she doesn’t seem to be the picture of health, she’s 68-years old," Rall says.
"So you very well could have a situation where one of these vice presidential candidates could become president."
Pence, for his part, has held a number of political positions that could be described as radical.
"I’m from Ohio, just next to Indiana and I remember one of the things we used to say, living in Ohio, was that Indiana was one of the few places we could make fun of as backwards and without culture. And certainly Mike Pence would seem to confirm that joke of ours," Rall says.
While Pence has come under fire from the left for his stance against abortion, Kaine shares a conservative view of women’s rights.
"It speaks volumes about Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and her politics that she chose him. She is not a liberal Democrat."
The choice of Kaine is especially surprising, given that Clinton had another option that could have dramatically improved her poll numbers.
"One can only imagine, for example, had she selected [Vermont Senator] Bernie Sanders as her vice president, this race, I think, would pretty much be in the bag," Rall says. "Or even imagine if now she were to promise to appoint him to some position in the cabinet, even a relatively symbolic one like secretary of labor.
"I think that would probably finish off Donald Trump once and for all."