Instead of being bold, Clinton errs in picking Kaine

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonIntel Dem decries White House 'gag order' after Bannon testimony 'Total free-for-all' as Bannon clashes with Intel members Mellman: On Political Authenticity (Part 2) MORE lost me – and I suspect the election - at Kaine.

Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineSenate campaign fundraising reports roll in Afghanistan moves reignite war authorization debate Ralph Northam sworn in as Virginia governor MORE, by all accounts, is a good man, but he's a bad choice to be Hillary's vice presidential nominee.

Clinton consistently misreads the populace. It's why, in part, she lost in 2008 to then-Sen. Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaMcCarthy: ‘No deadline on DACA’ Democrats will need to explain if they shut government down over illegal immigration Trump’s first year in office was the year of the woman MORE. People wanted change then; they demand it now. Then, as now, she ran as the candidate of experience.

In choosing a centrist, older, self-described “boring” white male, Hillary has ceded the mantle of hope to Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDems flip Wisconsin state Senate seat Sessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants GOP rep: 'Sheet metal and garbage' everywhere in Haiti MORE, not because Trump is optimistic, but because he offers some change. Any change.

By making the safest choice, we get an indication of how the next four to eight years might play out under a Clinton presidency. Ahead in the polls, and given the opportunity to make a bold choice, Hillary opted for the safe one.

In the interest of full disclosure, I hoped she would pick Julian Castro, the nation's housing secretary. I misguidedly thought she would.

The day he was announced as the keynote speaker at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, I bought the domain name Had Clinton chosen Castro as her running mate, I planned to sell the domain to draw attention to the student loan crisis and draw down my student debt.

As Clinton whittled down her running mate shortlist, though, I prayed not for myself, but for the country. I prayed she make the right decision. And maybe she has. But I have significant doubts.

Like most Americans, my political beliefs can't be squashed into one of two boxes. I'm liberal on many things, conservative on others. I'm a registered independent. I voted twice for President Obama.

To me, Kaine's selection validates my suspicions about Hillary – that she is a smart, capable, and responsible leader, yes – but that if elected, we as a nation face four to eight years of calculated, poll-tested mediocrity. It is not my belief that Kaine himself is mediocre; on the contrary, as a person, he seems quite exceptional, and as an American (and a Catholic), I respect him.

But his selection has solidified my opinion that neither Clinton, nor Trump – whose rhetoric I deplore, and whose temperament and competency I question – are the leaders we need. Nor is Gary JohnsonGary Earl JohnsonGary Johnson: Trump admin marijuana policy shift could cost him reelection When pro-Clinton trolls went after me during the election Gary Johnson: I don’t want to be president anymore ‘because of Trump’ MORE, nor Jill Stein. And I don't know where that leaves me in November.

I was a Bernie voter, not because I foolishly believed he could accomplish all of what he laid out, but because he gave me hope things could get better. In an era of stagnation, we need to pursue daring policy ideas. The nation needs an overhaul, not a tune-up.

I'm 27. I graduated college in December 2009, the month the nation saw its highest level of unemployment since the Great Depression. I've spent my career thus far consistently one step ahead of layoffs. I owe $80,000 in student loans.

I'm also half-Latino. My immigrant grandmother, the most selfless human being I've ever met, is voting for Trump.

As of now, I'm not sure what I'll do in November, but to paraphrase Texas Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWith religious liberty memo, Trump made America free to be faithful again Interstate compacts aren't the right way to fix occupational licensing laws Texas Dem: ‘I don’t know what to believe’ about what Trump wants for wall MORE, I suspect I'll vote my Kainescience.

Jonathan Walczak is a freelance investigative journalist. Follow him at @jonwalczak