Clinton VP pick could face liberal ire

American liberals, meet Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineDemocratic senator rips Navy head's 'completely inappropriate' speech on ousted carrier captain Biden's pick for vice president doesn't matter much Students with disabilities could lose with COVID-19 stimulus package MORE.

The Virginia senator, chosen Friday to be Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWe need to be 'One America,' the polling says — and the politicians should listen Poll shows Biden with 6-point edge on Trump in Florida Does Joe Biden really want to be president? MORE’s running mate, will take the stage at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, where party leaders are hoping to send a message of unity — and highlight stark divisions in the Republican Party intensified by Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpOvernight Health Care: US hits 10,000 coronavirus deaths | Trump touts 'friendly' talk with Biden on response | Trump dismisses report on hospital shortages as 'just wrong' | Cuomo sees possible signs of curve flattening in NY We need to be 'One America,' the polling says — and the politicians should listen Barr tells prosecutors to consider coronavirus risk when determining bail: report MORE — on the tails of a boisterous GOP gathering in Cleveland.

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Kaine, for those purposes, is something of a gamble.

The moderate Democrat has backed abortion restrictions; supported fast-track authority for a controversial Pacific Rim trade deal; and just this week joined a push to deregulate some of the nation’s largest banks — all positions that are anathema to the liberals being wooed by the Clinton team heading into November.

Raising the stakes, the convention marks the end of a bruising Democratic primary contest between Clinton and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWisconsin Supreme Court blocks governor's effort to delay election The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden, Trump discuss coronavirus response; Wisconsin postpones elections Wisconsin governor postpones Tuesday's election over coronavirus MORE (I-Vt.) in which Sanders’s liberal supporters continuously bashed the former secretary of State for being too conservative on some of those same issues, including trade and her ties to Wall Street. 

Clinton, now the presumptive nominee, has shifted left in an effort to appease those critics — with help from a recent Sanders endorsement — but in a challenge to Democrats’ unity push, throngs of protesters are expected in Philadelphia next week.

Those liberal voices, seen as vital to Clinton’s election chances, had pressed her to choose a more left-leaning vice presidential candidate — someone in the mold of Sens. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownDemocrats urge administration to automatically issue coronavirus checks to more people Lawmakers press IRS to get coronavirus checks to seniors Democrats press Mnuchin to defend T coronavirus stimulus IG MORE (D-Ohio), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOn The Money: Trump officials struggle to get relief loans out the door | Dow soars more than 1600 points | Kudlow says officials 'looking at' offering coronavirus bonds Overnight Energy: Trump floats oil tariffs amid Russia-Saudi dispute | Warren knocks EPA over 'highly dangerous' enforcement rollback | 2019 sees big increase in methane levels in air Ex-CFPB director urges agency to 'act immediately' to help consumers during pandemic MORE (D-Mass.) or Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyOvernight Energy: Oil giants meet with Trump at White House | Interior extends tenure of controversial land management chief | Oil prices tick up on hopes of Russia-Saudi deal Oil giants meet at White House amid talk of buying strategic reserves Democrats ask EPA, Interior to pause rulemaking amid coronavirus MORE (D-Ore.) — and it’s unclear how the more centrist Kaine will be received. 

Leading up to the pick, there was a great deal of speculation that Clinton would choose either a minority or female candidate in order to maximize turnout among large blocs of voters already alienated by Trump. That list included Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Rep. Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraIs Texas learning to love ObamaCare? T-Mobile, Sprint complete merger Overnight Energy: Court upholds Trump repeal of Obama fracking rule | Oil price drop threatens fracking boom | EPA eases rules on gasoline sales amid coronavirus MORE (D-Calif.), Labor Secretary Thomas PerezThomas Edward PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE and Julián Castro, President Obama’s housing chief. 

Following the recent terrorist attack in Nice, France, mass shootings in Texas, Florida and Louisiana, and the killing of two black men at the hands of police in Minnesota and Louisiana, the nation has grown jittery over security concerns. Trump has responded by focusing his campaign on a theme of “law and order,” and Clinton faced pressure to counter the message.

Kaine fits the bill. The former Virginia governor serves on both the Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, where he’s focused intently on anti-terror measures and led the push for Congress to approve a new authorization for military force specific to the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Sen. Angus KingAngus KingWe weren't ready for a pandemic — imagine a crippling cyberattack Senators offer bill to extend tax filing deadline Russia using coronavirus fears to spread misinformation in Western countries MORE, an Independent Maine lawmaker who caucuses with Democrats, recently noted that experience as just one of many reasons Kaine is perfectly suited for the vice presidency.

“He is thoughtful and knowledgeable in foreign policy,” King told The Daily Beast last week, before Kaine was named, “and has engaged with the leaders of the world’s most troublesome places.”

There are other reasons Kaine is an attractive pick for Clinton and the Democrats.

A devout Catholic from the Midwest, Kaine was born in Minnesota, Jesuit-educated in Missouri and took time away from Harvard Law School to do missionary work in Honduras. 

He’s fluent in Spanish, shifting effortlessly between the two languages on the stump. He represents Virginia, a swing state. And he’s built a reputation as a pragmatic legislator who’s able to compromise across the aisle, a trait not overlooked by Clinton as she weighed her options.

“He was a world-class mayor, governor and senator, and is one of the most highly respected senators I know,” Clinton told Charlie Rose last week.

No stranger to national politics, Kaine was on Obama’s shortlist for vice president in 2008 and headed the Democratic National Committee in the early years of the administration. 

Still, the freshman senator is hardly a household name, and Clinton’s decision was likely also influenced by Trump’s own options for running mate. The business mogul passed over prominent national figures like former Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to tap Indiana Gov. Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceWatch Live: White House coronavirus task force holds press briefing Scott Gottlieb becomes key voice warning Trump, GOP on coronavirus Religious groups battle orders to close services MORE — a traditional but low-key conservative who’s not nearly as combative as others Trump had considered.

Kaine, for his part, had repeatedly downplayed the possibility that he’d be chosen. With characteristic modesty, he’d suggested he’s simply too “boring” for the job. 

Clinton had a different take.

“I love that about him,” she told Rose.

Ultimately, Kaine’s moderate position on some issues may be immaterial: recent national polls show that a vast majority of Sanders supporters will stick with Democrats in November. A Pew survey released earlier this month found that 85 percent of Sanders backers said they would vote for Clinton, while just 9 percent would cross the aisle for Trump.