It’s been five days since Trump selected Mike Pence of Indiana to be his running mate, and so far, the chemistry of this new dynamic duo seems to be working out nicely.
I will admit I was gravely concerned and very anxious in the days leading up to Trump’s announcement. Trump prizes loyalty above all else, so I knew at once Newt Gingrich would not get the job; he’s thrown Trump under the bus numerous times before. Chris Christie is very funny and down-to-earth – much like Trump – but he also has a large ego, which would undoubtedly conflict with his boss’. Besides, he is seen as a Republican ‘squish’ by many conservatives, and has his own skeletons in the closet (Bridgegate, anyone?).
I would have been thrilled with Jeff Sessions, but he is needed in the Senate. So Pence it was.
Ann Coulter, one of the few pundits I now trust, did not approve of this choice at all. Nor did VDARE.com, the leading right-wing online forum for immigration reform. Pence has not always seen Trump eye-to-eye on certain issues, putting it mildly: he blatantly supported the TPP, and was a proponent of ‘touchback amnesty.’
By choosing Pence, is Trump selling out on his principles? I don’t think so: even if Pence secretly sympathizes with touchback amnesty and the TPP still, by agreeing to become Trump’s running mate, he is signed on to Trump’s agenda – period. Besides, Trump does not take betrayals lightly.
As most have surmised, Pence was chosen to woo the Conservatism Inc./Christianity Inc. crowd of conservatives that have traditionally dominated Republican politics. (Thank goodness Trump hasn’t yet pandered to libertarians!) Pence seems to be popular in Indiana, the state of which he is governor. He is mild and wholesome – a pleasing contrast to Trump, especially for Midwesterners – and opposes abortion and gay marriage. (Unfortunately for much of the Christianity Inc. crowd, issues such as immigration haven’t yet entered their radar.)
But even then, Pence caved to the Leftist mob by redacting Indian’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act last year. Can he be relied upon to support Christian believers in this country? We cannot yet yet be certain of this.
Perhaps, however, this mild pushover is exactly what Trump needs. Trump did state he needed a seasoned politician to be his running mate, and Pence fits the bill of that perfectly. He will obviously say or do anything he feels comfortable with to maintain popularity – but he won’t have the guts to cross Trump if he doesn’t want to lose his job.
These concerns are written from a viewpoint that Pence is not right-wing enough; but for the Left, Pence is Trump 2.0. Hillary Clinton released a video explaining how Pence is just as ‘divisive’ as the Donald; and despite its repeal, the aforementioned religious freedom act that Pence signed is still a frightening memory for many liberals. In short: if the Left is scared, Trump has done something right.
As long as Pence keeps his mouth shut most of the time, and the rest of the time says only pre-approved talking points, he should manage to reassure reasonable Beltway conservatives and NeverTrump Christians that his boss is not, in fact, the Antichrist in a KKK robe. Pence, after all, will likely be the least powerful man in Washington soon enough.