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Friday, July 15, 2016

Trump Picks Mike Pence

Donald Trump has selected Indiana Governor Mike Pence to be his running mate on the Presidential ticket.  Of the nearly two dozen possible VP picks I mentioned last month, Pence did not even make my list.

Pence is a capable conservative Republican with considerable electoral experience.  A couple of years ago, many thought he might run for President this year.  Pence, however, did not seem to show much interest in a Presidential run.  Given that he was up for reelection as Governor this year, that seemed to be his preferred course.

The fact that Pence had criticized Trump during the primaries and endorsed Ted Cruz was not a deal breaker for Trump.  Let's face it, pretty much everyone in the Republican Party had criticized Trump to some degree and endorsed on of his Primary opponents.

As a white male, Pence does little to soften the opposition from women and minorities.  It will not affect electoral politics by helping with a swing state.

Pence does, however, give some gravitas to the ticket.  Experience as a Congressman and Governor is the traditional sort of experience one expects for a national ticket.  Pence is well respected in Republican and conservative circles.  He has never been one to make outrageous statements to take many extreme positions, though he is quite clearly a right wing conservative.   He has strong support among the religious right, Tea Partiers, and establishment Republican leaders.

Pence's selection may help calm some fears of more traditional Republicans by convincing them that Trump will surround himself with an administration full of responsible adults and good conservatives.  He should not alienate Trump's core support among white working class voters.  He should not.

Historically, Vice Presidents usually do not help a candidate.  They can only hurt a ticket by behaving poorly or raising a scandal that takes attention from the top of the ticket.  Pence would not seem to do any harm an seems like a highly respectable choice.  If only the same could be said for the top of the ticket.

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