Pages Menu
TwitterRssFacebook
Categories Menu

Posted by on Jul 20, 2016 in 2016 Elections, 2016 Presidential Election, Politics | 9 comments

No More Sus-Pence: Will Indiana Governor Be Asset To Trump

21pencefaith1-master768
Photo via The New York Times

In a few hours, a fair number of Americans will get their first exposure to Indiana Governor Mike Pence as he addresses delegates at the Republican National Convention as Donald Trump’s pick for vice-president.Trump’s selection of Pence cleared up much suspense. Would he go with a big name who could ruffle feathers and make themselves known with an over-sized presence on the campaign trail or would he play it safe by picking someone who doesn’t dominate headlines – at least intentionally? By picking Pence, he clearly chose the latter.

Because he is an outsider, Trump made it clear from the outset that he wanted a running-mate familiar with the intricacies of government and Washington and Pence, having served a dozen years in Congress and the last four as Governor, certainly fits that bill. But that doesn’t mean his mere presence will simply metamorphasize Trump into a first-rate candidate. Pence has his own weaknesses which, if played up by Democrats, could actually hurt Trump’s bid to shore up swing voters. Now because Trump is, well, Trump, that might not happen. But let’s have a look.

Democrats watching to see if a Trump pick might give him traction have to be fairly happy with Pence’s selection. Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich have a presence that make them effective on the stump, mainly because, despite many imperfections that could be turned into a book, their fiery, attack-dog communication abilities and shrill point-making style have been proven to resonate with voters. In other words, they know how to frame rhetoric in ways people can relate too. That’s not to say Pence is incapable of that but he is not as media-genic. He is not rah-rah. In other words, he is stylistically bland. That’s not a bad thing to be when your Donald Trump’s number two – in fact it has to be welcome for Republican candidates nationwide. But Pence’s portfolio still gives Democrats reason to be gleeful as some of his stances are even further to the right than Trump’s.

It may be that Pence’s presence might not impact any state other than perhaps Indiana, which was hardly on the radar-screen anyway. While a long-shot, it is still not completely out of the realm of going Democratic in November. It may also be that in a few nit-pickingly close battleground states, even a single matter will come into play and Pence could be such a factor. Having said both, vice-presidential candidates rarely make a President. They do, on the other hand, often contribute to the breaking of a Presidency.

The only instance in recent history that a vice-presidential pick alone probably put a nominee over the top was 1960 when Lyndon Johnson clearly delivered the state of Texas to a Yankee, “Hahvahd”-educated Senator from Massachusetts named John F. Kennedy. Other instances have shown a major benefit. A running-mate is designed to compliment the standard bearer’s weaknesses and in that sense, Joe Biden was the perfect backup to Obama’s lack of foreign policy (and to a lesser extent, so was Dick Cheney for Bush). Similarly, Joe Lieberman helped Al Gore who was hamstrung by Bill Clinton and the morality issue post Monica Lewinsky. On occasion, it has been known to impact a candidacy negatively. The most obvious example is Sarah Palin. The pick was a surprise from the outset as Palin wasn’t even vetted by the McCain campaign and it showed. Given the mood of the country, Obama still likely would have defeated McCain even if the Arizona Senator had picked someone better suited for the number two job (like Clint Eastwood), but his seven point victory might have been half that.

Other than the convention, the main responsibility for a vice-presidential nominee before Election Day is the debate. As far as middle-America is concerned, it’s doubtful Pence would outshine his yet to be announced Democratic counterpart. What he likely will do during that debate is try to take the focus off of his own record by going after Hillary. That’s a problem Democrats would have to contend with regardless of whom Trump tapped. But Christie or Gingrich, by sheer virtue of their fiery style, would have been a heck of a lot more penetrating.

Pence’s biggest impediment when it comes to reaching swing voters is his staunch cultural conservatism. He is strongly pro-life and signed abortion restrictions into law as Indian’s Governor. In 1997, he argued that households containing two working parents leads to “stunted emotional growth” (he was critical of the Disney movie Mulan to that affect). That’ll go a long way toward winning over “soccer-moms.” And after the Supreme Court affirmed the Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, Pence termed the decision “worse than 9/11. Trump has zero chance of putting the New York region in play but those words are pretty darn offensive. But his signing of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act was what provoked the most fury. Pence struggled to explain even the rudimentary aspects of the law to the media, and facing the threat of boycotts, ultimately did sign a more modified version making clear that businesses could not discriminate – a move that sent his stock plummeting with social conservatives. But that will ultimately do little to help him with swing voters.

Now Pence has taken issue with Trump here and there, most notably his advocacy of a ban on Muslims entering the United States which Pence called “offensive and unconstitutional.” But as I mentioned, Trump has such supersized views on that issue that the focus will be exclusively on him.

The bottom line: Pence may get a few religious conservatives but if swing voters follow, it will have more to do with Hillary. In other words, there is almost nothing Pence can say or do. Donald Trump will win or lose but Mike Pence will have little to do with it.

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 The Moderate Voice
  • Slamfu

    Signing up to campaign as Trump’s VP had to feel like getting into a cab that’s on fire that you know is going to be driven over a cliff.

  • The Ohioan

    Pence will give the evangelicals the excuse to vote for Trump even as they know their WWJD ethos will be violated. Of course for the southern evangelicals, they are getting a twofer.

    I can’t think having a flaming theocrat next in line for the presidency will be a calming influence on most people. The only good thing is that he’s less clever than Cruz even while being more sincere.

    • The only good thing is that he’s less clever than Cruz even while being more sincere.

      that is great! and so true.

  • Slamfu

    Ok, this is a rather shocking article if true. A long time ago I suggested, like many others, that Trump wouldn’t really want to be President. There’s a lot of actual responsibility that goes with the job, like showing up on a regular basis to actually work. You can’t fire members of Congress you don’t like, and you can’t just wield your authority like a dictator, all of which pretty much precludes Trump’s existing experience in management. If this article is right, it looks like I wasn’t far off the mark:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/20/magazine/how-donald-trump-picked-his-running-mate.html?_r=3

    Its anonymously sourced supposedly from a close Kasich advisor who was approached by Don Trump Jr, and was told that Trump is looking for a VP to handle all the day to day work of being President. Or as everyone else in the world thinks of it, being President. I don’t know if there will be more about this story, but I hope there is a bit more investigation to it. I’d really like to know if this is BS or not.

    • dduck

      Thanks for the link, Slam. I always said Kasich was the best candidate of either party.

    • The Ohioan

      What I’ve wondered about all along is, putting aside the sheer concentration necessary to be President of the United States (which is one of the least noticeable of the Don’s attributes), would he be willing to give up making money for four years? He would have to put everything in a blind trust, I’d think.

      Of course things that normal presidents do, the Don may disregard completely – including blind trusts, but it would seem he would have to spend a lot of time at the job (just signing papers if nothing else), even if someone else was acting president, and that would take away from his business pursuits. Can he, will he, do that? I suppose it is foolish to waste time even contemplating the workings of a Trump presidency since it’s unlikely to happen.

      I wonder how much time the JCOS are spending in planning sessions with a Trump presidency as a possibility. I’ve always pictured them taking the President down to the war room on the first day in office and saying “Now, Mr. President, here’s how it is.” If ever a coup has been contemplated, now would be the most likely time.

  • KP

    Trump wants the title but somebody else will actually end up being presiddent.

    Much like Obama, who has relied on Valerie Jarrett to make decisions and she has gone through a several a Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and several Secretaries of Defense that she didn’t approve of.. Like whack-a-moles 🙂

    But Obama and trump both love golf and maybe they can shoot 18 after the next American beheading.

    • Bob Munck

      Much like Obama

      You think that Jarrett has been running the Executive Branch for the last 7½ years? What strange ideas you have. Any thoughts on HAARP and chemtrails? On who ran the EB during the Reagan Administration?

      • KP

        I don’t have any idea clear idea why you brought up HAARP.

        Lots of Bs in the past. Please, write it out.

Twitter Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com