“A Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order.”
Image via CC (Credit: Greg Skidmore)
Breaking news reports claim that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has chosen his running mate. And the potential future vice president of the United States is … Mike Pence.
If that name doesn’t immediately ring a bell, we’ll bring you up to speed on the Indiana governor and how he apparently has made it through the final round of Political Apprentice to become the billionaire mogul’s choice for number two on the GOP ticket.
Of course, before we go any further we have to note that this decision has not been formally announced yet. And Trump being Trump, all of this could flip on a dime.
In short order, Pence is a conservative on nearly every issue across the board, opposing reproductive rights, marriage equality and a host of other issues. The stalky 57-year-old with solid white hair served in Congress for a decade and was often a thorn in the side of the Bush administration when it came to spending requests. He’s a committed conservative in an era when many on the far right decried “RINOs” (Republican In Name Only). And even if you completely disagree with his political views, there’s no denying Pence has intellectual gravitas, having previously run a policy think tank in the Hoosier state. He also once hosted his own radio show that he jokingly called, “Rush Limbaugh on decaf.” Though Trump critics are also having a field day pointing to this Twitter post from last December:
I first met Pence 10 years ago when he was a Republican Congressman and ran a group called the Republican Study Committee. At the time, I wrote about how even a fiscally conservative die hard like Pence was having little to no success in holding congressional Republicans to their own budget cutting standards.
In my interview, Pence described himself as, “A Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.”
That alone shows the kind of power he could have in helping consolidate wobbly conservatives around Trump’s campaign. Pence is a true believer when it comes to the causes Republicans hold near and dear both in terms of fiscal and social policy. As recently as Wednesday, he was praised by House Speaker Paul Ryan who told reporters, "It's no secret. I'm a big fan of Mike Pence's. We're very good friends. I have very high regard for him. I hope that he picks a good movement conservative. Clearly Mike is one of those."
Pence is also a skilled politician and briefly considered his own runs for president back in 2008 and 2012 before settling into his role Indiana’s governor in 2013. He’ll probably be an asset to Trump, helping to soothe the concerns of establishment Republicans and serving as a potential middle man with Congress if Trump defeats Hillary Clinton. But he also highlights the very real problems Trump faces within his own party: the fact that he had to choose someone from a solidly Republican state just to shore up support with his own team could end up being a sign of weakness rather than one of strength.