Unless you live in or around Indiana, or you follow politics regularly, chances are you probably had never heard of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence until his name was brought up as a possible running mate for Donald Trump. Not that Pence isn’t vile enough to deserve a lot of national attention and scrutiny (he most definitely is), but he’s never been someone who’s really seen as a “big name” within the party.
That’s part of what makes Trump’s selection so sad. Let’s not act as if Mike Pence was Trump’s first choice. Hell, I don’t even think he was in the top five. Make no mistake about it, this selection is one of the biggest mistakes, and saddest moments, of Donald J. Trump’s entire campaign.
Here are 5 reasons why I’m confident in making that assertion.
1. Mike Pence brings absolutely nothing to the table: He’s someone who appeals to the very far-right and is governor of a state that was in no danger of voting for Hillary Clinton this November. Being that Trump already has that far-right vote locked down, and he was going to win Indiana anyway, there’s nothing Pence brings to the table that actually helps Trump.
2. The Trump/Pence ticket is one of the most radically conservative presidential tickets we’ve ever seen: Pence is someone who denies evolution; thinks climate change is a myth; is staunchly anti-LGBT rights; is horrifically anti-women’s rights; and said, in 2000, that smoking (yes, cigarettes) doesn’t kill. This is the most radical right-wing presidential ticket we’ve ever seen — and it’s not even close.
3. It proves how disliked Trump really is within the GOP: Despite what anyone might think of Donald Trump, it’s indisputable that he’s the most popular Republican presidential candidate in a very long time. Yet, despite his overwhelming popularity among tens of millions of conservative voters, the best Trump could do was Mike Pence? Not only that, but apparently his “second place” candidate was Newt Gingrich. It’s clear if his VP choices were down to Pence and Gingrich that a whole lot of other Republicans told him they weren’t interested. Trump will never admit that the Indiana governor wasn’t at the top of his list, but it’s clear Pence was the “best of the lousiest” in a crop of really watered down and bad VP candidates.
4. It’s obvious that even Trump didn’t want Pence to be his running mate: With rumors floating around that Trump was actually asking about how he could get out of picking Pence just hours before he sent out the tweet announcing his selection, it’s fairly obvious that Trump was not overly thrilled at the idea of heading into the general election with Pence on his ticket. This almost seems like a move where outside influences were telling him that picking someone like Gingrich would be a disaster and Pence was the “safest” choice on their list of less than ideal possibilities.
5. It shows how little influence Trump actually has over the party: While Trump likes to talk a big game about how “wonderful” and “fabulous” he is, reality shows us that it’s all bullshit. It’s clear the vast majority of the Republican party has almost no respect for him. Most are basically walking the tightrope between saying they’re supportive of him — but not getting too close to him so that the rest of their political careers aren’t forever tied to him. The best example of this is Speaker of the House Paul Ryan who, while he’s out there telling people to vote for Trump, is obviously only doing so because he’s too spineless to risk ticking off Trump supporters because he knows he’ll need them whenever he decides to run for president.
I was personally hoping for Newt Gingrich to be his VP pick (that would have been amazing), but Mike Pence was, sadly, about the “best” Donald Trump could do. It’s a true testament to how ridiculous Trump has been and how most within the GOP really don’t want anything to do with him.
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