Saturday, July 16, 2016

My take on Trump's VP pick, Mike Pence

Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump has officially picked Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his vice presidential pick. I watched the two of them give a speech today. Both of them did a fair job but it looked like Trump wasn't exactly enthused with his pick. For his part Pence looked happy to be there and did a good job bashing Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. I think he gave a good speech and I was somewhat relieved when I heard him talk. 

But I did say that Trump didn't exactly seem happy with his pick. After all Pence has been a fairweather supporter for Trump. He actually endorsed Ted Cruz before the Indiana primary and only endorsed Trump when Cruz was destroyed in that state. He also had some major policy differences with Trump, especially when it comes to his Muslim ban. And some people might be upset with him because he backed down on Indiana's religious freedom bill. 

So why pick Pence? In some ways he's the best guy that was left. He may be a boring mainstream conservative, but that is kind of what Trump needs. Pence will shore up Trump's conservative credentials. The #NeverTrump coalition will probably break up because of this pick and the few die-hards that are left will lose credibility. Plus Pence helps Trump win over Evangelicals, a group that he has had trouble with in the past.

More importantly the other candidates either didn't want it or had their own problems. Let's start with Jeff Sessions. I have heard rumors that the Alabama senator was Trump's first choice. He would have been my first choice as well, but it appears that Sessions chickened out. The rumor is that he was asked but that he didn't want to do it. I have no idea why he would do such a thing, but perhaps he thinks he would do better in the Senate.

Then there is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Though Christie is a decent attack dog, he was also a liability. Christie didn't really shore up any of Trump's weaknesses and he had the New Jersey "bridgegate" scandal over his head. Plus he wouldn't really shore up Trump's relations with conservatives. I also think that Christie was a RINO anyways due to his support of gun control and the fact that he lied about being pro-gun at one of the debates. Trump may find a place for him in his administration, but I am not upset that he wasn't picked. Indeed, it's a relief as picking him would have made me rethink my support of Donald Trump.

Newt Gingrich was a possible choice as well. He has senate experience and has tangled with the Clinton's before. But he's old and most young people haven't heard of him. He also has major ethics issues with the way he has treated his ex-wives. Though the base might like him, he would turn of independents in a way that Mike Pence wouldn't. He will also probably end up in Trump's administration.

General Mike Flynn was another possible choice. He would have brought military experience to the ticket but that was about it. He kind of blew his chances when he flubbed a question about abortion. That would have turned off the evangelicals that Trump needs to win. He might have helped with the former Bernie Bros but at the cost of losing many conservatives. Plus I don't think Trump needs all that much help with foreign policy. Amazingly enough, he might be to hard on Muslims for Trump to have picked him.

With those being the other choices it isn't that surprising that Trump picked Pence. Though I am not really excited about the choice, I think it is a safe pick. Someone like Christie or Gingrich would have been more entertaining, I think Pence will give Trump a better chance of winning. He will help calm down the GOP and will probably do well in the debate against whoever Hillary Clinton's VP pick is. More on that when it happens... 

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