The horrendous attack in Nice, France, last night again shook the core of Western Europe. The big news today, Trump’s official announcement of his vice presidential choice, which we now know will be Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, was postponed in light of the events in the Mediterranean city.
Today’s cycle will clearly be dominated by the catastrophe in Nice and keep the GOP nominee’s vice presidential decision mostly to the news ticker. With the Republican Convention just three days away, we may expect changes to the planning and organization of the happenings in Cleveland.
Pence, who had been in the midst of his reelection bid for the Indiana governorship, dropped out of that race yesterday, according to The
What comes along with Trump’s numerous non-political qualities is his lack of experience in matters of government. Pence can partly assuage those worries, having served as an Indiana congressman from 2001 until he became governor of that state in 2013.
Pence may not be the most exciting choice, but his calm demeanor can serve as a powerful counterweight to the conservative populist caricature we know as Donald Trump.
The conservatism Pence ascribes to will also soothe qualms among staunch conservatives, who disagreed with some of Trump’s more liberal positions on social issues. Pence was part of the Tea Party movement that helped sweep in a Republican U.S. Senate in 2012 and has largely toed the party line.
In 2015, he was a central player in the much criticized “religious freedom” law imbroglio, which extended legal protections to establishments that didn’t want to be involved in same-sex marriages.
Moreover, Pence is an evangelical Christian, a group that has responded uncomfortably to Trump’s nomination. Having made up almost half of Republican voters at around the halfway point of the primary cycle, evangelicals play a significant role in the party, and may be placated by Trump’s decision to choose Pence.
While Gov. Pence may be a safe choice and could help coddle some conservatives in the establishment wing of the GOP, his approval ratings as Governor of Indiana are weak. A May 2016 poll conducted by Bellwether Research showed a 42% disapproval rating, with only 40% of Hoosiers approving of his governorship.
That same poll, however, showed Trump ahead of Clinton 40-31 among registered voters in Indiana.