Donald Trump is known for his horrible reality TV show The Apprentice, but his campaign’s search for a vice presidential running mate more closely resembles that other horrible reality TV show franchise, The Bachelor. 8 ways the Trump VP search is like the ‘Bachelor’ franchise.
“Who will get the rose? Stay tuned for the shocking surprise ending!”
“The Donald” has been playing the media villagers and their incessant fawning over TV celebrities today. His campaign has been leaking to the media villagers that his VP pick will be Governor Mike Pence of Indiana. Trump Advisers Signal That Pence Is Likely Running Mate (NY Times), Trump allies signal Pence is likely running mate (Washington Post).
UPDATE: The Indianapolis Star reports, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is Donald Trump’s VP pick:
IndyStar has confirmed that Trump plans to announce Pence as his selection for vice president, ending a weeks-long vice presidential casting call during which Trump vetted a handful of high-profile Republicans.
UPDATE: It’s official as of Friday morning. And how did “The Donald” announce his choice? By a tweet, of course. Stay classy.
Well that was anti-climactic. Where’s the “shocking surprise ending”? I’m disappointed.
The Washington Post editorialized today, Trump’s vice-presidential hopefuls reveal their desperation — and his poor judgment:
Treating Mr. Trump as a normal candidate is a grave insult to the country’s democratic tradition. This election year presents an unusually clear moral choice. Not only are Mr. Trump’s supplicants on the wrong side of history, but they are also actively and knowingly aiding the candidacy of an unacceptable, dangerous demagogue for their own personal gain. The fact that Mr. Trump’s vice presidential shortlist contains two unpopular governors and a disgraced ex-speaker of the House shows that his judgment is as poor as it seems to be or, more likely, that only desperate, unprincipled panderers would consider joining his ticket.
Tell us how you really feel.
Just how unpopular is Governor Mike Pence? Mike Pence will be in big trouble if Trump passes him over for vice president: “A major reason Pence wants to be Trump’s running mate so badly is that he could lose his bid for a second term.”
Martin Longman at the Political Animal Blog wrote the other day, Mike Pence Makes Zero Sense as Veep:
The conservative Washington Times raised some eyebrows with a headline proclaiming that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has a 95% chance of being the pick. I wouldn’t call the Washington Times a credible source, but they do supply three reasons for their confidence.
First, they have a source in convention delegate James Bopp, who is reportedly close to Governor Pence. Mr. Bopp says that he was contacted by Indiana House Speaker Brian C. Bosma, who was looking for some advice on a potential gubernatorial run. This is significant because Pence is seeking re-election and he’ll have to remove himself from contention for governor by noon on July 15 if he wants to be on the ticket as a vice-presidential candidate. If Speaker Bosma is suddenly interested in running for governor, it’s probably because he knows or strongly suspects that Pence won’t be running for the position.
Second, the Washington Times has a source in Indiana Republican Party Chairman Jeff Cardwell, who says that he was contacted by people at the Republican National Committee and told to cancel a planned trip to Cleveland for a RNC meeting on Tuesday so he can be sure to attend a joint Trump/Pence rally in Indianapolis.
Third, the Trump/Pence rally is a late addition to the schedule. It was originally going to be nothing more than a high-priced fundraiser.
The Trump-Pence fundraiser already was a big deal, with tickets are going from $2,700 to $250,000. But its scheduled date falling so close to the July 18-21 Republican National Convention here was being interpreted by some political observers as ideal for a possible VP announcement by the party’s presumptive presidential nominee.
The last bit of tea leaf-reading comes from remarks that Trump made last week at an appearance with Newt Gingrich. Trump assured the crowd that Gingrich would serve in some capacity in his administration, which many interpreted to mean that he won’t be Trump’s running mate.
If Trump truly is planning to make the announcement prior to the convention, then tomorrow’s rally would be a logical time to do it. It’s less clear what he thinks Gov. Pence can bring to the table.
Pence has the countenance of a humorless boarding school headmaster, and to call him a moral scold would be putting it mildly. His hostility to homosexuality is off the charts. Take a look at the following bullet points from Pence’s Agenda for the 107th Congress (typos in original):
• Congress should oppose any effort to recognize homosexual’s as a “discreet and insular minority” entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities.
• Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.
As a political question, the problem here is not so much that Pence’s record is offensive to the LGBT community as it is offensive to the entire Millennial generation and many more people besides. Even the business community wants nothing to do with Pence’s version of social conservatism.
After Gov. Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law on March 26th of last year, concern that it would allow discrimination against gays and lesbians was so intense that Salesforce.com and Angie’s List announced they would halt plans to expand in the state. The NCAA threatened to boycott Indiana for future basketball tournaments, and several mayors restricted business travel by city employees to the Hoosier State. Pence initially defended the law and said he wouldn’t change it, but by April 2, 2015, he felt compelled to sign follow-up legislation to try to reassure people that it wouldn’t sanction discrimination. Many people feel that the revised legislation still didn’t go far enough.
No one who followed Pence’s congressional career should have been surprised by his extremism as governor. He had served as the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, an organization known for its radicalism. He actually joined the Tea Party Caucus, an assembly of loons that was chaired by the certifiably crazy Michele Bachmann of Minnesota.
Pence called on Congress to pass a bill called the Child Custody Protection Act which would have required parental notification if a minor wanted to obtain any “contraceptive drugs or devices” at any Title X funded clinic. We saw what happened to Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock’s Senate campaign four years ago when he insisted that pregnancies resulting from rape and incest were gifts from God that should not be terminated. We know what happens when a victim of incest needs parental consent to get contraception. These are not popular or even acceptable beliefs about women’s rights or human sexuality.
If Pence is actually selected as Trump’s running mate, we’ll get into his full record, which is nutty and extreme on economic and foreign policy matters, too. But, for now, I’m just trying to figure out how Pence could conceivably help Trump in any way.
If Trump is using the same theory of the case that McCain used in picking Sarah Palin, that it was necessary to shore up weak support from the Christian conservative base, then we already saw that this is a losing strategy.
Selecting Pence will drive responsible business leaders even further into Clinton’s camp. It will severely alienate women and moderates on social issues. Millennials will flee in panic. And, once the press picks over Pence’s congressional record, any reassurance that Trump will have a steady hand to deal with Congress will be completely undermined.
Pence has actual negative charisma, so he won’t win over anyone by being smart or funny or charming.
He has executive experience, which is valuable, but his first term as governor has done little more than create a giant stain on Indiana’s national reputation.
Of course, if the alternatives are Newt Gingrich, Chris Christie, and Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III of Alabama, then Pence starts to look a little better.
Still, this selection doesn’t make any sense.
Christina Cauterucci writes at Slate today, Mike Pence fits right in with Donald Trump’s anti-woman worldview:
Trump has reputedly chosen a political figure known for his active hostility toward women and his support for legislation that puts political symbolism ahead of the public good. Pence drew heated criticism from his constituents and people around the country last year for supporting a notorious “religious freedom” law that legalized discrimination against LGBTQ people. When pressed about the explicitly anti-gay intentions of the law’s creators, Pence claimed he couldn’t understand how a simple law about religious liberty could write discrimination into his state’s legal code.
This year’s evidence of Pence’s radical obstinacy is his backing of HB 1337, an extreme anti-abortion bill he signed into law in March. (It was supposed to go into effect at the end of June, but a U.S. District Court judge granted a preliminary injunction as Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky challenge the law in court.) The law prohibits abortions sought because of the sex of the fetus, a ban that’s bad for women, based on racist stereotypes of Asian-Americans, and likely unconstitutional. It also prohibits doctors from performing an abortion sought for reasons of fetal abnormality or disability, like a Down Syndrome diagnosis.
These are basically unenforceable provisions—how could anyone prove a woman was having an abortion for one reason and not another?—which makes their true purpose clear: shaming women, discouraging them from seeking reproductive care, and forcing them to move forward with potentially dangerous pregnancies. They also have the potential to make doctors profile their patients based on race and view them with suspicion, since a doctor would risk state prosecution or being sued for wrongful death if she or he violated these bans.
That’s not the end of it: HB 1337 requires that women visit a clinic to listen to their fetus’s heartbeat via ultrasound, then go home and come back at least 18 hours later for the actual abortion. It also makes women pay to cremate or bury the fetal tissue that results from her abortion.
Even the most conservative Indiana lawmakers thought HB 1337 went too far. “Today is a perfect example of a bunch of middle-aged guys sitting in this room making decisions about what we think is best for women,” state Rep. Sean Eberhart, a self-described “pro-life as they come” Republican, told the Associated Press. “The bill does nothing to save innocent lives,” said Republican state Rep. Sharon Negele, who once sponsored a bill enacting new restrictions on Planned Parenthood. “There’s no education, there’s no funding. It’s just penalties.”
Pence disagreed, calling the bill “an important step in protecting the unborn.” “I sign this legislation with a prayer that God would continue to bless these precious children, mothers and families,” he said when he signed it into law.
Abortion policies too extreme for even the anti-abortion crowd? Sounds familiar.
* * *
[In choosing] Pence as a running mate, Trump won’t be doing anything to disabuse voters of the impression that he’s a woman-hating egomaniac without even the slightest idea of how women live, what’s important to them, and the struggles they face. Pence has proven that he prefers religious ramblings to humane, fact-based policy, especially when it comes at the expense of women and LGBTQ people.
In one sense, Pence seems like a horrible choice for Trump. Pence’s own state can’t even stand him: A poll published last November gave the governor a 47 percent approval rating, a 15-point drop from the months before his blabbering over the “religious freedom” bill. But Pence’s shot at the vice presidency makes perfect sense when viewed through the lens of gender in general and abortion in particular. No one with a healthy perspective on women’s rights would be caught dead on the dais with the likes of Donald Trump.
That’s similar to what the editors of the Washington Post said above: “only desperate, unprincipled panderers would consider joining [Trump’s] ticket.”