So its Mike Pence the sitting Governor of Indiana. The media are just reporting a leaked story that its Pence. Donald Trump has finally made his VP selection. Lets start with the vast lost opportunities. Trump is behind in the gender gap. He is facing the largest gender gap ever measured on polling between the two choices for President. Did he pick a woman? No, Pence is obviously a man. What about minority support. Trump has the worst measured support among Hispanics of any candidate on either side. Trump polling percentage with Hispanics is down in the teens. He could have picked a Hispanic. No. Pence is obviously not Hispanic. Trump has an even worse demographic shortfall with black voters. Two local polls in Pennsylvania and Ohio just found Trump with literally zero percent support among black voters. This is unprecedented in how bad it is. Trump could have picked a black Veep. Pence is white. Trump also faces an age gap. He could have picked a young Veep to try to appeal to the youth voters. Pence is 57 years old. The Trump-Pence ticket probably has the highest combined age of any ticket in US election history. As I just put on Twitter, its the Grumpy Old Men Ticket.
So understand, he had better choices. He could have picked a woman AND minority AND youth candidate, like say South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley or Nevada Governor Susana Martinez. He could have taken two of the three target demographics, with say Former Secretary of State Condi Rice (black and woman but not young) or Marco Rubio (Hispanic and young but a man) or Ted Cruz (another Hispanic and young but a man). Instead Trump selected a candidate who does nothing to help with ANY demographic shortfall - each of which for Trump is at historically bad levels.
Did Trump pick up a key battleground state? No. Indiana is not a battleground. If Indiana ends up in play, it means Trump has already lost the election and Hillary Clinton is fighting whether she wins by 10 points or 15 points. That is the level when Indiana starts to be in play. Now, what of alternatives? John Kasich, an older white man similar to Pence, is the popular Governor of Ohio and would have all-but-guaranteed a Republican victory in the critical battleground state. Governor Rick Scott of Florida, a younger white man than Pence would have probably won Florida, another critical battleground state. Marco Rubio would have put Florida at least in play and possibly helped win it. Governor Scott Walker yet another white middle-aged man of Wisconsin would at least have brought Wisconsin into the game and could have won his home state, another battleground state.
If you asked Democrats who would they most fear as a pairing, about two months ago, when the table was relatively open (before several said they will not want to be on the ticket with Trump) they’d probably list among the most dangerous pairings for Trump to be Trump-Martinez, Trump-Rice, Trump-Haley, Trump-Kasich and Trump-Rubio. Each of these would have gone a long way to ADDING voters to Trump, taking from the middle, making it far harder for Hillary and her ticket to win. A Mike Pence Vice President is close to the best possible wish the Democrats have had (arguably Newt Gingrich was the ultimate hope of simply two very white and rich and bigoted, arrogant Dirty Rotten Scroundels).
There is one voter demographic that finds Mike Pence appealing, it is the religious right. Pence pushed through and signed the ‘religious freedom’ law which made it legal to discriminate against gays in Indiana. That was then faced with fierce national push-back by all sorts of companies and organizations and Pence was forced to revoke the law. That push-back also killed Pences’s chances to run for President. A loser. Exactly the type of person Trump would look for in a Veep.
But the religious voters do love Pence for that act. He at least tried. So Trump would gain support from this slice of Republican voters. Note, they are VERY strongly base Republican voters, most of whom are already onboard Trump’s train and the rest that all pundits had already counted, would be coming home to Trump anyway. Especially as the gays and abortion-lovers are all in Camp Hillary. Trump should never have had to try to SECURE the support of the religious right. Just giving his ultra-religious pals like Jerry Falwell Jr, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Michelle Bachmann prominent speaking slots on the convention would have brought most of his religious voters home. Yes, Pence does deliver this one voter segment but most of it was Republican to begin with, many were already onboard with Trump, and the last who were not (who now will pick Trump) they were among the 20% undecideds - that were already FACTORED in to eventually migrate to Trump just like most undecided Bernie Sanders supporters will come home to support Hillary. Trump could have gained one, two or even possibly three demographics from the MIDDLE to help him win. Instead, he wasted his VP pick on Pence.
Does Pence win Trump with the National Security crowd who are in the middle, moderates (like say Condi Rice would have). No of course not. What about the business wing of the party, also in the middle. Moderates? (..if alleged Billionaire and supposedly solvent and self-proclaimedly successful ‘businessman’ Donald Trump in gold letters, has not won over the business wing, nobody will). Of course not. How about the modest-size Libertarian wing who is lukewarm to Trump and who have their rival candidate in Johnson? No of course not, Pence is the epitome of anti-Libertarian bathroom police nonsense the Libertarians hate.
But he’s a Midwestern sitting Governor. Surely that will help in the battles for Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota. Really? Those are MODERATE states that tend to lean blue, not red. Pence is a highly divisive Governor who only won by under 3% and didn’t get to 50% of the vote, in a 3-way race in his only Governor election (he would be up for re-election now but cannot run on both tickets, so the Republicans of Indiana have to get a new candidate to run). That was before his severely conservative agenda that has alienated many of his voters, damaged his state, and has his popularity in the toilet right now. In May his popularity was measured at 40%. This guy to be ‘popular’ in neighboring states that are less red? Me thinks not.
Those racists and extremists, under-educated white older male voters who loved Trump in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin etc, they have already discovered their man. The rest hate Trump. Putting disliked Pence next to Trump will not help Trump win those states. A MODERATE Governor like Kasich or Christie would have helped. Not an extremist like Pence. Trump already has that end of the electorate cornered.
What Pence will do, is he will move some national polling into Trump’s favor (to a moderate degree, taking mostly from undecideds, rarely from Hillary) but this will be counterbalanced and possibly hidden in the noise that is tumbling the polling now (Conventions, Hillary’s VP pick, and Bernie’s endorsement). But the point is - those voters will be in RED STATES and among religious voters. Trump’s performance will improve in Oklahoma, Alabama, North Dakota etc. Those are states Trump will win anyway. He was in no danger there. If we see some improvement nationally in Trump's polling after Pence is on the ticket, that national polling is reflected in RED states. What Pence spectacularly fails to do, is to help Trump win in the middle, in the purple states, and among Independent and moderate voters. The moderates do not like him and the more they learn of him and hear him speak, the more they will hate this ticket. Pence is a typical conservative who is against most populist positions that American voters want in 2016 like minimum wage, gun control, equal pay, environmental controls etc. Then Pence helps energize women (if that was needed) against this ticket because of the severe anti-abortion stands he’s taken. Meanwhile he will activate the LGBT community to lead a minority voter revolt against Pence because of the ‘religious freedom’ ie anti-gays legislation he pushed for and signed in a lavish press event.
A NICE LITTLE NAZI
So then what of Mr Mike Pence? He is a Tea Party member. He has never seen a war he didn’t love. He voted for the Iraq war. He paraded in Iraq claiming the area was peaceful when John McCain had arranged a huge defensive force to keep that area quiet for the press event (oh, its THAT guy, yeah..). But his perhaps most cute idea was an official Indiana Government propaganda media channel, like Russia Today is for Putin. A formal Indiana government propaganda vehicle, paid of course, by taxpayer dollars, to celebrate how great a Governor Pence was. That was ridiculed even by most conservatives and eventually the idea was killed. When the USA took in Syrian refugees Pence tried to block them from coming to Indiana (but was unsuccessful). As to intellect and ability, at best considered a mediocre mind if we want to be kind. He's not a moron like fellow Indianan Dan Quayle but this is no rocket scientist. What he does know, however, is to speak Republican. He knows how to sound like one of the good old boys of the rich white man's party. That is our Mike Pence. A nice little Nazi alongside David Duke's personal fave candidate Donald Trump. Yeah he'll go over real well with moderate voters... NOT! Mike Pence, duschebag, with values and beliefs wonderfully well aligned with Trump. Its like its Trump and his new MiniMe.
There is a little bit of nuance here, if Trump felt he hadn't quite hit every note in his bigoted campaign. So take women. Trump has been remarkably insulting to women yes, but he hasn't advocated hostile anti-women positions (at least, not consistently). So women may have felt that Trump sounded nasty but was still just a big pussycat. Not anymore with Pence. He has been consistently fighting against women his whole career. But Pence never really was rude towards women, he just pursued an agenda that wanted women back into the kitchen and to put abortions into the back alleys. Meanwhile the gays. Trump had been rather good at his hostility to Mexicans and Muslims and Jews (and women) but Trump seemed to have a soft spot to gays. That was one minority group that Trump had not hit particularly strongly yet. Mike Pence fixes that deficit. He's probably the one Governor most hated by the LGBT community. Good job Trump, you have managed to still prove your Campaign is ever more bigoted than what we've seen in the past 13 months.
And on a personal note - I didn't know this until I researched Pence a bit deeper now as the VP gossip got stronger. Mike Pence is one of those exceptionally despicable politician-whores who sells his beliefs for organizational killers. He has taken massive amounts of cigarette industry funding and then dares to proclaim that cigarettes don't kill. Scumbag. Go f*ck yourself and your pretend-Christian values. You are a disgrace. Mass-murderer. I will laugh really hard when you lose with Trump, Mike Pence. You are precisely why so many people hate politics.
Once again Trump has managed to not help his campaign. Did this dramatically hurt it, perhaps not much. Might be a little bit. That also gets the modest bump in national polling from the religious voters so perhaps its a wash. But consider how much stronger the ticket would have been if someone like Marco Rubio was on the trail campaigning for Trump as his VP or say Nikki Haley or Condi Rice or Susana Martinez. This was a huge wasted opportunity and it will not significantly move the race in Trump’s favor. He managed to pick a real loser. Democrats will sigh a big sigh of relief on this one.
PS Massive MASSIVE opportunity now for Hillary to pick Julian Castro as her VP and mobilize the Hispanic voter base where there is no Rubio or Martinez or Cruz on the Republican ticket.
Thank you to reader Andrea McKellar (@AMcKellar on Twitter) for spotting the error in Nikki Haley's state (obviously its South not North Carolina, now corrected)