This election season has seen the majority of Americans recoil in horror at the things coming out of Donald Trump’s mouth — either on stage, on Twitter or just about anywhere he’s heard. He’s putting a face to all of the problems that exist in America, from racism to lack of respect for and proper treatment of women. What fewer people are talking about how Mike Pence, his running mate, shares these views. But Pence could easily be the one handling much of the day-to-day were Trump to win.
On July 15, Trump officially chose the Indiana Governor as his running mate. This was after Pence was turned down by others on the VP invite, including John Kasich. Trump had actually offered Kasich the opportunity to be in charge of domestic and foreign policy. That certainly suggests that Trump doesn’t have much interest in making policy — better known as nearly his entire job. Given that, the Vice Presidential candidate Trump chose makes a big difference.
Obviously, Pence is a conservative. The American Conservative Union gave him a 100 percent rating, while NARAL Pro-Choice America gave him a 0 percent rating. Indiana is a conservative state, so it makes some sense — except when I tell you that he was reviled in the state for his actions and policies.
In May of 2016 Pence had an approval rating around 40 percent in Indiana, mainly due to his extremely conservative positions on abortion and LGBTQ rights. Pence supported adding a ban on same-sex marriage to the Indiana state constitution, while most in the state did not agree with the policy. That idea was shot down. But this was not the only issue where Pence and the people of Indiana — who elected them to act on their behalf — butted heads.
Pence also voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would have protected the LGBTQ community from discrimination in the workplace. According to The Atlantic, this was because Pence said the bill “wages war on freedom of religion in the workplace.”
In 2012 the voters of Indiana voted in democrat Glenda Ritz as the superintendent of public instruction. She campaigned against a much more conservative candidate and was the only Democrat holding office in the conservative state. Pence had his own agenda, and after Ritz was elected he started an agency he put in charge of education. Pence pulled an application to receive roughly $80 million in federal funding that would have gone to schools in Indiana. Widely disagreed with by the people of Indiana, this money was from President Obama’s Race to the Top program. Pence did not want to be seen as siding with Obama.
Pence had also passed one of the country’s most strict and repugnant anti-abortion laws, HEA 1337. The bill makes a number of reprehensible policies, including:
- A mandate to bury or cremate the remains of aborted fetuses
- Prohibiting abortions on the grounds of race, sex or disability of the fetus
- Punishing doctors who perform an abortion based on the sex or disability of the fetus
- Disclosing abortion providers back-up physicians and hospital admission agreements
This is a man who turned his back on those who elected him and made decisions that were either aligned with his beliefs or to his benefit. It’s clear that following the conservative path got him to the top of the party and a nomination for Vice President.
Many Americans are aware of the real dangers Trump presents as a candidate for President of the United States of America. But it’s important to look at the damage Pence could do, too.
Pence will debate Hillary Clinton’s Vice Presidential nominee, Tim Kaine, tonight.