Since the headlines over the past fortnight regarding the US Presidential Election have been, to a large extent, solely focused on the nominees of the two major parties in the US themselves and the party conventions, Donald Trump for the Republicans and Hillary Clinton for the Democrats. I’ve decided to publish a short profile for those of you who don’t know too much about Trump’s Vice Presidential pick, Indiana Governor Mike Pence.
With a background of lowering taxes as State Governor of Indiana, support for traditional Social Conservative policies which are still popular among core GOP voters, and a history of supporting the Tea Party Movement, Mike Pence’s nomination to run as Trump’s Vice Presidential candidate serves as a reassurance to those in the Republican Party who have doubts regarding Trump’s Conservative credentials.
The addition of someone who has been described by some in the US media as ‘the most Conservative candidate on a presidential ticket for the Republican Party in 40 years’ will most likely bring on board those who previously saw, and may still see Trump’s views as inconsistent with traditional Conservative GOP stances.
As a result of Mike Pence’s economic policies during his time as Governor of the State of Indiana, the State has been transformed into one of the most business friendly in the United States, partly due to the low corporation taxes and other measures Mr. Pence enacted as Governor. Many Americans, once looking at Pence’s record as Governor of Indiana could find themselves giving Trump the benefit of the doubt since the Indiana Governor, as well as holding experience in his current position as Governor, also has 12 years of experience serving in the US House of Representatives.
Those on the Republican side who have been critical of Trump for his lack of experience within the US political system could now be more at ease with the Presidential ticket seeing that it includes Governor Pence, an experienced Conservative politician, popular with the grassroots GOP and Tea Party Movement not only in Indiana but across America. Whilst serving as a Congressman, in his final two years he chaired the Republican House Conference, which, in terms of seniority is the third highest position a Republican politician can attain.
However, there are a few challenges which Mike Pence may have to address whilst running as Trump’s Vice Presidential Candidate. The decisions of Socially Liberal swing voters may, potentially to the disadvantage of Trump/Pence, be swayed by Pence’s decision as Governor of Indiana to sign into State Law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which gave businesses the right to refuse service to customers based on the religious beliefs of the owner. For example, if a gay or lesbian couple were to walk into a bakery in Indiana and request for a wedding cake be made for their wedding or civil service, the business could openly refuse due to the rights awarded to them as part of Indiana’s RFRA. But, as a result of national pressure and a media hype surrounding the controversial law, Governor Pence decided to sign an amendment to the law which stated that businesses were to be prohibited from discriminating against gay/lesbian people. Perhaps this could redeem his reputation among socially liberal swing voters in the States.
There also lies the strict abortion laws which have been set into place by Pence during his time as Governor of Indiana. Although these will be met with enthusiasm by core traditional Socially Conservative Republican voters, they may not appeal to the moderate swing voters who will ultimately decide this Presidential election in November.
As Governor of Indiana, Pence also abolished the inheritance tax on estates, which was met with the delight of many Indianan families. There was also the largest income tax cut which was achieved by Pence, which enabled individuals and families to save more of their hard-earned money to spend, therefore boosting Indiana’s economy even further. This could potentially appeal to many swing voters on a national scale, as people will expect that if elected Vice President, Pence could influence Trump to implement similar tax policies to those implemented during his time as Governor of Indiana, which could potentially mean lower taxes on a federal scale.
Overall, Governor Mike Pence, in my opinion, has the legislative experience informally required of a candidate who is seeking to become Vice President of the United States. His Conservative record proves that he is to be relied upon for consistency, and his success in transforming the State of Indiana’s economy into one which is vibrant and widely perceived as business friendly is an encouraging addition to his list of credentials.