A Trump-Pence Ticket?
NBC News reports that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is being considered for Trump’s running mate:
Those inside the Trump campaign are also looking at Pence because of his resume. Before running for governor in 2012, Pence had served 12 years in the U.S. House. For part of that time, he was the head of the House Republican Conference — number four in the party’s House leadership, and he also worked for ten of those years on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Pence, a man with a calm but warm demeanor, is also not new to the media circuit — he had, for years, his own syndicated radio talk show and a Sunday TV program in the Hoosier state.
There also may be reason for Pence to take the chance at the national level. He is up for his own gubernatorial re-election this November, squaring off in a rematch against the Democrat he faced four years ago and beat by just three percentage points.
In sharp contrast with Christie and Gingrich, Pence would be a solid choice to be Trump’s VP nominee. He has both relevant executive and Congressional experience, and he has no obvious personal or political baggage that I’m aware of. He is arguably better qualified to be president than either of the major party nominees this year, and is probably better prepared than Romney or Ryan were four years ago. He isn’t especially popular at home, so the VP slot would offer him a way to give up on his re-election bid. If that is the plan, he has until July 15 to withdraw his name from the ballot.
Pence’s foreign policy is unsurprisingly hawkish, so he doesn’t help Trump at all on those issues. He voted for the 2002 Iraq war authorization, and generally backed Bush’s foreign policy while in Congress. I doubt that adding him to the ticket delivers any states that Trump wasn’t already going to win, but choosing him would represent more of a break with the Bush years on domestic issues than any other available choice. Pence was notable in his House career for voting against major pieces of legislation supported by Bush (e.g., Medicare Part D), and unlike many of his colleagues from that time he can point to a mostly fiscally conservative voting record.
Trump could do a lot worse than to choose Pence, and given his limited options I don’t know that there is anyone who would be a better choice. That raises the question: why would Pence want to be Trump’s running mate? That would make him the VP nominee on what is likely to be one of the least successful Republican tickets in living memory, and it would burn his bridges with a lot of people in the GOP. If Pence ever has any aspirations for higher office, joining Trump as the VP nominee would seem a good way of making sure that never happens.