Donald Trump has become the Republican nominee for president of the United States. A year ago that was considered an impossibility. No one, Republican or Democrat, thought that someone like Trump would have been able to emerge from political nothingness and grip the reigns of a major political party. But take the reigns he did and the Republican party establishment went kicking and screaming throughout the entire process.
Following the withdrawal of Senator Ted Cruz after his defeat in the Indiana primary, Republicans, who were once faced with the possibility of Trump nomination, were now given the reality of it. It had become a choice for them: support Trump or abstain and hand Hillary the presidency. Enter Indiana Governor, Mike Pence.
Due to the workings of the primary process for both parties, each candidate usually represents the extremes of each party. The VP pick is chosen to help calm the fears of the Independents and more moderate voters. Barack Obama, who had the track record of being the most liberal senator, chose Joe Biden due to his calm demeanor and ability to work well with the other party. But this is not a typical election year by any stretch of the imagination and Trump, whose appeal to that “silent majority” of Americans, has already seen his message resonate with all manner of voters. For example, Cuyahoga County, which is in the battleground state of Ohio and a typical Democratic stronghold, held just over 356,000 registered Democrats in the month prior to its state’s primary in 2012. Four years later, that same county has just over 165,000 registered Democrats. This is not only a testament to Trump’s promises to bring back industrial jobs to the Rust belt states but also to the anger of the blue-collar Democrats who have suffered under seven years of Obama’s economic policies.
Therefore, the pick of Mike Pence was less about reaching out to moderates as it was about appealing to the base of the party. The two men are near polar opposites. Trump is a loud, bombastic New Yorker who is very used to getting his way, while Pence is a mild-mannered Mid-westerner. Trump leads a very lavish lifestyle and has, in the past, supported Democratic policies. Pence comes from a humble, Christian background and has always been a strong conservative. During the primary, Pence was a critic of Trump as well as a supporter of Trump’s rival, Cruz. But, like is often the case when the primaries end, polar opposites become complementary strengths.
Despite Trump’s success with being an outsider candidate, there are those voters who still value experience. Mike Pence brings that experience to the table. With having spent twelve years in Congress and several more years as Indiana’s governor, Pence will certainly have a better chance of working with lawmakers in order to pass some of Trump’s heavier policies such as immigration reform. As governor, Pence also has worked to balance his state’s budget and pass much needed tax reforms. This would certainly complement Trump’s business prowess to help reduce America’s debt and create more domestic jobs.
Most importantly, as VP, Pence will support Trump. They, of course, have differing opinions. But ultimately, Mike Pence and Donald Trump are on the same page. This is an important factor to achieve the party unity that will be necessary to defeat Hillary Clinton come November. With the collected behavior as well as the experience that Pence will bring to the ticket, Trump will be free to continue to display his bold and aggressive tone that has brought so many to the voting booths for him already. The combination of Pence’s “ordinary” with Trump’s “Trumpness” may just be the right mix to help the Republicans regain the White House in 2016.
Charles Crawford is a Contributing Columnist for the Central Florida Future.