Who the hell is Mike Pence?

Trump takes a gamble by naming Pence as his running mate

According to multiple sources, Trump has signaled he will pick Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana as his running mate in his bid for President.

What started out as a huge anticipation as to who The Donald would choose as his right-hand man, has become a widespread Google search with everyone in America going, “Who?”

Seriously, who is this guy?

Well, aside from the obvious (he’s a governor from Indiana), we did a little research on the presumptive VP nominee.

After graduating from Hanover College, Pence earned his J.D. from Indiana University in 1986.  He worked as an attorney in private practice and had a career in talk radio before being elected to the House of Representatives in 2000.

While in Congress, Pence served as the chairman of the Republican Study Committee and was a member of the House Republican Economic Recovery Working Group.  Some of his most notable actions in Congress were supporting the Iraq War, pushing for increased border security, staunchly supporting Israel, defending Don’t ask, don’t tell and opposing same-sex marriages and civil unions.

Pence has been Governor of Indiana since 2013.  As Governor, he has proposed a state-run, tax-funded news service for the citizens of Indiana and signed a number of conservative bills into law.

Governor Pence is arguably one of the most conservative leaders in the country.  It’s no surprise Trump has chosen him; it’s a good idea to unify the GOP against Hillary.

But is he too far-right?  Is he a turn-off for undecided voters?  Could the former celebrity even lose votes with this decision?  Let’s see who Mike Pence really is, and what he stands for.

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Governor Pence and his wife, Karen


In 2015, Pence proposed a state-sponsored news service for the people of Indiana.  The outlet, labeled “JustIN,” was meant to be overseen by a former reporter from the Indianapolis Star, and was intended to provide media services and news to smaller publications with limited staff.  The proposal never came to be.

Critics have compared JustIN to state-run news services in China and North Korea, stating it would release pro-administration stories favoring Pence.  The publisher of the Portland Commercial Review called the proposal a “ludicrous idea” and condemned the notion that elected officials should present stories and news as fact.

LGBT issues

Pence is apparently one of the most outspoken opponents of gay rights in the US.  Not only does the Governor oppose same-sex marriages and gays serving in the military, but he is against hate crime legislation that defends LGBT community members from discrimination.  Oh, and you remember that controversial “Religious Freedom” law that allows discrimination against same-sex couples?  Yeah, Pence signed that into law.

“I believe marriage is the union between one man and one woman,” Pence said after the Supreme Court ruling.  “I am disappointed that the Supreme Court failed to recognize the historic role of the states in setting marriage policy in this country.”

It’s safe to say Trump has all but lost the LGBT vote with this guy.

Economic policies

Pence will no doubt tout Indiana’s recovery from the Great Recession.  But was it him that improved his state’s economy?

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Indiana’s economy improved at a slower rate the rest of the US, trailing the national cumulative growth rate by a whole percentage point at the end of 2015.  The state also has the 35th-lowest household wage in the country.

Nevertheless, Indiana has seen solid job growth with a light tax burden.  It’s up for debate as to how much credit Pence deserves for his state’s success, but there’s no doubt President Obama’s recovery packages played a key role in the economic comeback.

“It’s time to stop the raid on the Social Security trust fund and start allowing Americans to invest their Social Security taxes in personal savings accounts,” Pence said in explaining his economic policies.

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Pence discusses plans for an I-69 bridge with Kentucky Gov. Matt Belvin

Foreign policy

Trump’s presumptive VP nominee was an avid supporter of the Iraq War and opposed a public withdrawal date from the warfront.  In recent events, he has opposed closing Guantanamo Bay detention camp and has stated that the Obama administration “must overturn this wrongheaded decision.”

He has also called Israel “America’s most cherished ally,” and has supported Israel’s use of deadly force in Gaza.

The verdict

The GOP presidential nominee may have secured his conservative base by choosing the Governor, but he’s taking a big risk.  Trump trails Clinton in national polls, and he needs to win over moderates in order to become the next President.  He’ll need to play his cards right and hope for a little luck if he wants the far-right politician from Indiana to help him get the “middle ground.”