Update: Trump’s campaign is denying that Pence has been given the nod.
The media is buzzing with the news that Mike Pence is going to be Trump’s vice presidential running mate:
“Donald J. Trump’s campaign has signaled strongly to Republicans in Washington that he will pick Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana, as his running mate, though Republicans caution the party’s mercurial presidential candidate may still backtrack on his apparent choice.
Mr. Trump’s advisers have told national Republican officials that they are preparing to make an announcement with Mr. Pence, according to three people with knowledge of the conversations, who were not authorized to discuss them publicly. His campaign has said that it will unveil a running mate for Mr. Trump in New York on Friday.
Mr. Pence, a former congressman and radio host, emerged over the last week as the strong favorite of Mr. Trump’s political advisers and senior officials in the Republican Party. …”
A few thoughts:
1.) The VP pick is the biggest card Trump has left to play. It is largely a symbolic office. I have always assumed that Trump would pick a “TruConservative” for a running mate.
2.) In the present contest, it would be negligent for Trump not to use the VP pick to appease the “TruConservative” faction that has been the most opposed to him in the primaries. Party unity matters more right now than making a bold statement about building a nationalist party that would make his Alt-Right fans happy.
3.) In the primaries, Trump’s biggest weakness within the Republican Party was clearly in the Midwest and Interior West, which overwhelmingly supported Ted Cruz. It is also easy to see why Trump’s brash Northeastern persona failed to resonate in states like Iowa, Utah, and Wisconsin.
4.) Trump has a big problem with certain types of White voters: conservative ideologues, church going evangelicals, college educated White voters, and suburban women. Collectively, this is the “Midwestern niceness” problem that manifests in Trump’s weakness in places like suburban Milwaukee and Columbus.
5.) I’ve said for months now that the outcome of the general election will hinge on how Trump performs with this swath of the White electorate. Trump will win or lose based on how he does in places like suburban Milwaukee, Des Moines and Philadelphia.
If the reports are accurate, Trump weighed his options and picked Mike Pence to address this weakness. I don’t like the guy who is only known nationally for waffling on Indiana’s religious freedom bill. I can understand his reasoning though. I think it was the right choice and that he could have done a lot worse.