Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has announced that his running mate will be Indiana’s Tea Party Governor, Mike Pence. The notorious homophobe, who is currently facing a “tossup” rough reelection battle against Democrat John Gregg, is has conservative credentials but not the baggage of a Chris Christie or a Newt Gingrich, the other two candidates in consideration for the unenviable position.
He’d be valuable to Trump as he is well-liked among establishment Republicans on Capitol Hill and is popular with the legislative terrorist group that calls themselves the “Freedom Caucus.” This would give Trump a little more bargaining power, as he is received tepidly at best by Washington Republicans.
Policy-wise, Pence is a cookie-cutter Tea Party Republican. Pence began his career in the House of Representatives, where he voted for the Iraq War and against withdrawing our troops, but the “family values” conservative refuses to accept Syrian refugees fleeing the conflict that that war ignited. He also once compared the signing of the Affordable Care Act to the 9/11 terror attacks.
The homophobia which would make him a nationally despised figure reared its foul head during his House career, when he declared that “Congress should oppose any effort to recognize homosexual’s [sic] as a ‘discreet [sic] and insular minority’ entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities.” He also fought against providing anti-HIV federal funds, instead advocating that that federal money be spent on traumatizing pseudoscientific “gay conversion therapy.” Pence’s rabid intolerance of LGBT Americans was made clear last summer, when he signed the state’s
“religious liberty” institutionalized LGBT discrimination bill and prompted a national boycott of his state, losing billions of dollars in business.
Pence’s religious extremism extends to women as well. He has signed some of the most draconian anti-abortion laws in the country, including one that bans abortions of fetuses with a “lethal fetal anomaly” like Down Syndrome and orders fetal remains to be buried or cremated, which prompted the “Periods For Pence” campaign in which tens of thousands of women to barrage his office with phone calls telling him about their periods. “Good Morning. I just wanted to inform the Governor that things seem to be drying up today. No babies seem to be up in there. Okay?” said one woman, who identified herself as Sue Magina. Pence was trying to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood as far back as 2011, way before the ridiculous edited video “scandal.”
Far from bringing any kind of moderation or rationality to the Trump ticket, the choice of Pence only pushes the platform further to the right. The Republican Party has declared that their platform this year will be bigotry and discrimination on all levels – and we cannot allow them to bring this kind of division to the White House.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.