Pence Steady Amid the Chaos

Indiana governor has proven a relentless retail politician and a GOP unifier

In a packed town hall meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, Tuesday, GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence took the stage and made his case for Donald Trump. He dissected the failed domestic and foreign policies of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton with bravado and ease. From the negative effects on the middle class to the rise of ISIS, Pence brought the crowd to its feet numerous times as he systematically repudiated the tired liberal agenda of the past eight years.

Pence emphatically stated the “Democrats [have] nominated someone who symbolizes everything Americans are tired of.” It is a powerful moment of retail politics, authenticity, and a biting critique of Clinton that has been replaying itself at dozens of rallies across the country.

The Republican ticket has given holdouts in the Republican Party reason to be excited — and Secret service code name “Hoosier” is steadily winning over crowds in cities and towns Trump will need to win.

Pence spoke glowingly of his interactions with Donald Trump: “He’s constantly asking people questions; not the pollsters and the pundits. He’s always talking to taxi cab drivers and elevator operators; he goes to the loading dock instead of the lobby and makes sure people are getting things done … He has that connection to the American people that is rare,” Pence said. “He knows the boundless potential of each individual.” After his speech, Pence respectfully took questions, thanking audience members for braving the rain.

The steady presence of Pence on the campaign trail is precisely why Trump chose the staid smooth talker as his running mate. A solid Midwestern presence, with an attractive radio voice, Pence provides a steady counter to the hard charging and dynamic Trump. Pence’s Midwestern common sense jives with Trump’s no-nonsense jobs and anti-terrorism message and his charismatic and striking appearance appeals to women.

Amid the ever-present efforts of the media to drive a wedge between Republicans over Trump, and the sometimes all-too-cooperative statements from GOP elites, Pence is a constant force for unity.

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The Indiana governor has helped to cobble together two sides of the party that Trump sorely needs: those disaffected by the disloyalty of Ted Cruz and the Paul Ryan Wall Street Journal crowd. It is not forgotten on voters, observers, or the men themselves that Ryan gave a glowing introduction to Pence before his speech and Pence endorsed Cruz in the Indiana primary.

In a 2012 speech before leaving Congress to become governor of Indiana, Pence referred to values even Cruz and Ryan supporters can admire  “a strong national defense, limited government, economic freedom, and the moral foundations of this nation.”

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Ted Cruz took the low road at the convention, but his good friend Mike Pence consistently refers to Trump as a good man and worthy of the office. He cites Trump’s successful family as a major reason he chose to accept the vice presidential nomination, and you “can’t fake kids.” Unlike Cruz, Pence recognizes the once-in-a-lifetime gifts and private sector experience that will make Trump a fantastic president.

In a 2016 speech summarizing his work in Indiana, Mike Pence reported that “jobs, the economy, schools, roads and confronting drug abuse … are my priorities.” It’s worth noting that Indiana is consistently rated in the top 10 states for business, the unemployment rate fell over 3 percent during the last 4 years, 34,000 fewer people are on unemployment benefits, and they’ve added 140,000 new jobs during Pence’s tenure. Unlike the unsympathetic Cruz, who thinks every campaign speech is before the Supreme Court, Gov. Pence recognizes his audience and has quickly become a favorite on the campaign trail. He received loud applause for his remarks in both Winston-Salem and Roanoke, North Carolina, the Monday after the convention.

Pence boasts a formidable resume himself, having attended the University of Indiana for law school and working in private practice before his stint in public service. To some, it might be argued that Cruz forced Trump to recognize that he needs a solid conservative to win in November. In any case, the Republican ticket has given holdouts in the Republican party reason to be excited  and Secret Service code name “Hoosier” is steadily winning over crowds in cities and towns Trump will need to win.

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