We knew Trump’s pick would not remain a secret until tomorrow morning. And right on cue, reports are out that he will be selecting Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to be his running mate.
There were differing opinions inside the Trump campaign on who he should pick. People like Paul Manafort were pushing hard for Pence, while members of Trump’s family were pushing hard for Newt Gingrich. Looks like the campaign veterans won the argument.
As I mentioned yesterday, of the names on Trump’s shortlist, Pence was the safest of them all. Unlike Gingrich and Christie, Pence is not bombastic or one who will compete for the “alpha dog” role on the ticket. He also has the Washington experience Trump has been looking for, having been a Congressman before taking office as Governor.
There are potential drawbacks, however. Pence was locked in a close re-election battle in a conservative state before being selected for the ticket, and he is best known for his controversial signing of a “religious freedom” bill into law last year, which basically allowed business owners to discriminate against the LGBT community.
One thing this does not show is the GOP’s willingness to appeal to younger or more moderate voters. It is almost as if the post-2012 autopsy was never drafted.
Social conservatives will be happy with the selection, but it is unclear if the Republican voters who are already wary of Trump will be excited or have their concerns assuaged by Pence being on the ticket; and it is hard to imagine Trump picking up a large number of millennial, i.e. Bernie Sanders, voters with this pick.
Either way, this should generate some decent press for Trump at a time when his opponent, Hillary Clinton, is dropping a bit in the polls, and will carry him into next weeks convention in Cleveland where he will accept the party nomination. The question is will he take advantage of it?
Despite the polls tightening, Trump’s level of support has not moved very much. This means the narrowing of the race is more the result of a bad media week for Clinton, not voters moving towards Trump.
Put it this way, if Trump is still polling in around the low 40’s in two weeks, he might be in some trouble. He needs a significant bump in the polls. We’ll see if an upward trajectory begins with his selection of Pence.