How Terrible Would a President Pence Be?

He’s denying it, but there is widespread agreement that Vice President Mike Pence is laying the groundwork for a 2020 presidential run.

This isn’t the first time his name has been floated for the top political position in the United States. During the 2016 election Republicans discussed the possibility of dropping Trump and moving Pence to the top of the ticket when the Access Hollywood tape seemed, at long last, one indignity too many for the party and its voters.

It was floated again when Trump’s failure to put his business and financial holdings in a blind trust would mark a violation of the constitution the very second he was sworn in, and the specter of impeachment has been a recurring one (amazingly, for multiple unrelated violations by Trump), theoretically putting Pence continually within inches of ascending to the presidency.

It’s unusual for an incumbent president to be challenged by members of his own party, but the Trump administration has been anything but usual, and Pence may likewise be ignoring the usual rules. Given that the Republican majorities in both houses hold all the cards with respect to impeachment proceedings, he’s probably right to be thinking about 2020 rather than 2017.

But I do think this is someone we’re going to have to deal with eventually, in a campaign and very possibly in the office of the president. You can be a better choice than Trump and still be pretty awful. So how awful is Mike Pence exactly, and what do we have to prepare ourselves for?

PENCE ON WOMEN

Pence has said some strange things about women, including a rule to never be alone with a woman who is not his wife. It sounds almost old-fashioned and charming for maybe two seconds until you actually think about it. So he can’t have a work dinner without a chaperone and his female staff and political colleagues are limited in how they can work with him while men have full access? And just because he thinks he’s too irresistible for women to spend time with him without making a move? We have to expect more of ourselves in our workplace behavior than that, and we can’t cut off women from equal access to professional growth and promotion opportunities in order to convenience male supervisors.

This hints at a deeper problem, however, in how Pence views women, and the casual way in which he happily makes decisions that impact them while ignoring their thoughts on the issues. He has been instrumental in defunding Planned Parenthood as a new vice president, but he’s been an enemy of women’s reproductive health and rights since long before becoming Trump’s lackey. A year earlier, as governor of Indiana, Pence signed an anti-abortion bill into state law all on his own. This is a man who has his own ideas about what women need and should have and he isn’t looking for your input on it.

PENCE ON PUBLIC HEALTH

We see a similar story on public health issues. Pence has favored prison sentences over treatment for people suffering with drug addiction. The opioid crisis is rampant in low-income, small-town white America, including Indiana and a majority of the Trump/Pence electoral win. Pence is hurting his own Republican voters, past and present. That’s worth mentioning if only because this should clearly be a bipartisan issue, but Pence seems to be imagining this public health crisis as a weakness in the social fabric that can be fixed by putting enough people in jail. It’s a moral crusade for him, which means data on what has worked elsewhere aren’t going to sway his mind. He’s not out to solve a problem; he’s out to take a stand.

PENCE ON LGBTQ

He doesn’t like them.

Oh, you want more? He has a track record of blocking or opposing policies designed to prevent discrimination of LGBTQ people. He doesn’t think we should be more inclusive and less discriminatory, because he simply thinks everyone should be heterosexual and gender normative. But if you’re not, that’s okay, because while he won’t fund needle exchanges he’s happy to spend government money on conversion therapy and pray away the gay.

PENCE ON MINORITIES AND IMMIGRATION

He’s fully behind the wall, and the travel ban. Look at his history on this issue.

THE GIST

Pence isn’t as bombastic as Trump, nor as unstable, and he has government experience. The plus side is that he’s less likely to start a nuclear war with North Korea and destroy the entire world. The thing we should be concerned about is that Mike Pence has the power base, the connections, the savvy, and the experience to get things done. He will happily foist his discriminatory and judgmental beliefs in the public sphere, actively hurt vulnerable groups that he doesn’t care for with oppressive legislation and deep cuts to certain budget lines, and do a lot of collateral damage in the process.

This is a dangerous person to be president if you’re not his kind of people. Do not breathe easy if he wins the presidency or the candidacy.

Photo Credit: Michael Vadon / Flickr

84 comments

Jen S
Jen S3 months ago

Pence is not observably insane but he is extremely ambitious. Speaking, God help me, as constituent in Indiana, he is a self-righteous ideologue and a poor governor. Indiana has outrageously high taxes and an enormous surplus, pointed out ad nauseum, whenever Pence campaigned. He neglected to mention the infrastructure is, after 12 plus years of Republican administrations, all of whom had further political ambitions, abysmal. Drive in Indianapolis and you may ruin a tire or and axle. In his zeal to maintain his conservative credentials, he refused an eighty million dollar grant to fund more early childhood education. Never mind the children of Indiana; he chose to pontificate and pander. He has also lied re: adding jobs and on other issues. Still, if you truly wonder what sort of President he might make, listen to him speaking to Fareed Zakaria during his own campaign for President. He is a mediocre intellect, no threat to Trump but equally incompetent to govern.

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Margie FOURIE
Margie FOURIE3 months ago

Thank you

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Carl R
Carl R3 months ago

Thanks!!!

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Ant m
Ant m3 months ago

Pence in 2024 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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iloshechka A
iloshechka A3 months ago

thanks

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David F
David F3 months ago

Brian, That's an impressive list of issues that would without exception, devastate this country and it’s inhabitants.

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Brian F
Brian F3 months ago

Let’s elect Jill Stein who supports free colleges, single payer universal healthcare, a $15.00 an hour minimum wage, marijuana legalization, an end to our failed drug war, and a Green energy jobs program. Corporations own both corrupt parties, and we need a revolution in this country.

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David F
David F3 months ago

Fake News victims don't have to worry about Pence until 2024.

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Julie W
Julie W3 months ago

LF F, why not reserve your complaint for if/when Care2 says BAD things about his son. I think it is good that he is not written about, as any comments would be irrelevant.

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heather g
heather g3 months ago

He's VP for a reason.

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