Donald Trump is famous for his rhetorical aggression, his lack of harmony in speech, and his often controversial comments. Since he’s stepped into the arena of presidential politics, Trump has been the antithesis of political correctness — and proudly so.
Yet, every seemingly misspoken sentence has left Trump unscathed thus far. It was only days ago that Trump and Clinton were neck and neck in the polls in the battle for the White House. Unfortunately for Trump, it may not be his campaign rhetoric that tanks his bid for the Oval Office. Instead, the breaking point may be the newly released tape, more than a decade old, that records Trump using particularly vulgar language toward women.
Time will tell, or actually, the election for that matter, if Trump’s comments will be the nail in his presidential coffin. However, the man truly stuck in the middle is Governor Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate. Although, Pence unequivocally denounced Trump’s remarks, many in the conservative movement speculate that Trump’s character could curse Pence’s own future ambitions.
My assumption, however, is that those pundits are merely being dramatic or using it as a scare tactic to push Pence to quit the campaign. Whether you support Trump, never did, or have changed your decision after the latest bombshell, one thing remains certain: Mike Pence is no Donald Trump.
In fact, there is really no comparison. If anything, that’s what has made Pence a worthy vice presidential candidate. Trump has been a lifelong businessman, often times with varying political opinions. He occasionally appears readily religious and situationally conservative. I hope that Trump’s positions today are genuine. Still, as a non-politician without a voting record, we have only his word to go on.
Pence, on the other hand, has a long and documented political history, including a record in both Congress and as governor of Indiana. In Congress, he put his money where his mouth is: He rebuked his own party by voting against No Child Left Behind in 2001, he opposed a major entitlement expansion of Medicare in 2003, and he routinely voted against every notable government bailout, including Wall Street’s (TARP).
As a staff member for then-Congressman Pence in 2010, I know from personal experience that he was often guided in life and politics by his faith. Few members of Congress hewed so closely to their faith in God to guide day-to-day decisions.
Ironically, the second debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump proved that Pence is much more than simply an extension of Trump. While they are known to disagree on a plethora of topics (trade and a ban on Muslims are just two examples), the distinction between the men was brought to the fore on Sunday night, when Trump nearly had to rebuke his own running mate on stage. Martha Raddatz questioned Trump’s interaction with Russia saying, “Pence at last week’s vice presidential debate said that ‘provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength.’” Trump quickly rebutted, “He and I haven’t spoken, and I disagree.” In this race, it is clear that Pence is his own man.
More so, Pence may be the best conservative option — with one of the best conservative résumés — in future elections. Aside from fighting in Congress for balanced budgets, tax cuts, and reducing the size of government, Pence has one of the most conservative records as governor.
As The Wall Street Journal highlights, his economic record in Indiana is impressive. In Indiana, economic growth matched or exceeded the national average. Job creation grew by 10 percent since 2012 in the state versus only 6.5 percent in the US. He alone expanded manufacturing jobs by more than 30,000.
Most impressively, Pence balanced the budget each and every year — while cutting taxes. He reduced income taxes, corporate taxes, personal property taxes and repealed the estate tax. And he did this all while keeping government spending below the rate of inflation.
Few can match Pence’s résumé.
That’s because Pence is his own man, and regardless of how this election turns out, any opportunity for a 2020 run will not be shattered by his decision to run with Trump. Pence is not running for power or prestige, but as a principled individual with conservative convictions. That passion was immediately apparent in his amazing performance during the first and only vice presidential debate. Even The Boston Globe agreed that Pence appeared presidential.
Like many before Pence, this vice presidential run will not be his legacy. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. (F, 51%), for example, is now Speaker of the House. Pence has a bright future ahead of him — whether he’s working in the White House come January or not. (For more from the author of “Win or Lose This November, Mike Pence Has a Bright Future Ahead of Him” please click HERE)