Mike Pence’s first mission tonight is to stop the bleeding that began after Donald Trump’s disastrous debate performance last month against Hillary Clinton.
After Trump showed up to the first debate unprepared and repeatedly underscored widespread concerns about his temperament, Pence – a seasoned political veteran with years of experience in government – will try to ease people’s concerns about Trump and project a seriousness that the man at the top of the ticket clearly isn’t interested in conveying.
To the average voter, it may be easy for a guy like Pence to look reasonable, particularly when he’s standing next to a guy like Donald Trump.
But nobody should be fooled by the GOP’s vice presidential nominee. He’s just as dangerous as Trump where it matters: the issues.
On matters that involve women, for example, he’s right in line with the man at the top of his ticket.
During 10+ years in Congress, Pence consistently waged war against women. On reproductive rights, Pence says he longs “for the day that Roe v. Wade is sent to the ash heap of history.”
He has also made a living waging war on Planned Parenthood. Despite the fact that no federal funds go toward abortion, Pence has said that he will continue to “be after [Planned Parentood],” even though the organization provides vital health care services to millions of Americans each year and none of their federal funding is used to provide abortion services.
This is consistent with his potential boss who is also in favor of not just defunding the organization, but also criminalizing abortion.
When it comes to military service, he is again in line with Trump, who thinks sexual assault should be expected when women and men are allowed to serve together. Pence said having women in the military is a “bad idea” because too many females would “find many young men to be attractive sexually,” which would make things “interesting.”
More recently, the Indiana governor followed Trump’s lead on stirring up minority resentment when he refused to call KKK leader David Duke “deplorable,” claiming that he wasn’t in “the name-calling business.”
Trump’s view on climate change – that it’s a hoax created by the Chinese – may raise a lot of eyebrows, but his supposedly pragmatic running mate holds similar views on global warming. Pence believes “the science is very mixed” on climate change, meaning neither of them is likely to take any action to combat the global threat.
Pence’s extremism may be most well-known because of a 2015 “religious liberty” measure he signed into law that allowed businesses to discriminate against those in the LGBT community. This isn’t particularly surprising given the fact that Pence once said that gay couples will bring about “societal collapse.”
It’s obvious that Pence was chosen by Trump to assure voters that there is a rational adult sitting in the passenger seat of the car. But Pence isn’t a sensible politician. In fact, he’s as extreme as they come.
While he will do his best in Tuesday’s debate to convey steadiness and sanity, he is without question just as dangerous as the man at the top of the ticket.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.