The dust has finally cleared, and it now seems all but certain that Indiana Governor Mike Pence will be Donald Trump’s running mate.
That is, as certain as things ever are within the Trump campaign.
This has been an obvious choice for the past few days for two main reasons.
- The announcement had originally been set for Friday (until it was postponed in light of the tragic terror attack in France). Coincidentally, Pence has until Friday at noon to withdraw his candidacy for reelection in Indiana. His campaign also hasn’t been airing ads for months, and although they had made a small reservation for ads in August after the convention, that is far from a serious investment. Unfortunately, former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has closed the door on running for his old post because he is too happy at Purdue University, so the Indiana GOP will have to look elsewhere for its nominee. This week is definitely one of the most interesting to happen in Indiana politics in a few months (for more on the recent shakeups in Indiana politics, read here).
- The other reason that Pence’s selection was obvious was the speaker list the campaign finally released (after blowing past its self-imposed deadlines several times). Sure, the list seems to be a living document, with Tim Tebow announcing that the idea of him speaking at the convention is merely a “rumor” shortly after it was announced. However, Pence’s omission was noticeable, so much so that it was apparent to me the moment it was released that he will be the VP nominee (there are plenty of high profile people not going, but Pence has been on good terms with Trump, having campaigned with him just this past week).
This is the list of speakers (again, treat it with caution since it seems like not everyone on this list is actually confirmed), and notice how it deals with four of the final figures who were probably on Trump’s shortlist.
General Michael Flynn is listed on it as a “vice-presidential possibility,” which means that he is out of the question; Newt Gingrich is also listed by name, which means that he would get two speaking slots were he to be the VP pick (which is unlikely, since Trump wants all the attention he can get). That leaves us with Chris Christie and Pence. When I first saw this list, I didn’t even notice Christie’s absence, because it was clear to me that he was not going to be the pick, given all of the stories in the press about Pence. When I saw that Pence’s name was not on the list, it was truly obvious that he will be the pick.
The fact that a Trump aid confirmed that Pence is the pick, and that Pence stopped his run for Governor only made it even more official.
Will Pence be able to live up to expectations? Only time will tell. In the meantime, I can’t help but feel at least a little bit sorry for Christie. He has been fetching Trump’s errands, all in the hopes that it will get him something (there have been three things that he has transparently wanted since endorsing Trump, at least in my mind, and the Vice Presidency was one of them, with him even saying I don’t like coming in second), and his dreams are at least temporarily on hold. Poor guy.