In the midst of speculation about how enthusiastic Donald Trump was about choosing Mike Pence as his running mate, the Indiana governor wasted no time proving his worth to the ticket. Pence explained in crystal-clear terms on Tuesday why hesitant conservatives should embrace the controversial GOP nominee. Speaking at a luncheon put on by the American Conservative Union Foundation in Cleveland, Pence compared Trump to the greatest president of the last half-century.
“I have to tell you, having had some time to spend with this man and his family, I know that Donald Trump will be a great president of the United States of America because his heart beats with the heart of the American people,” Pence said. “I honestly believe in the collective wisdom of the American people and the capacity of the people of our nation to know who we need, who the right person is, at the right time for America.”
Continuing, Pence said, “For all the world, he reminds me of Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan achieved great things in his life and his career – a movie star, a celebrity, governor of the great state of California, but he never lost the common touch, did he?”
Pence said that Reagan’s belief in the greatness of the United States was a quality he’d found in Donald Trump.
It is in this arena that Pence can be a powerful weapon in the Trump campaign arsenal. Trump has the support of the people; with Pence, he can begin reaching out to establishment Republicans and scorned conservatives with a message of unity. That’s not going to be a lightning-quick process, but Pence can build the bridge faster than a Chris Christie or a Newt Gingrich.
The faster, the better, because we’re going to need all hands on deck. The ideological split on the left may not mean as much to Hillary Clinton’s chances as we might have hoped a few months ago. Her trust issues are still significant, but the Democratic Party and the American left are more or less united against Trump. If we go into this election with the constant infighting that colored the primaries, it’s going to be tough to pull off a win.
To get there, politicians, conservative commentators, and donors will have to take a leap of faith. If they’ve held out this long, nothing Trump can do or say is going to make them change their minds. But with principled individuals like Pence standing behind the billionaire, maybe these holdouts can recognize the importance of keeping Hillary Clinton out of the White House…at all costs. And maybe once they put away their pitchforks, they’ll come to see that Trump isn’t so bad after all.