Pence vs. Kaine: A Breakdown of the Vice Presidential Picks
The past week has brought us the selections of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s running mates. On July 15, Trump revealed Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana as his VP pick while Clinton chose Virginia senator Tim Kaine just two days ago. Seeing as how most vice-presidents make most of their impact during the election cycle, it’s important to know how these two picks will impact the race for the nominees of each party.
Mike Pence is a figure who was scarcely recognized before getting the nod from Donald Trump. However, he has been on the political scene for quite some time. He served as a congressman for six terms, beginning in 2000. He served on committees that dealt with foreign affairs and technology. For the most part, Pence is liked and respected by his GOP brethren. Their faith in him was confirmed in 2008 when his colleagues elected him to the House GOP’s No. 3 spot, Republican Conference Chairman. His role in this position consisted of shaping the party’s message after the 2008 elections gave the Democrats control of both houses of congress as well as the presidency.
In 2013, the Republican VP pick became Governor of Indiana, the state in which he grew up. While at the help in the Midwestern state, he quickly established himself as a social conservative. This particular set of beliefs is where Pence has received most of his attention or notoriety depending on your point of view.
Last year, he signed a religious freedom bill into law allowing business owners to refuse to participate in same-sex weddings by denying service to gay couples. The law received national attention, causing pressure to mount against the governor. He eventually signed an amendment stating that it was not appropriate to use the law to discriminate against gay people. The amendment failed to placate activists in opposition to the law and it also fell short of stopping the bleeding of Pence’s struggling approval numbers. The controversy has led to significant opposition to Pence’s re-election. Luckily for him, Pence cannot even run as he is Trump’s pick for vice-president.
Switching gears to the Democrat’s VP candidate, it is important to note right off the bat that Kaine has never lost an election. Twenty years ago, he won a seat on city council before becoming mayor of Richmond, Virginia in 1998. In 2001, he began serving as lieutenant governor of Virginia and then as governor for two terms. He won his current position as U.S. senator of Virginia in 2013 when Jim Webb announced he would not seek re-election.
One major pro for the Clinton camp is that Kaine speaks fluent Spanish. He took a year off from law school at Harvard to serve as a missionary in Honduras where he picked up the native tongue. In 2013, he became the first senator to deliver a speech in Spanish on the chamber floor. This quality will indubitably benefit the Clinton campaign’s efforts to further increase their lead over Trump with Latino voters.