This article was originally published on MerryJane.com
By Justin O’Connell
Donald Trump has reportedly chosen Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) to be his vice presidential running mate. And that’s bad news for the socially liberal.
Who is Mike Pence? For one, he is the beleaguered Indiana Governor who, thanks to Trump’s choice, won’t have to endure a hard fought political battle this election year in the state where his popularity is waning.
The congressman is so conservative, he votes against his own party, having opposed No Child Left Behind and the George W Bush-led Medicare prescription drug expansion. He is also close to the libertarian Koch brothers.
Pence, a member of the Tea Party movement, is currently serving as the 50th governor of Indiana. He opposes amnesty for immigrants and supports the border down. He also supported military action in the Iraq War, which cost the lives of more than a million Iraqi’s and thousands of US servicemen while destabilizing the Middle East.
Mainstream Republicans like him.
“I’ve served with Mike, I like him personally,” Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) told the Daily News. “He adds a lot of bang to the ticket. A smart guy, articulate, he knows Washington, he’s been the chief executive of a state, he’s been a part of the media, as radio experience. I think the combination of understanding the media, having run a state and [serving] in Congress, makes him a very strong vice presidential candidate.
Pence calls himself “A Christian, a conservative, and a Republican, in that order”, and is a close tie of social and fiscal conservatives.
In 2000, Pence opined, “Congress should oppose any effort to recognize homosexual’s [sic] as a ‘discreet and insular minority’ entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities.”
He signed into law Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Businesses and churches could deny service to LGBT individuals. He also believes Congress should oppose laws that protect gays from discrimination and taxpayers should pay for programs for gays who want to become straight.
The governor’s state has one of the most “draconian” legal regimes for marijuana in the country. A single joint can get you a year incarceration and a fine upwards of $5,000. In 2012, authorities cited or arrested nearly 10,000 people for marijuana offenses like possession.
He is no proponent of reducing penalties for cannabis: “I think we need to focus on reducing crime, not reducing penalties.”
Pence scores -20 by NORML for drug reform.
Senior members of Trump’s team assured the Presidential candidate had yet to make a final decision. A formal announcement was set for Friday morning in Manhattan, but has since been postponed due to the attack in France that left dozens dead.