The Prospect of President Pence

I think that political progressives need to be prepared for the prospect of a Pence presidency. In my observation, Donald Trump does not appear to have the physical or mental fitness to handle the job of President, and this will become increasingly obvious over the first few months of his presidency. Why do I believe this?

Donald Trump has altered his positions radically over the years, and sometimes he alters them within days. Sometimes he expresses contradictory positions within a short space of time. This tells us that he has no core beliefs. His mind is adrift. He also has little or no control over the things he says, and says things that are inappropriate. I was shocked when, during the third debate, he said “What a nasty woman.” referring to Hillary Clinton. That played well to his base, of course, but there is no way that such a comment was appropriate in a presidential political debate. He has a record of denying he said something when millions of people clearly heard him say it. I have read that he cannot stay on topic for more than a minute or two, and then will veer off on a tangent.

I believe that Donald Trump is mentally unhinged. There is some process going on in his brain which prevents focus, and it will probably get worse with time and stress.

The presidency is the most difficult job in the world. It requires intense stamina and intense focus. The amount of knowledge you have to have is vast. You also need superb diplomatic skill and tact. You have to be able to tell people to go to Hell in a manner that suggests that they will enjoy the trip. Barack Obama had these attributes, Donald Trump does not. I think it will become very clear early in Trump’s presidency that he can’t handle the job and his mental health, already poor, will become so bad that Vice President Pence will be compelled to intervene. The 25th amendment, section 4, allows him to proclaim that the President is unfit for his responsibilities, and, with the consent of Congress, to take over. Even if he does not resort to this expedient, Pence will ultimately be running the show.

This leaves us with President Pence, a bait and switch proposition for Trump’s supporters, and a new challenge for progressives. We will have the opposite problems with Pence from what we had with Trump. His ideas are fixed and immoveable. Unlike Trump, who possesses no logic, Pence argues logically from his premises. Unfortunately we do not share his premises.

Pence’s basic premise is that God rules the world. God sent his only son, Jesus among us, and Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Sinners and non-believers go to Hell, for eternal punishment, unless they accept Jesus and beg forgiveness for their sins. Jesus will be coming back in the near future and there will be a judgment. Pence believes in the literal truth of the Bible. He believes that the Earth is 6000 year old and  that the universe was created in six days by God. He rejects the notion of evolution by natural selection and he rejects climate science. He believes that public school children should be indoctrinated in Christian theology and principles, and that the government should be based on Christian theological principles. His particular brand of Christianity does not contain much in the way of charity or compassion. Pence was, no doubt, disturbed by revelations of Donald Trump’s loose morals, but the prospect of being able to serve God on such a profound scale allowed his conscience to override such concerns. Trump may be flawed but he an instrument of the Lord.

How will these beliefs affect Pence’s governance?  He may attempt to legislate morality. He will certainly fulfill Trump’s promise to appoint “pro-life” justices to the Supreme Court. He will advocate for the reversal of the Supreme Court decision to allow gay marriages. He believes that women belong in the home and not in the workforce and he will do nothing to ease the burdens of working women. It will be difficult for him to reverse the gains that women have made since 1970, but he will try. He will attempt to impose theocracy on our nation, but he will fail in that, because Americans won’t accept it.

In terms of economic policy we can expect the usual Republican menu of decreased taxes on the wealthy, cuts in benefits to the poor, and deregulation. The corporatocracy will be allowed to do whatever it pleases, and if the economy crashes, so much the better. Pence believes that suffering is ennobling and poverty builds character.



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