Extreme Makeover: Pence Edition -- Trump’s Latest Reality Show
Policy + Politics

Extreme Makeover: Pence Edition -- Trump’s Latest Reality Show

It looks as though the 2016 presidential campaign version of The Apprentice is about to be replaced by Extreme Makeover: Pence Edition.

Unless he changes his mind -- and he might -- presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump will soon name Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate for the 2016 presidential election. A planned announcement Friday morning was postponed in response to an apparent terrorist attack in France. But Pence appears to be the likely choice regardless, which should end the long-running parade of hopefuls meeting with Trump and appearing at his rallies, a process that many have compared to the sort of reality television show that Trump starred in for many years.

Related: Pence Would Bring a Lot to Team Trump, at Great Political Risk

Given the broad policy differences between Trump and his apparent choice of Pence, if the Indiana governor plans to stand on the stage next to Trump from now until November, there are some...issues, let’s say...that will have to be addressed.

For example, Pence is a strong social conservative who this year signed a law requiring women to pay for burial or cremation of aborted fetuses. Trump, by contrast, is on the record as being pro-choice in the past, and has made a hash of his efforts, as a candidate, to find common ground with the pro-life movement.

Pence is also a dedicated free-trader, who has supported virtually every international trade deal the United States has entered during his political career. Trump, by contrast, spends much of his time on the stump ripping the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA,) which Pence supported, the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA,) which Pence supported, and most notably, the Trans-Pacific Partnership which, you guessed it, Pence also supported.

Another point of contention may arise over the fact that Trump is an adamant opponent of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature domestic policy accomplishment. The ACA -- ‘Obamacare’ to most -- allowed the expansion of Medicaid eligibility in states where the legislature and governor agreed. For many Republicans, refusing to approve the Medicaid expansion has become a badge of honor, proving their opposition to Obamacare. Pence, though, signed a bill approving Medicaid expansion in his state.

Related: Trump Plays It Uncharacteristically Safe as Reports Point to Mike Pence as VP

Even more awkward, perhaps, is that the differences between Trump and Pence on policy issues aren’t limited to some years-old diversions that can be waved off as ancient history. Pence has been openly, and harshly, critical of some of Trump’s most fundamental campaign promises, like the proposed ban on all Muslims entering the US, which he called “offensive and unconstitutional.”

Pence also endorsed (however tepidly) Trump’s toughest opponent, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, in the Hoosier state’s Republican presidential primary.

However, evidence suggests that Pence has gradually come around to Team Trump in recent weeks, particularly as the billionaire’s vice presidential short list got shorter.