OPINION: Dissecting the Trump/Pence ticket


Photo credit/ Autumn Bohner

Emma Rushworth, Opinion Editor

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were renominated for a second term by the Republican Party at its convention in the last week of August. An incumbent has to run against his or her record while in office and the challenger has to prove themselves better than that record over the last four years. Something to think about when deciding to reelect an incumbent goes back to the Reagan era, when he asked “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”

There are five factors that I used in weighing this ticket:

  • Accessibility
  • Policy
  • VP Power
  • Electability
  • The “Compromise Factor”

Accessibility is how easy it is to find information on the candidates, to view their platform and to access their social media platforms or to view the website in Spanish.

Policy refers to how clear and concrete the initiatives they propose are. Is there a strategic policy plan or are these policy statements simply platitudes to get votes?

VP power is essentially how much weight the vice presidential pick brings to the ticket, as well as their accomplishments and/or drawbacks.

Electability is at the heart of every election and is how well-suited a candidate is for office. Are they electable?

The “compromise factor” is based on the candidate’s history. How willing are they to work with the other side of the aisle to get legislation passed?


The campaign website was very easy to find with a quick Google search. It also provided options in Spanish and accessible links to all the issues. Their issues page is not as detailed as the Democrats’ but again, the incumbent tends to run on the record of the last four years. The Trump/Pence ticket gets an eight out of 10 for accessibility.


The policies the campaign puts forward are a bit confusing. Instead of real policy points, issues they want to tackle or a concrete plan to act on these issues, the website mainly feels like an egotistical run down of the Trump administration’s “accomplishments” over the last four years.

There isn’t a solid plan for the next four years should Trump be reelected. This is especially clear with the Republican National Committee (RNC) refusal to create a new platform for this election.

The website also slants the results of the president’s actions, including the Trump administration’s 2017 tax bill. The campaign claims “the president has… provided the largest tax cut for working class families in American history”. However, it’s been shown that the bill mostly benefited CEOs, large corporations and other people of wealth.

On policy, the ticket only gets a five from me because their mentality is “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

VP Power

I’ll be completely honest, I could not think of any accomplishments Vice President Pence has done over the last four years. I’m not alone in this line of thought either. The Indianapolis Monthly posted an article telling how Pence has struggled to find a solid place to serve his duties.

The only real things he’s overseen is the creation of the Space Force and various appointees and nominees for cabinet positions. He has a horrible record on LGBTQ+ rights. I really don’t see Pence as a driving factor for people to vote for the ticket. The only people that Pence really draws in is evangelical Christians. Those voters believe that he will influence policy they are in favor of. In 2016, this ticket received the majority of the evangelical vote, but I’m not sure how that will hold up this time around. In the Trump sandwich, the president is the ham and cheese while Pence is just two thin?slices of plain white bread. I give the VP power of the Trump/Pence ticket a four out of 10.


With an incumbent, electability is trickier than an opponent. Clearly whoever is in office was already electable the first time around. How has that favorability changed for better or worse?

I think a large reason Trump won in 2016 was because of how many people truly did not like Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. He also reminds me of former President Richard Nixon in his election tactics, even going so far as to use the same “silent majority” trope to embolden his supporters. Pence draws in evangelicals and more traditional conservatives, whereas Trump brings in horses of every color, from far-right neonazis to conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones.

Part of the appeal of the Trump/Pence ticket is they cater to their base arguably better than the Democrats. Trump knows exactly what phrases to say, slogans to chant and buttons to push to rile his base into feverish support. Pence brings a calm, more mild-mannered side to the ticket which creates for a balance that conservatives just love. For electability, the Trump/Pence ticket gets a six out of 10.

The compromise factor

The compromise factor for the incumbents is easier to measure based on the last four years as our nation’s leaders.. While both Trump and Pence have repeatedly been willing and able to compromise and negotiate with the Republican Party leadership, talking with the Democrats has been a different story.

Think back to the first month of 2019, when the government shutdown for a record-long 35 days. One main stipulation to reopen the government that Trump fought tooth and nail on was funding for the border wall. Seeing as how this was a signature campaign promise, it made sense that he would fight so hard to fulfill it.

However, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi refused to budge from her stance against federal funding for the border wall, and insisted on the funding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Trump eventually folded, conceding funding for the wall to allow for the government to reopen, which ended up being more of a loss for him than a compromise.

The Vice President for his part is doing well at negotiating legislation. Just this past week he negotiated a deal to avoid a government shutdown by October. Yet Pence has not been able to successfully negotiate a coronavirus stimulus package between the House and the Senate.

Trump and Pence can negotiate but not on specific policies. This has posed a big challenge over the past four years not only in terms of the government shutting down, but important bills are not being passed and the American people are suffering as a result. Because of this, I give the Trump/Pence ticket a five out of 10 on the compromise factor.

Overall, the Trump/Pence ticket is not out of the running. With a score of 56%, the ticket does not pass a basic grading system. The factors I chose to grade the ticket on do not include so many scandals, falsehoods and walkbacks of Obama era policies, as well as efforts to undermine and discriminate against the LGBTQ+, minorities, women and immigrants. Those factors are equally as important in making your decision this November 3rd. Whether it’s by mail or in person, use the power granted to you to vote your mind’s conscience, and above all, vote.

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Twitter: @e_tww