Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives launched an impeachment inquiry for President Donald Trump. Because of his crimes, the House and the Senate should investigate, impeach and remove the President from office. However, it is important that Democrats analyze Vice President Mike Pence’s record during his time as Governor of Indiana to understand the disastrous consequences that could come of a Pence presidency.
Throughout his governorship, Pence continued to show his incompetence as a leader. A perfect example of this was his handling of an HIV epidemic in Scott County. While the virus spread through opioid injection, Pence refused to implement temporary clean needle exchanges in the county, even though the method has been proven effective. He reversed his stance three months after the outbreak, after the peak of the epidemic had passed. His failure to overcome his moral stance on the issue needlessly escalated the situation, endangering the lives of his rural constituents.
Another failure of Pence’s governorship was when he signed Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a law criticized as discriminatory toward members of the LGBTQ community. The law allowed individuals and businesses to use religion as a defense for discrimination. In an interview with George Stephanopoulos, he refused to explicitly state the law was not discriminatory. Considering the fact that the law came less than a year after gay marriage became legal in Indiana, it is clear that RFRA was a direct reaction to the Supreme Court’s refusal to rule on Baskin v. Bogan. Additionally, Pence’s history as an opponent of LGBTQ rights shows the underlying intentions of the bill.
In addition to public health problems and LGBTQ discrimination, a Pence presidency would also mean further use of voter suppression tactics. As governor, he deployed state police to raid the Indiana Voter Registration Project’s Indianapolis office. Police seized thousands of voter registration applications — a majority of which were from African American voters. It is important to note that this was done in 2016, when Pence was on the presidential ticket. Pence deployed this raid to gain an advantage in his campaign and used voter fraud as an excuse for disenfranchisement. Pence’s actions as governor show the lengths he would go to for electoral victory.
Scott County’s HIV epidemic shows Pence’s clear lack of understanding of opioid abuse and his inability to handle public health crises. At a time when LGBTQ rights are constantly being threatened, it is important that Democrats look at Pence’s RFRA debacle as an example of what would happen during his presidency — these problems would be magnified on a national scale. A President Pence would mean state-sanctioned voter fraud and voter suppression that would affect marginalized groups across the country. Pence’s use of police in his governorship are small matters compared to the electoral crimes that may occur in the future.
As governor, Pence put his personal beliefs over the needs of the state, while infringing on the rights of minority groups. A President Pence would bring consequences unparalleled even with the abuses of the current administration. Mass disenfranchisement, blatant LGBTQ discrimination and public health crises are what is to come with a Pence presidency. By focusing their attention on the vice president’s political past, Americans may get a look into the country’s grim future.
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Email Jun Sung at [email protected]