Indiana Gov. Mike Pence spent last weekend on a golf course in New Jersey.
The man he was with on the golf course, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, was what caught attention and started speculation Pence might be on the presidential ticket rather than running for re-election in Indiana come November.
But electorally, Pence doesn’t make much sense for the vice president spot, IU political science professor Gerald Wright said.
“I was sort of surprised and I’d be very surprised if he actually is the choice,” Wright said. “Now, that’s if you had a normal presidential candidate making a decision. With Donald Trump, you have no idea what he’s going to do, absolutely none. Nobody’s been able to figure that out.”
The path to the vice presidency became a little clearer Wednesday, with Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst removing herself from consideration and throwing her support behind Pence.
If Pence is the choice, he will need to drop out of the Indiana governor’s race by July 15 in order to give the party enough time to find a replacement to run for governor in his place.
If there is not a Republican nominee for governor after July 15, a Republican candidate will not be on the ballot in November.
That means a decision by Trump will happen soon, but the smart decision might not be Pence.
Electorally, choosing Pence would theoretically lock up Indiana in November.
But Wright said if a Republican candidate doesn’t already have Indiana locked up he doesn’t stand much of a chance anyway.
There’s also the fact that the faction of the party Pence appeals to, social conservatives, is not a problem for Trump.
His problem is with economic conservatives and small business types, Wright said.
Wright says that those who are connected with Paul Ryan, who despite his backing of Trump can’t stop back-pedaling from Trump’s stances on a weekly basis.
Wright said he thinks someone like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie would be a more logical choice for Trump electorally.
Christie also backed Trump shortly after he dropped out of the race himself.
Pence backed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz prior to the Indiana primary.
“That probably is another factor that Trump takes very seriously,” Wright said. “He takes politics very personally with all the tweeting and stuff. I think he wouldn’t forget that, and that alone would be enough to take him off the list.”
Wright also speculated the reason Pence was brought to New Hampshire to meet with Trump was more to give the appearance he was being considered rather than actually considering him.
Paul Manafort, the man tasked with running Trump’s campaign, is a smart and tactful politician, Wright said.
With so many Republicans publicly declaring they don’t support Trump and his style of politics, Manafort might be staging meetings with a variety of candidates to try and garner support throughout the party.
“It probably doesn’t hurt to have somebody from your wing of the party being considered,” Wright said. “That might soften you up a little bit so you’re a little less resistant going into the convention.”
But, this is Trump, who has shown conventional political logic is not something he necessarily believes in, Wright said.
Wright admitted he laughed when Trump first announced he was running for president.
Many did, including politicians from both parties and political experts.
That might also mean Trump is hesitant to listen to the same types of political experts who thought he had no chance, Wright said.
And so that’s why Wright said this is all mere speculation, because no one can really predict what Trump might do, because there’s never been a candidate like Trump before this.
“Trump’s going to do what he wants,” Wright said. “So far he has and he takes great pride in it. He takes great pride in not listening to people. Manafort is doing a yeoman job in trying to get him to pay attention, but nobody I think can calm him down.”