by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Someone slap a photo of Mike Pence on a milk carton.
The Indiana governor may not have been abducted, but he’s certainly missing in action on the central question facing the Republican party: Are you with Trump, or against him?
Pence is hardly alone on the sidelines, of course. But the crowd of wet-fingered politicians trying to determine which way the wind is blowing doesn’t matter. Pence does. If Donald Trump loses the May 3 Indiana primary, it is all but certain he will fall short of the 1,237 delegates necessary to win the nomination on the first ballot. Indiana is now the Gates of Vienna for stopping the Trumpian takeover of the GOP.
That’s why Ohio governor John Kasich and Texas senator Ted Cruz have struck an admittedly awkward and somewhat unsightly deal to coordinate their campaigns to keep Trump from winning there. Kasich is dropping out of the Indiana race, and Cruz will clear a path for Kasich in New Mexico and Oregon. Kasich almost immediately stumbled trying to stick to the deal, but it remains as close to a united front against the longtime-Democrat-turned-Republican pretender as we’re going to get.
And where is Pence, longtime proponent of conservative courage? In his bunker, insisting that he’s “for anybody but Hillary and Bernie Sanders.”
To be fair, Pence is in a pickle because he’s up for reelection in 2016, and the beleaguered Hoosier thinks he can’t afford to alienate any Republican voters. Boo hoo.