Saturday, July 16, 2016

All Trump's men ...

"... will all send women voters into the Democratic camp even faster than they’ve been running from Trump."

And that includes the now named VP choice, Mike Pence, Governor of Indiana. Joan Walsh elaborates in The Nation.

If Trump thinks he’s getting a running mate who can appeal to the center and swing voters, he’s wrong about that. Pence is so far right when it comes to women’s and LGBT issues, he makes Trump look like a Democrat. Frankly, he’s a smooth-talking Todd Akin.

In Congress, Pence co-sponsored a bill that would have redefined rape and limited federal funding for abortion to women who suffered “forcible rape”—what Akin famously described as “legitimate rape” when he doomed his 2012 Senate bill. Pence is also the guy who began the GOP’s ugly and so far unsuccessful crusade to defund Planned Parenthood, back in 2007. “He’s the only one I know of who has been so completely obsessed with Planned Parenthood,” Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards said back then. “This just seems to be an enormous focus of his.” Of course, Pence got more company in the Tea Party Congress of 2011, and that year he threatened to shut down the government over continued Planned Parenthood funding.

Since becoming governor in 2013, Pence has signed various anti-abortion bills and succeeded in defunding Planned Parenthood in his state. That helped lead to a devastating resurgence of HIV/AIDS, since Planned Parenthood was one of a few providers of HIV testing in the state.

Unfortunately, there’s not much daylight between Trump and Pence on the issue of Planned Parenthood. Although daughter Ivanka reportedly got Trump to say nice things about the group’s women’s-health work earlier this year, both he and Pence have said that if Planned Parenthood wants to continue providing primary care for women, and crucial screenings for breast and cervical cancers, it should stop providing abortions.

“If Planned Parenthood wants to be involved in providing counseling services and HIV testing, they ought not be in the business of providing abortions,” Pence told a Vox reporter. “As long as they aspire to do that, I’ll be after them.” Sounds like Trump: “Millions of women have been helped by Planned Parenthood. But we’re not going to allow, and we’re not going to fund, as long as you have the abortion going on at Planned Parenthood, and we understand that and I’ve said it loud and clear.”

Also, Trump has promised to punish women for getting abortions (and then flip-flopped); Pence has actually done so. In Indianapolis, 30-year-old Purvi Patel was prosecuted for using the pills doctors prescribe for early pregnancy termination allegedly later in her term. Her conviction is being appealed.

Of course, Pence is probably best known nationally for supporting one of the nation’s toughest so-called “Religious Freedom” laws, and then backing down when big businesses from Apple to SalesForce to Angie’s List said they’d curtail commerce in his state. Pence says he “fixed” the law, but LGBT advocates don’t entirely buy it. Conservatives do, however, and they consider Pence a traitor for bowing to business.

Pence is an odd choice, for many reasons: He’s got low approval ratings in his home state and faces a tough reelection battle. He supports free trade and opposes Trump’s Muslim ban. The Indiana governor endorsed Texas Senator Ted Cruz just before the state’s crucial primary in May, but said wishy-washy nice things about Trump, too. When Trump crushed Cruz in Indiana, Pence got on the Trump train. He was ready to move up front and sit alongside the leader. But now he’s sitting in a New York hotel waiting for an announcement that may never come.

Well, the call came and Pence answered. Trump's policy agenda, at least from what appears in the public media, has been difficult to discern given the verbal meanderings. But the choice of Mike Pense, uber-social-conservative, provides clarity to those who would heed warning signals. I hope that among those listening to such signals are women, LGBTs, and any minorities. You have much to lose.

Trump will be known by the company he keeps ...

... and so will the Republican party. Pence is scheduled to speak at the Republican convention on night #3. But he is merely the latest sign that Trump is taking the GOP directly into a morass of far, far right-wing horrors.

ThinkProgress.org documents the extremely right-wing speakers at the convention: Everything You Need To Know About The Extremists Who Will Highlight Trump’s Republican Convention.. Here are a couple of my favorite examples to get your juices flowing.

Anti-immigration activists, “prosperity gospel” preachers, anti-LGBT politicians, and the NRA’s top lobbyist will headline Donald Trump’s 2016 Republican National Convention. ...

Pam Bondi
Florida’s Republican attorney general, Bondi’s relationship with Trump has drawn criticism from ethics watchdogs and state newspapers. Four days after she announced she might join an investigation into Trump University, one of Trump’s family foundations gave $25,000 to a group supporting Bondi’s re-election. Soon after, she announced she would not pursue a lawsuit. She also drew criticism for reportedly asking for an execution to be delayed so as not to conflict with her re-election kick-off party. After the Orlando shootings last month, CNN’s Anderson Cooper took her to task for presenting herself as a champion of the LGBT community, despite her anti-gay record. Bondi responded by blasting Cooper for “[inciting] anger and hatred.”

Chris Cox
The chief lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, Cox is a staunch opponent of efforts to reduce gun violence and has warned that those lawmakers who seek to blame his organization for the epidemic of gun violence “will pay a price for it.” At his group’s May convention, he made a series of sexist attacks on Hillary Clinton, calling her a “horse” and playing an out-of-context video of her barking.

Jerry Falwell Jr.
The son of the late televangelist Jerry Falwell, Falwell Jr. is now president of Liberty University. He made headlines in December when he suggested he might pull a gun out at a campus assembly to demonstrate how to shoot terrorists. “I’ve always thought that if more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in and killed them,” he told his students.

Mike Huckabee
The former pastor and former Arkansas governor is best known for his staunch opposition to LGBT rights, claiming marriage equality will lead to legalized polygamy and prostitution. He emerged last year as a chief defender of Rowan County, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis and her illegal refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, comparing her to Abraham Lincoln. He also has suggested using federal troops to stop women from accessing abortions, claimed that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be “appalled” by the Black Lives Matter movement, warned that some immigrants only come to America “because they heard there is a bowl of food just across the border,” and proclaimed that Beyonce’s music is “mental poison.”

I could go on, but you get the (rightward) drift. More than ever before, this election really is about the soul of America.

(h/t AZBlueMeanie for the Think Progress update)

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