As you watch the Republican convention, you see why Donald Trump picked Mike Pence as his running mate: There’s no chance Pence will steal the spotlight from the star.
There’s only one star in this show, and it’s Donald Trump. And all the co-stars, like all his products and possessions, are also named Trump (Melania, Ivanka).
Pence will speak Wednesday night, the traditional slot for the VP nominee. Unlike Chris Christie or Newt Gingrich, Pence is unlikely to elbow his way onto the stage. He’s as colorless as Trump is colorful. Even his hair is as colorless as Trump’s is colorful.
Conventional wisdom looks at running mates for which states or voting blocs they might help the ticket win. But that’s exaggerated. It hasn’t happened since LBJ helped JFK win Texas, 56 years ago.
Pence might be a gesture to religious conservatives who aren’t sold on a Manhattan sybarite who is on his third wife, brags about his sexual prowess and is unpredictable on issues like gays and abortion.
But, really, the Veep pick matters mainly for what it tells us about the man or woman who would be President. After all, it’s their first big decision. What and how they decide tells us something.
Pence tells us this campaign is all about Trump. But we knew that.
The way Trump picked Pence is revealing: on the fly, by the gut, with little of the usual due diligence and all by himself, with little input from anybody outside the family.
That’s the way Trump has always done business. That’s the way he has run his campaign. And that’s the way he’ll operate as President.
Now we all get to ponder that reality (as opposed to reality show). Pence’s job, meanwhile, is simple: Don’t crowd the Donald. And don’t screw up (See: Sarah Palin).
Gary Pearce is a veteran N.C. Democratic strategist. He’s writing about the political conventions for the Observer.