Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence claimed on the stage of the 2016 Republican National Convention that Indiana’s economy has prospered under his leadership as governor.
He told his frenzied listeners:
‘In my home state of Indiana, we prove every day that you can build a growing economy on balanced budgets, low taxes, even while making record investments in education and roads and health care. Indiana is a state that works because conservative principles work every time you put them into practice.’
But he wasn’t telling the truth. Although Pence claimed that the state’s relative economic success was because of his “conservative principles,” he actually can’t legitimately take credit for the state’s economic gains.
The general economic upswing that Pence oversaw as governor sprung out of the nationwide recovery after the economic recession that marked the end of the George W. Bush era — not out of anything Pence or his associates did to the state.
All relevant numbers began to improve years before Pence took office in 2013.
Take the unemployment rate, for example. Years before Pence took office, Indiana’s unemployment rate began to decline. The peak came in January-February 2010, with Indiana registering a 10.9 percent unemployment rate. That date was 3 years before Pence’s inauguration as governor.
The graph of the rate over time is featured below.
All of this considered, Pence still didn’t shy away from claiming “[t]hat’s what you can do with common sense Republican leadership” at the 2016 RNC after listing everything he could think of to make it seem like he led some form of economic growth for the state of Indiana.
This kind of grandiose but false claim underscores the reasoning behind why Donald Trump picked Pence as a running mate. Trump has spent months building up his base of support on the notion that he is a superior candidate because of his idiocy.
Trump has never before served in an official political capacity. He has taken this to the extreme, turning his lack of experience into a license for a lack of decency at every opportunity.
Trump has, through the course of his campaign, aimed his bigotry at nearly every target imaginable. The victims have included Muslims, Mexicans, and various members of American news media, among many others.
Trump hoped to appeal to at least a few voters who aren’t rabid nationalists with his choice of Pence as VP candidate. After all, Pence has “experience.”
That experience, however, is a whole bunch of experience doing nothing more than spreading bigotry.
Since Pence’s claims of spearheading economic success are nothing more than claims, the list of accomplishments creditable to the Pence administration quickly becomes nothing more than a checklist of bigotry.
Pence can claim as among his accomplishments the law he passed nearly right away known as the “Indiana Religious Freedom Act.” This seemingly nice measure was really a license for bigotry, allowing Indiana Christian business owners to refuse service to members of the LGBT community.
Pence can also claim a measure requiring funerals for aborted fetuses, along with a measure allowing for doctors who perform abortions to be convicted as felons.
But can he claim that any real, substantial progress is because of him? Nope, not in the slightest.
Featured Image is via Getty Images