Don’t believe the Democrat-fed nonsense that last night’s vice-presidential debate did not move the electoral needle; that it did not sway any undecided or did not solidify a Republican constituency.
Republican VP nominee and Indiana Governor Mike Pence might just have won the election for Donald Trump with his measured, sober and very calculated performance in a contest between a principled conservative evangelical who demonstrated how to demonstrate thoughtful spontaneity and the theological anarchy of Senator Tim Kaine, who succeeded well in variously playing the petulant child and class clown to perfection. While Pence spoke directly to evangelicals about his personal faith in Christ, smorgasbord Catholic Kaine – one who picks and chooses the tenets of his faith based on expediency – appeared as a complete political sell-out to the most unprincipled, Machiavellian politician on the horizon – Hillary Clinton.
Pence sealed the relationship between evangelicals and Trump by articulating a clear and uncompromising vision of how personal faith must influence public policy while Kaine, especially as he struggled to explain this bizarre disconnect between his private beliefs and his public record, appeared as consummate hypocrite without the essential courage to stand up for his convictions. Evangelicals failed to embrace Mitt Romney in 2012 and not, as some have maintained, because they found his Mormon faith untenable but because this Rockefeller Republican from Massachusetts always seemed agonizingly uncomfortable when attempting to define the role of faith in public life.
Trump will not win this election without a solid block of evangelicals – and conservative Catholics – supporting him and coming out to vote for him.
And last night, Pence found the rally point, the energizing issue that will mobilize these people of faith to turn out on voting day: abortion.
By insisting that Kaine talk about abortion and not something called “reproductive rights” or “women’s health issues,” Pence forced the pusillanimous senator to show how he has flip-flopped on the Hyde Amendment that prohibits public funding for most abortions; how he is now supporting partial-birth abortion because Clinton does; and how he refuses to allow something so integral to one’s being as a conscience to influence his policy decisions. Kaine could only say that while he personally disagreed with abortion he was prepared the support the infanticide of “babies that are almost born” as Pence succinctly and viscerally described it.
What else can he support – contrary to his own moral code – because Hillary says so?
Evangelicals can be left with no doubt that they cannot support a Hillary Clinton ticket. Clinton has made every effort to cement her gleeful support not only of the barbaric partial-birth procedure but to censor the word “rare” from her husband Bill’s old pro-choice refrain that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.”
The rare part was offending the radical feminists who seriously view an abortion as a basic human right that should be celebrated and exercised with frequency.
In drawing a distinct line between himself and Kaine and Trump and Clinton over partial-birth abortion, Pence has not only repudiated the essential immorality and double-mindedness of the abortion apologists, he has identified the Trump campaign with the American mainstream who do not support abortion on demand, anytime, anywhere, for any reason and who think that banning partial-birth abortion is a reasonable – not an extreme – compromise in the debate.
Kaine and Clinton are the extremists and last night’s debate eloquently proved that point.
Donald Trump owes his running mate a debt of gratitude but he can also be reassured that he chose wisely. While many were exhorting Trump to choose a VP solely on the basis of gender or ethnic electoral appeal, he selected a white male who was just entirely suited, prepared and qualified for the job. Hillary went with someone whom she thought would obviate her shortcomings but has turned out to have too many of his own weaknesses.
David Krayden is a Canadian weekly newspaper columnist, conservative political pundit and communications expert who was formerly an Air Force public affairs officer and communications manager on Parliament Hill.