Pence’s odd Advice for Trump

Via Politico:  Pence debate advice to Trump: Be yourself

“I’d encourage Donald Trump to do what he did in his first debate and that is be himself. Speak from his mind and speak from his heart and I know he’s going to do that,” Pence said Thursday morning on Fox News’s “Fox and Friends.” “He will be ready for this coming Sunday night.”

This strikes me as odd advice for two reasons:

  1.  Trump’s behavior in the first debate was not to his benefit.
  2. Pence pretended like Trump wasn’t Trump in his debate with Kaine (Mike Pence’s bizarro world).
(But, yes, what else is he going to say?).
FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, US Politics, , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Hal_10000 says:

    Pence doesn’t want Trump to win. Pence wants Trump to lose and set him up for 2020. Being the “sane” part of an insane ticket is a much better bet than being the Indiana governor voted out of office.

  2. CSK says:


    Agree. Pence walks away from this debacle relatively unscathed, and positioned for 2020.

    He’s probably also operating the assumption that Trump will quickly fade as any sort of political force and resume his career in reality tv, ogling starlets’ breasts and browbeating subordinates.

    In any case, I’m sure Pence realizes that trying to give Trump anything resembling sane advice is pointless.

  3. Andrew says:

    It is also evident that Trump does what Trump wants. And if his running mate in Pence comes out on Republican television with any other “advice”, it will just be another huge distraction that may cost Pence.

    Problem?! What problem?! Trump is the best, most fit, perfect business man. He would make the best supreme leader!
    President, I mean president.

  4. PJ says:


    Pence doesn’t want Trump to win. Pence wants Trump to lose and set him up for 2020. Being the “sane” part of an insane ticket is a much better bet than being the Indiana governor voted out of office.

    Still not a very good bet if you have Presidential ambitions, it’s not a very good idea to have been the VP candidate on a losing ticket. Only one President has had “VP on a losing ticket” on his CV, FDR.

  5. Ratufa says:

    It makes sense for Pence to say this for a couple of reasons:

    – A Trump win would likely sour people on the Republican party and hurt Pence’s chances in 2020.

    – If Trump wins, Pence will want to influence Trump’s decisions, so sucking up to him now will pay dividends later.

  6. bookdragon says:


    Pence: No, no, he’s not dead. He’s …resting. Remarkable bird. Look at that plumage….

  7. Gustopher says:

    A friend of mine believes that the decline of western society can be traced to the phrase “just be yourself” — his conceit is two-fold: that previously you would have people that you would aspire to be; and that many people are just assholes and should be anyone other than themselves.

    I think this friend is a bit too bitter and pessimistic. We are in complete agreement on the dangers of “your feelings are valid” though.

  8. Jen says:

    @Ratufa: I’d add a third–if Trump loses and Pence does want to run in 2020, he’ll want Trump’s most avid supporters to remember him as a good guy who supported their hero, who he hopes will in turn support him with, perhaps not the same fervor, but at least votes in the primary.

  9. Andrew says:


    While that may be hoping for the best, planning for the worst. How many times has a republican politician in recent years been able to get off a losing presidential ticket and then run a successful campaign 4 years later?

    I find Republicans, more so than Democrats, have to suffer from the No True Scotsman fallout.
    Considering they sell themselves as the end all be all as far as presidential material, and then lose…they come off as failing their part of the electorate.