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Trump's Pencer Move
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As a result of my reaction to the Pence pick I found myself in an extended twitter exchange with some prescient god who took issue with my assessment (the exchanges are scattered here).

A revisiting, then, to expound and clarify.

Sessions would have been the best ‘top tier’ pick by a mile, no one else came remotely close. He was probably asked but declined, either so he could serve as Trump’s congressional point man or due to some sword of Damocles hanging over him.

Sessions out? Okay, then Kobach. Or Arpaio. Or Pat Buchanan. Or Virgil Goode. Or Chuck Baldwin. Or James Webb. Or Scott Brown.

I could keep pounding out preferable names and my fingers would fall off before I’d get to Christie, Pence, or Gingrich. But those three and Sessions were the only ones under serious consideration over the last couple of weeks. Pence, in fact, was only initially contacted a few weeks ago, presumably after Sessions declined:

With Sessions out, my contention is that Pence is probably the least bad of the three, and I laid out why here.

That said, there is nothing Pence brings that Sessions doesn’t other than youth and better bone structure. While we can trust him as much as we can trust anyone else in congress, cucks trust him, too. Ann Coulter’s observation that this pick was a mistake–or at the very least, suboptimal–resonates with me.

Parenthetically, let’s distinguish between cucks and #NeverTrump. The latter is a joke, a handful of self-important chiefs without any indians. The former, however, are a non-negligible electoral force. These are dorky church dads and silly soccer moms who have always voted Republican but don’t like Trump. Ned Flanders is the archetype. They won’t vote for Hillary or even third-party, but some number won’t vote at all. I live in Kansas. The circles I swim in are thick with these people. They’re everywhere.

I was mocked for pointing this out:

But we’re going to see Hillary pick a white running mate instead of wasting the VP spot on blacks, who will vote Democrat more overwhelmingly than tradcons will vote Republican. Too many won’t vote at all, though, and it’s going to tell in states like North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

Gingrich has neither crossover appeal nor tradcon appeal. As a presidential candidate he’s a proven loser and Trump wasn’t going to pick someone who’d run unsuccessfully before. Parsing Trump’s rhetoric over the last several months made that clear. It’s why I could confidently put hundreds of dollars on Cruz, Christie, Kasich, Rubio and Carson “No” in the betting markets. Gingrich’s congressional history is as antithetical to Trump’s message as Pence’s was, probably more so (at least Pence opposed No Child Left Behind, one of the very few who did). Gingrich is on record saying he could work with a president Bill Clinton but he never could have worked with a president Pat Buchanan.

Christie’s crossover appeal is limited to the Northeast. He’s toxic in the cuck corridor as his awful performance in Iowa showed. Trump/Gingrich or Trump/Christie would definitely lose Iowa and could put putatively safe states like Utah or the Dakotas in play. Pence isn’t obviously worse than either of them are in Ohio. Kasich is contemptible but he’s a popular governor in what will probably be the single most important state in November, and Pence is the most likely of the three to bring Kasich over. Trump’s clearest path to victory is to flip Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania and hold where Romney did everywhere else.

Cicatrizatic on Pence alienating the crossovers:

I doubt many blue collar voters are going to investigate Pence’s various positions, find out he is less hard-line on immigration than Trump, and then abandon their plans to vote Trump. There are very few voters who go to that level of engagement.

Add to that Trump’s position on trade having been rock solid for decades, and he brings that into a political environment where, for generations, no other serious presidential candidate from either party–with the exception of Bernie Sanders this time around–has been one-tenth as critical of what’s passed off as free trade as he has been. If trade is your issue, you weren’t wavering on Trump no matter who he picked as VP.

Cicatrizatic again, on the idea that Trump is a closeted white nationalist:

Trump is a pragmatist who read Coulter’s book and realized which way the wind blows. He is a good healthy force for steering America in the direction of nationalism. But he is not and never purported to be the embodiment of pure ethnic nationalism.

Trump is a businessman, a non-ideologue, a negotiator who will by nature compromise to the middle on almost all of his positions. He won’t necessarily deport all of the illegals, but will likely deport many of the worst ones. It won’t be a 50 foot concrete wall across the entirety of the Mexican border, but rather some combination of wall and security fence.

It is good to stand behind the Trump movement, but the alt-right should not make the mistake of projecting onto Trump their ultimate ideals. He is at best a temporary vessel in the fight against globalism.

And to that I’d add that he has a subconscious instinct for white preservationism and lacks an instinct to recoil from Alt Right sympathizers, as Sessions’ man Stephen Miller illustrates.

The idea that Trump will win the general election, doubling as a referendum on a wall and on a moratorium on Muslim immigration and then be impeached for trying to do what he was given a mandate to do is far-fetched. A more realistic risk is that Pence stages a walkout sometime between now and November and leaving the campaign in apparent disarray.

But Pence is a hollow man, as his impotent flailing when Indiana’s ‘religious liberty’ law was criticized showed and his homely wife confirms. His Cruz endorsement during Indiana’s primary has become a running joke. Trump himself made light of it, calling it the the best non-endorsement he’s ever received.

He could be a GOPe plant preparing to self-destruct and bring Trump down with him. As far as infiltrators go, though, he can’t be anywhere close to optimal for the saboteurs.

On the other hand, Trump just offered Pence more than the GOPe ever could have in Pence’s wildest dreams. Is he going to sink beneath the waves of a sinking ship whose moment has come and gone, or is he going to abandon that ship to get on an unstoppable train? That he could barely spit out his promised endorsement of Cruz in between lavishing praise on Trump should give us hope. Asked yesterday about the wall and the Muslim immigration ban, Pence said he supported both.

He is the best cuck convert of the three as well. Gingrich and Christie have been on board for months. Pence is fresher. He creates the perception that people from all over the map are coming around to Trump. As Scott Adams has demonstrated again and again, the importance of the psychology here is difficult to overstate.

My feeling is that Trump isn’t going Manchurian candidate here but he’s not going Sulla, either. As I’ve said before, he’s being Caesarian, and he has the trap Reagan fell into as a cautionary tale on how to proceed more prudently.

In sum, then, wariness is warranted but mutiny is premature.

(Republished from The Audacious Epigone by permission of author or representative)
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  1. If Pence is a shallow political opportunist that might be a good thing, if it makes him more likely to defect from conventional GOPe policy and embrace nationalism; he's a mainstream guy. Trump will need some genuine mainstream defectors, a la Christie, and each one hollows out the Establishment's "extreme" narrative re Trump.
    Who knows.

  2. Ideologically, Sessions is an alt-right favorite. Trouble is, he wouldn't have been a broadening pick. I'm not the first to note that Trump's VP pick needs to help shore up the white base. He needs a guy who appeals to disaffected Cruz voters. I've heard alt-righters claim that Sessions is a leading figure in the conservative movement. I'm not sure about that. Your average Tea Partier, or talk radio listener has probably never even heard of Sessions. His message has been routinely muffled by the establishment types who fund the highly astro turfed conservative movement. The type of person to whom Sessions' national conservatism appeals is already on the Trump Train. We've already got Vdare readers. Now we need Heritage and AEI donors.

    Pence is a social conservative who will appeal to God and Country movement conservatives. He's wishy washy on immigration, but he's a typical Republican pol who has deep establish ties. Good. We need a guy who will help shore up movement cons and the obdurate, cucked establishment.

  3. Also, Gottfried complained about the lack of measure among alt-righters on a recent 2Kevins podcast. He's right. Neocons, Conservatism Inc., and shitlibs are all willing to make ideological sacrifices for their causes. Or at the very least, they will adroitly feign loyalty to other factions. Alt-righters will have to learn to do the same if we intend to gain and hold any power.

    Parenthetically, If Sanders had gotten nominated he would have chosen a non-white, establishment Democrat to fill in the gaps in his coalition. I doubt Hillary is concerned about her left flank. Her advisors know that shitlibs will vote for her so long as she signals SWPL virtues. My guess is that she too will be inclined to pick a non-white, yet centrist Dem who simultaneously solidifies the coalition of the fringes and placates moderate white voters becoming increasingly wary of anti-white identity politics. Booker maybe.

  4. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    This is a particularly good piece, AE. Thanks.

    Cucks are worthy of disdain and are certainly not to be counted on when the going gets rough, but they are not the enemy. We have enough enemies among globalists, radical leftists, and islamists. If we eat our own, we will be having dessert in hell watching the final destruction of the Western peoples.

    I don't like or trust Pence either, but Mr. Trump has already factored in the serious possibility of being murdered a long time ago, so it makes sense. I think, from a nationalist perspective, that if the worst happens and Pence betrays the movement, we will simply be back where we were pre-Trump, except that we would still have the gift from Mr. Trump of his great acceleration of the already underway awakening of the American people.

  5. Dennis,

    Christie and Gingrich already defected. Now Pence has. Rubio, rather quietly–and probably because he wants to win reelection in Trump's second home state–has too.

    Their defections shouldn't be seen as a bad thing. To the contrary, it's what we want. The key is to keep our eye on Trump. If he starts wavering, then it's time to sound the alarm bells. But despite all the talk about moderating and moving to the middle, he's remained firm on the National Question issues, and he's got GOPe guys like Pence parroting him.

    If Trump moderates, that's bad. But if Trumpism becomes moderate, that's good.


    John Derbyshire pointed out this week that tradcon evangelicals are going to vote for Trump no matter what. Yes, they will, but the degree of turnout is not guaranteed. Blacks are going to vote for Hillary no matter what. Yet if 1-in-8 who voted for Obama in 08/12 don't vote in 16, that's electorally game changing.

    Great point regarding Sessions. He's trusted, but he's not top of mind. He probably isn't even as salient as Pence is.


    Well put. Thirteen months ago there's no way I would've imagined we'd be where we are now, even if in the abstract I assumed that at some point European-style 'far right' nationalism would be ascendant. Trump has done a masterful job thus far.

    Those who have his ear, like Coulter, should voice their disapproval with Pence but also be cognizant that, for Joe Bag of Donuts on the street, Trump is creating a perception of broad unity among people from difficult political backgrounds who care about America. If he can create that perception without deviating from the solid nationalist, America First underpinnings that got him here, that's great.

    We don't like Pence and he hasn't earned our trust yet, but if we're still consumed by the Pence choice in a week without Trump deviating on the stuff that matters and without Pence refusing to be Trump's bitch, we're probably being counterproductive.

  6. Audacious Epigone,

    Pence is s plush toy for the Social-Cons.

    A white male with gra hair visual to let them vote Trump over their initial "Mid-West nice" rejection implse.

  7. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Are you sure there's much benefit in actually picking Pence among the NeverTrump people though? My social media friends among them are virtue signalling against Trump as hard as ever.

    President Trump's Secret Service detail is going to be competing with Baton Rouge PD for worst job in the world.

  8. Lots of mainstream media polls out over the weekend. All of them of course show Clinton winning, but her lead has narrowed considerably.

    I looked back at what polls were most accurate in predicting the popular vote in the 2012 election. It was ABC News/Washington Post, which – in its final poll – had Obama 50, Romney 47. The final result was Obama 51, Romney 47.

    Here was their sample: 35% Democrat / 29% Republican / 36% Independent.

    The real world breakdown on election day ended up being 38% Democrat / 32% Republican / 30% Independent. Their 6-point margin between Democrat and Republican ended up being dead-on.

    In the new ABC News/Washington Post poll, the sample is 33% Democrat, 23% Republican, 43% Independent. This is the kind of sampling methodology that I think is erroneous. While a Gallup survey in January, 2016 found that only 26% of Americans are registered Republicans, it also found that only 29% were registered Democrats. Thus, that can't be the basis for the 10-point differential. If we look to the past four presidential elections, the greatest differential was 2008, where 39% of voters were Democrat, 32% Republican. Thus, the current sampling neither matches general census data nor past election samples.

    The sample for the CBS News/New York Times poll was: 33% Democrat / 27% Republican / 40% Independent. That looks like a much more accurate sample based on past presidential elections. The result was that Clinton and Trump are tied.

    I'll be interested to see if ABC News/ Washington Post adjusts their sampling as they close in on the election.

  9. Mil-Tech Bard,

    If that's the calculation and Pence converts to a good Trumpian soldier, it's acceptable even if it's not optimal.


    I distinguish between the vociferous, conspicuous #NeverTrump self-important Conservative, Inc intellectuals and their votaries in social media and the much larger pool of tradcon Republican voters. The former are too invested to do anything other than double down, but those tradcons don't have their reputations on the line, they're just regular people who vote or don't. Trump needs to get them to vote.


    Thanks for that.

    It'd be interesting to look at the correlation between general election poll results and partisan identification distributions in these batches of polls. We both know the direction of the correlation, but I'm not sure what the magnitude would be.


    I think I just discovered a glitch in the code.

    Just as leftism is about destroying Whites through making it a moral imperative to submit/forgive/accept negative treatment by non-whites, and the way it facilitates this is by heaping praise and status on the most self-effacing tolerant self-abnegator. We can turn this around by forcing non-white leftists to view whites as the horrible other that must be sacrificed for.

    Essentially, by whites being the bad acting people, we can force non-white liberals into virtue-signalling their liberal credentials into submitting to us.

    We become (white) blacks and they become (black) whites.

    They become the "Good White People" sacrificing themselves for the betterment of the lesser (white) bigoted people who are too morally ignorant to know better.

    We need to encourage non-white SJW's to virtue signal themselves to death, just like the (((globalists))) have been encouraging Whites to do for the last 60 years.

  11. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I would have to agree with tjaden that in an ideological sense, Sessions would be the closest match to Trump but he attracts no one to the ticket that isn't already there. But once you move past Sessions, there is virtually no Republican in elected office that matches his populist nationalism. The Republican Party has been purging those types since the early 90's.

    So until Trumpism can rebuild a nationalist base, the VP choices are strictly standard issue GOPe approved "conservatives." In that regard Pence is an acceptable pick. In this case, bland is a plus.

  12. To sum this all up:

    Cuck convert.

    Exactly. This is what it can look like.

  13. Chris,

    Watching the RNC, the West Virginia senator is that in action. Her message was essentially that SWPL policies obliterate badwhites. As a representative of the state, she's the perfect spokesperson since the archetypal badwhite in the SWPL mind is a grizzled, beared coal mining mountaineer.


    Right. We don't have to like it to understand it. If Sessions was out of the question for whatever reason (as opposed to it just being an elective decision by Trump), then there wasn't much place else for Trump to go while maintaining his long-standing pledge that it would be someone with a lot of legislative experience (though Kobach would've fit the bill).

    If Trump loses, I'd rather him have lost with Sessions. But if he wins and Pence is a cuck convert, this doesn't turn out to be disastrous.

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