Donald Trump continues to have huge numbers of supporters despite his frequent racist, sexist and generally ignorant comments. If The Donald himself is not enough to turn you away from the Republican ticket, perhaps his running mate is. Here are a few ways Mike Pence has acted against Americans in the past:
1. He was racist against Muslims long before Donald Trump.
While campaigning against Rep. Phil Sharp, Pence found one of the most racist ways to complain about the U.S. dependence on foreign oil: an ad featuring a man with a heavily Middle Eastern accent, wearing a black robe, white headdress and sunglasses. Pence and his campaign manager continued to defend the ad, despite the more than 200 people who gathered to protest what they described as a “racist depiction of their culture.”
2. He is a climate change denier.
As evidenced by his 2001 op-ed piece about how smoking is not a health hazard, Pence has always been slow to accept scientific proof, and climate change is no different. He continues to deny any scientific consensus on climate change or the effect of human activity on it, and he has voted to defund climate education programs.
As governor, not only did Pence end the Energizing Indiana energy efficiency program, but he also rejected the Obama Administration's Clean Power Plan, voted to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions and has refused to have Indiana come up with a plan to reduce its emissions. Pence continues to speak strongly in favor of the coal industry, and the Republican Party platform this year describes coal as “an abundant, clean, affordable, reliable domestic energy resource,” in addition to pledging to fight the Clean Air Act, the Paris climate accord, and Obama's Clean Power Plan.
3. He is strongly against the queer* community.
Pence made headlines not too long ago when Indiana was trying to enact “religious freedom” laws to allow businesses to discriminate against queer customers. Pence also expressed opposition to the Obama Administration's efforts to allow transgender students to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender they identify as.
Additionally, Pence has been a long-time supporter of “conversion therapy," which attempts to force queer youth to change their sexual orientations or gender identities through activities that are effectively psychological torture, and only harm those children, who are already four to eight times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual, cisgender peers. In the past, Pence wanted to take money from organizations that provided HIV/AIDS treatment if they supported homosexuals and use it to fund conversion-therapy programs. This year, there are still delegates at the Republican National Convention fighting to keep conversion therapy on the party platform.
4. He taken major actions against women's health.
Where Trump's position on abortion has varied somewhat, Pence has been clear he wants to completely outlaw abortion, even for rape victims, and said he “longs for the day that Roe v. Wade is sent to the ash heaps of history.” Pence also led efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides a variety of health services, especially to low-income women. As a Congressman, Pence was even willing to hold up the entire budget over defunding it. Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, described Pence's attacks as “the most dangerous legislative assault on women's health in Planned Parenthood's 95-year history.”
*Queer is used here, for convenience, as an umbrella term for people who may not identify as heterosexual or cisgender, including gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, pansexual and others.