Meet Our Vice Presidential Hopefuls


The vice presidential candidates will face off in their first debate Tuesday night. Before the show, let’s learn a little more about the VP picks.

Everyone by now is pretty familiar with the presidential candidates, and has seen them debate each other once already. With the two huge personalities in the spotlight though, we forget that they aren’t the only people competing for our votes. It seems like ancient history now, but it was kind of a big deal when Hillary Clinton announced Tim Kaine as her running mate and Donald Trump chose Mike Pence as his. Since then though, their names haven’t been in the news too much.

On Tuesday we will see the vice presidential candidates go head-to-head on the debate stage for the first time. It’s good to go into these things at least somewhat prepared, so let’s take a look at the people who could be one heartbeat from the most important job in the world. It’s especially important this year considering the advanced age of both of our presidential candidates.

On the Republican ticket we have Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Before he was governor, he worked as an attorney and launched his political career as a radio talk show host. He did a stint in the House of Representatives from 2000 to 2012. Pence is a conservative and a supporter of the Tea Party movement. His tenure as governor has been dotted with controversy over some of the unusually restrictive laws he has passed relating to things like abortion and LGBT civil rights. Pence is an interesting choice of running mate for Trump, as he seems to be significantly more conservative on social issues than Trump is.

Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act is what really propelled Pence into the national spotlight last year. The bill is a little complicated, but essentially makes it legal for businesses to deny services to anyone if the business owners feel that serving that customer clashes with their religious beliefs. Ostensibly about protecting religious freedoms, the bill is a blatant attempt to target LGBT folks and single them out. It makes discrimination in the name of religion perfectly legal. Though there was a huge outcry against it, it also had a lot of supporters around the country. Signing it into law helped make Mike Pence something of a hero to many conservative Christians.

Pence also signed a bill that has been called the most restrictive abortion law in the country. Along other things, it created a blanket ban on any abortion being sought for reasons related to the sex or race of the fetus or any suspected abnormalities it could have. Though it was signed into law earlier this year, it is currently being challenged as unconstitutional and has been blocked from yet taking effect.

More from Social Progress

Throughout his career, Pence has fallen within the typical views of the Republican party. He supported the war in Iraq, he does not believe that there is scientific evidence of climate change, he voted to defund Planned Parenthood, and he disagrees with gay marriage. Economically, he is a supporter of the concept of a federal flat tax rate, he voted against raising the federal minimum wage, and he voted against the Dodd-Frank act. He is a supporter of Citizens United and is against most forms of federal regulations.

Clinton’s running mate is a less divisive figure, with a pretty average and uncontroversial political career. Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia is the Clinton VP pick, a choice which was criticized by some as too safe. Kaine worked as an attorney and served as mayor of Richmond, Virginia, eventually stepping up to become Lieutenant Governor of Virginia and later governor. Kaine has been described as a centrist or a “mainstream democrat”.

His views are fairly middle of the road and he hasn’t been responsible for any legislation that caused significant uproar on the same level as Gov. Pence. He supports gun control measures, believes that climate change is a real threat, supports gay marriage, and believes in upholding Roe v. Wade. He campaigned against US military action against ISIL in 2014. He is against Citizens United, and he is a supporter of various forms of federal regulations, including the Dodd-Frank Act.

In other words, Kaine falls into the typical views of the Democratic party. He has been known to be fairly outspoken about some of his views, but not nearly as much as his opponent in the vice presidential race. The two VP hopefuls are actually on paper almost total opposites, whereas Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump do have some overlapping views on certain issues. It will be interesting to see these men discuss topic that they each certainly have very strong opposing views on.

Next: How Much Does Donald Trump Pay in Taxes?

Tune into the debate Tuesday night at 9 p.m. Eastern on any cable network.