Vice Presidential Debate 2016: Can Mike Pence Gain Evangelical Support That Donald Trump Cannot?

Donald Trump and Mike Pence claim presidential nomination for Republican Party

With the Vice Presidential Debate approaching, candidates Mike Pence and Tim Kaine seek to present a more civil presentation than what was exhibited between presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. With the consistent bickering between each other during the proverbial verbal sparring session, many spectators were left having their questions unanswered.

With Pence and Kaine not having as much animosity toward one another as their fellow ballot members, this debate could greatly showcase what spectators are looking for regarding composure and civility. Both candidates have an uphill battle to climb, but Pence’s hill may be a bit steeper.

VP Mike Pence hopes to assist Donald Trump in a major way in the race to the White House

Based on the results of the first debate, many feel that Hillary Clinton won convincingly. Oliver Darcy of Business Insider indicated that two focus groups had Hillary Clinton as the victor after the debate was settled. Darcy added that some of Trump’s attacks on Clinton – namely, her “lack of stamina” – actually hurt him more than Clinton among the national audience.

In the focus group of undecided voters aired live on television, no person changed their mind in favor of Trump. However, many changed their mind in favor of Clinton. Not because she had a stellar performance, but because Trump’s temperament was very poorly displayed.

With these issues hovering over Trump, a deadlock before the debate has now changed to a sizable Clinton jump in the lead with just weeks left before the election. Pro-conservative network FOX News has even conceded to the facts that Clinton has a five-point lead, and Trump is in need of a late-game charge to win the election.

Based on these numbers, Mike Pence will be heading into the VP debate not only to reintroduce himself to the voting audience, but to smooth out the rough patches created by Donald Trump on September 26.

According to Ashley Parker and Thomas Kaplan of The New York Times, the key objectives for Pence are to defend Trump over “some of his outlandish comments, while also acquitting himself well as a reasonable, levelheaded conservative who could help rebuild the party whether Mr. Trump wins or loses.”

Donald Trump loses control during presidential debate

One of the most targeted voting groups during the elections is the evangelical vote. Typically for white evangelicals, the Republican nominee has the advantage, while the Democratic nominee has the advantage for black evangelical voters. With the perennial issue of morality always being the backbone of the evangelical vote (or at least it should be), both candidates struggle to give this group of voters enough confidence to stand behind them.

For Pence, staunch Christian beliefs must be the foundation of winning these voters over to Trump. Regarding issues on morality, Trump has not had a firm stance that would support a Christian worldview. In fact, at a recent Q&A session at the Family Leadership Summit, Trump told the audience that they would be shocked that he goes to church, and that he is religious, due to his actions during the political journey, Newsweek reports.

Donald Trump holds up a Bible during a speech

Moreover, when asked if he has asked God for forgiveness, he responded, “that’s a tough question” and redirected the answer to support his views on positive thinking, along with the sermons he went to.

When asked again, he stated the following.

“I’m not sure I have. I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I don’t think so. I think if I do something wrong, I think I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture.”

This is not the type of statement that an evangelical voter would like to hear.

Pence’s mission for evangelicals is to use his devotion to Christ as a launchpad in gaining the evangelical vote back. Not the reluctant, “lesser of two evils” Trump vote, but the confident vote for Trump, being assured that he will uphold biblical principles during his presidency. This includes being “slow to anger”, as stated in James 1:19.

[Featured Image by Mary Altaffer/AP Images]