If It's President Trump, Can He Be Controlled?

If It's President Trump, Can He Be Controlled?
FILE - In this Oct. 13, 2016 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers a speech in Columbus, Ohio. The state’s role this year shapes up to be potential spoiler for Trump’s chances of reaching 270 electoral votes. While Hillary Clinton appears to have paths to the total needed for election without Ohio, the state’s 20 votes are considered crucial for Trump. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

We’re only a handful of days away from the election, when the next Commander-in-Chief will be decided. What a frightening thought. What has been calendared as the “end” for so many months is really just the beginning. Soon, we’ll add the designation “President-elect” in front of the name Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. I’m convinced that no matter which one wins, it will be America that ultimately loses.

One train of thought pushed by those who are reluctant Trump supporters is the idea that if he wins the presidency, we needn’t worry so much about how he’ll govern because he can be controlled. This strengthens their tenuous support into something more comfortable. Donald Trump may be dangerous, they argue, but there is safety in the fact that others around him will calm his temper, direct his wanderings, and suggest better courses of action, right?

For those who espouse this belief, they’re putting more faith in those who would control their chosen leader than the chosen leader himself. It’s just proof that so many are voting for Trump for no other reason than the letter next to his name. Reminds me of liberal groupthink.

Of course, the chief person tasked with pulling the reins is Trump’s vice presidential pick, Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Somehow, the soft-spoken Midwesterner is to be the voice of reason in a Trump White House? Such a job position is not just difficult for Pence, it would be for anyone. Herculean. Trump has shown himself over and over to be uninterested in constructive dialogue, generally unstable, and easily angered. But Mike Pence is supposed to defuse him?

Business Insider published this observation of Pence not long after he was added as the vice presidential side of the Trump ticket:

Unlike many vice-presidential running mates, the mild-mannered Pence was not tapped as the attack dog in the November 8 presidential election. Trump has that part down pat.

Pence’s job is harder: softening Trump’s rough edges and limiting the fallout from what many Republicans see as the nominee’s self-inflicted wounds.

Even as he defuses Trump’s verbal bombs, Pence must be careful to show he knows who is boss. He also has to stick to his own principles while not appearing to be trying to undermine the man who chose him as his No. 2.

Trump chose Pence not to hold him accountable so much as to soften what he looks like as voters weigh him against Hillary Clinton. Having Mike Pence stand next to Donald Trump in solidarity gives those reluctant voters a bit of peace. Pence is the normal, nice, suburban dad lookalike to Trump’s bombastic, obnoxious, New York elitism. It may even out the atmosphere at campaign events, but it doesn’t mean what happens behind the scenes is similarly neutral or even positive in nature.

There are already examples to point to.

Trump threw Pence – his own running mate! – under the bus during the second presidential debate when questioned about American involvement in Syria. Pence had previously stated that the U.S. “should be prepared to use military force to strike the military targets of the Assad regime.” Trump’s response? “OK. He and I haven’t spoken, and I disagree. I disagree.”

At the last presidential debate, Trump wavered on whether he would accept the election results and indicated he would need take a closer look at the results when they came in. Pence, on the other hand, declared the Trump camp would accept the results. This, of course, went against Trump and his post-debate talk: “I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters and to all of the people of the United States that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election – if I win.”

Disagreement within the Trump ticket? Definitely. Lack of communication entirely? Even worse.

The hope that President Trump is able to be controlled is shaky at best. He’s shown disagreement and lack of regular communication on issues that matter with his running mate, Mike Pence, not to mention his own campaign managers and surrogates.

While contradiction between running mates is nothing new, the unstable nature of Donald Trump makes it imperative that he be reigned in should he inhabit the Oval Office. His #2 guy certainly can’t make that happen, so what makes anyone think those lower on the list could?

Trump is capricious and volatile now. There’s simply no reason to think he wouldn’t be exactly the same in the White House.

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