|Gov. Mike Pence (R-Indiana)|
During the Indiana Republican primary, Pence walked a fine line endorsing traditional conservative Texas Senator Ted Cruz while also praising Donald Trump for bringing certain issues to the forefront. Pence successfully straddled the fence, managing to make neither side angry in the contentious primary.
Now moving into the general election the "What About Donald" question becomes much more problematic for Pence. If Pence distances himself from the controversial GOP nominee, he is likely to anger the Indiana Tea Party crowd which has fully (and strangely) enthusiastically embraced the liberal New York businessman. Pence is not popular with the Tea Party and fully supporting Trump would shore up support among a constituency that is critical to his base of support.
But embracing "The Donald" carries enormous risk. Trump has insulted women and Latinos, and is extremely unpopular with those two groups. Trump's womanizing makes Bill Clinton's look like a rank amateur. His mafia ties have also been exposed. Trump has mocked a disabled reporter and encouraged violence at his rallies.
Imagine every day on the campaign trail Pence being asked whether he agrees with a controversial thing that Trump said or did and whether the Indiana Governor still supports the GOP candidate. Trump thus far has been able to escape being held responsible for his words and deeds. But Pence enjoys no such Trump Teflon. He is likely to be tarnished with the fallout from "The Donald." It won't help any that Indiana likely will be a general election battleground in the presidential contest.
The Pence campaign faces a dilemma in figuring out how to deal with the Donald problem. It seems like either choice will cost Pence votes.